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The 21st century marketing chain

As more than half of businesses plan to increase their marketing budgets this year, many small businesses are left wondering if they should do the same, or if they should remain frugal and hold out until the economy shows real signs of improvement.

While both strategies are legitimate, depending on the business or industry in question, it is still a good idea to stay on top of and perhaps even modify your marketing initiatives.

Increasingly, online media are becoming some of the most cost-effective marketing tools, as the majority of them are free. However, sitting at a computer, “friending” half the world’s population is not going to promote a healthy, personal relationship with customers – in fact, it may do quite the opposite.

“It’s always best to start with the people you’re trying to reach,” David Scott, author of The New Rules of Marketing and PR, told Inc. magazine. “Most organizations start with their product or their service, but that’s an egotistical approach to reaching potential customers.”

Consider using print campaigns to spark interest and reel in prospects, who you then can turn into customers through a proactive, engaging and, most importantly, personalized social media campaign. This is the marketing chain of the 21st century.

“I don’t advocate spending a lot of money on marketing,” Scott added. “I do advocate creating great content.”

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