Digital Reality for Traditional Marketers

Wednesday, 06 January 2016 00:00
Digital Reality for Traditional Marketers

Digital RealityI’ve been in marketing for over 20 years - and not the marketing that most people read about in fancy publications (big agencies/multi-million dollar budgets).  I’m talking small-market to mid-market, marketing for businesses.  How to reach your customers in smaller towns, by smaller business owners.  In this marketing world, businesses are typically always 5-7 years behind (sometimes 10) implementation of new technologies or marketing strategies.  I don’t say that to be insulting, it’s just a reality.  If it’s big in marketingtoday… it will be catching on typically 5-7 years later in smaller markets.

There are many reasons that small businesses are slower to adopt changing technology and marketing opportunities.  Those reasons can be a) not enough manpower/resources to devote to it, b) too busy running business themselves (often small businesses are solo entrepreneurs) or c) don't understand it - so they ignore it.  There can be countless others, but these 3 are the most often ones I’ve heard.  What small to mid-size business owners need to embrace, understand, commit to and realizetodayis: you need to be thinking and executing a Digital Marketing Strategy - NOW.  

What is a digital marketing strategy?  A digital marketing strategy is the sum of all your digital footprints online & what you need to focus on with each: your website, your blog pages, your business listings, map locations, social media pages, review sites, videos, photos… this doesn't include all the countless opportunities and outlets you have in advertising online (which is another post altogether).  A digital marketing strategy is something every business owner today needs to immediately address.  What is your presence online?  What can you fix, what needs to be fixed, what trends are currently happening, what is relevant for your business now (in your market), what areas would you like to investigate and learn more about for next year?  

Today, people’s lives revolve around digital technology.  Yes, this may be a sad statement, but it’s true & will only become more so as more things we use on a day to day basis are born “connected” to the internet (think smart cars, fitbits, smart phones, tablets, Amazon Echo).  There is an entire generation now being born into connected technology - it’s all they will know.  We watch shows On Demand, on DVR, listen to Spotify, Pandora or Satellite Radio, read news through RSS feeds or news apps, book flights or reservations with our phones, video chat with people around the world, virtual and augmented reality is coming and more.  Businesses, no matter the size of the market they are in, can no longer dismissanything related to digitalas an afterthought.  The time to recognize and address your digital presence is now.  What will people find when they reach you in the digital world?  What have others been saying about you that the world can see, that you have not addressed?  Most businesses will consider digital marketing strategies for next year, but will cite one of the reasons above as to why they didn’t achieve that goal.  As next year comes to a close, they will look back and see they continued the same traditional marketing tactics as the previous year (with maybe some slight changes). 

This time of year, small and mid size businesses will start planning their annual marketing budgets, and all the traditional media vendors they’ve used over the previous year will start putting their presentations together in hopes to renew their contracts.  Today, these vendors have their own “digital platforms” that they additionally bundle with or sell separately from their main services.  Simply “buying time” from these vendors is often a “waste of time” as without the business owner realizing “I need to address the digital side of my business”, they are simply putting a band-aid on the issue (and wasting marketing dollars).

Over the past 20 years, I’ve seen digital creep into the traditional marketing world & the digital world is here to stay.  Businesses need to look at how they are spending their traditional marketing dollars to reach customers in their market & designate a significant portion of that budget now, to their digital presence.  Seems scary and intimidating - saying “we can’t cut that, or we can’t go dark there”.  The digital reality is, you have to do something… and now.  Make bringing your business up to date in the digital world a top priority.  Change is never easy, but the change tounderstanding the importance of digitalis essential to moving your business forward.

-Mark Leishear, iFrog Sales Director

Subscribe to our newsletter