Four Critical Marketing Strategies to Stand Out in Today's Noisy World

06/03/2014 03:30 pm ET | Updated Aug 03, 2014


Today's always on smartphone driven global economy offers unprecedented opportunities for small businesses with associated barriers to entry.

Most markets are noisy, fueled by social media and the rush to capitalize on astronomical funding valuations. Venture capitalists are putting money into companies faster than William Randolph Hearst gobbled up newspapers back in the day.

Why Your Business is Under Attack from an Encroaching Digital Landscape

  • Data is exploding at an unprecedented rate, projected to be ten times greater in the next six years.
  • Content sharing is now platform agnostic: it's anything (text, comments, images, videos, ebooks, social shares) and anywhere and there is so much more of it.
  • Consumer demographics are shifting rapidly from one social platform to another - brand loyalty is hard to come by.
  • Bigger brands are leveraging their marketing muscle (social influence) to reach high value customers in multiple ways and outspending smaller brands.
  • Native advertising is on the rise and helping to blur the lines of how consumers perceive "real" content vs. ads.
  • Every business small or large is by necessity of changes in the digital landscape (more platforms and higher content volumes) being forced to become a publisher.
  • The demand for greater levels of technical expertise driven by platform proliferations and inter connectivity of data is overwhelming the ability and resources of small businesses.

Four Critical Marketing Differentiators that Drive Success for Your Small Biz in Today's Noisy Markets

Recognize and embrace less is more (focus) as a marketing mantra for your business. E.F. Schumaker, the distinguished British Economist wrote the best seller, Small is Beautiful in the 70's - it's as applicable today as it was then, especially for smaller more nimble businesses.

Focus your marketing efforts - we tell our clients not to embrace more than one social media platform until they are successful on a single platform with an engaged community. Size doesn't matter - 2K Followers who connect with your brand on Twitter are better than 20K, in spite of what you may read.

Know that technology and digital marketing are intertwined as never before. Nine in ten small business CEO's when surveyed indicated technology and keeping up with technology are critical success drivers.

Your business needs tech savvy people who can help you create, build out and maintain a digital footprint. Digital has replaced traditional marketing and to be successful, your business must be proficient in advertising across a mix of media platforms, social media and mobile.

A viable digital marketing strategy is today much more than a web site, great graphics and baseline content. One of your greatest challenges is grappling with "you don't know what you don't know" - your facing a bewildering mix of technology and process and with little framework for perspective.

Again, my theme and recommendation is start slow, test and retest using analytics and at least a baseline sales funnel that helps you understand how and why customers are purchasing your products or services.

Think and act like a startup: create a persona profile of your customer. In many cases, even if you're an established business, this exercise will help you put a face on your customer.

Do an all hands meeting and identify who your customer is: age, income, location, buying habits, dislikes, problems your business solves, how to reach them via social and advertising channels. List the attributes and refine these down until a clear picture emerges for whom your business serves in every sense of the word.

Technology has given us the ability to target and reach customers quickly - once you have a persona done you can them map your tactical marketing to this profile and tie in a sales funnel and A/B testing on product pricing and features. And, maximize your marketing spend with very targeted advertising and reach.

In today's media drenched, smartphone always on world great content is critical to success for any small business. Smart content is visual, informative, topical and written so it resonates with and engages your customers, with built in calls to action that don't get in the way of your brand messaging.

No business has any business being on social media until you have a blog in place, with a minimum of 30-50 posts with 500-750 words per post, with high quality images, infographics and graphics that drive engagement with the reader.

It's not enough in this noisy landscape to just write great content - your competing with billions of words created every day. Syndicate your content across social channels or platforms that map to your customer persona, with a built in rinse and repeat cycle that lets you leverage your content marketing costs and drive broader brand awareness.

For busy execs: it's noisy out there, be a less is more focused brand that knows how to smartly leverage technology, identify and market to your optimum persona and share great content that creates an authentic voice for your small business.