So I thought I’d jot down my thoughts for you to get ready for a fabulous new year.
Even though some economists predict that Australia hasn’t hit rock bottom yet, it’s not something that should hold the small business sector back. In fact, I believe the opposite is true, it’s time to do some great marketing planning and get ready for a new year.
I’m a marketing strategist, not an economist, but when it comes to looking at trends in terms of marketing, it’s important to also look at societal and economic developments. Small business owners always have to look ahead, consumer behaviors are changing fast and you need to be at the forefront and adapt quickly.
“It’s not the strongest of the species that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the ones most responsive to change.” Charles Darwin
So, below are a few things I believe will be important in 2013 and beyond for any small business.
Consumers are talking more and more publicly and it will become even easier for them to be ‘inside’ our businesses through social platforms. This is an opportunity for small businesses to listen to what their customers really want and cater to that. Consumers will be dictating what they want and the brands that listen will be the ones that keep growing and creating more raving fans. So listen up!
Thanks to open communication and the online world, business will keep becoming more transparent and I strongly believe that dodgy businesses will find it harder and harder to hide and excellent providers will be thriving more and more supported by their raving fans. I still feel like there is quite a lot of BS out there that needs cleaning up and transparency will certainly help with that.
How easy is it nowadays to find a solution to a problem! All you need to do is hop on the computer and ‘google’.
If I am looking for a plumber for example, there are around eight plumbers in my geographic area I could choose from. Consumers have got a huge choice now. So how do you make sure to be the number one choice? You need to add more value and stand out from the rest (more on that in the next issue of Spark Magazine). I also believe that despite the easiness of buying stuff from just about anywhere in the world, there will also be a movement of people supporting more local businesses, so don’t hide where you are coming from and tap into that market.
Community and belonging
Someone might have two thousand friends on Facebook but still feel lonely because there is often a lack of deeper human connection. This is nothing new, history shows that people have always had a need to belong to something, but the online social world has changed how we interact.People will be craving ‘real’ human connection more and more, a reason why some religious groups are growing quite substantially. This is something you can leverage for your business by creating a meaningful community your clients want to belong to.
Businesses with a purpose
There will be an even bigger push in creating businesses that are doing good for the world. Businesses with a great vision will not only be supported by its fans and customers, they will also attract more talent. Especially amongst a younger workforce, the aim to work for a company with a great purpose is often considered more important than money.
We live in a society that loves personal stories. Look at all the popular reality TV shows! People want stories and you need to share yours, no matter how big or small you think it is. Being authentic, human, and more personal will play an even bigger role in the future. People want to know who is behind the business and how it came about, so share your story.
Video is another fantastic way for people to connect with you and see who is behind the brand and it will continue to be a fantastic marketing tool in the new year. So get over your fear and get yourself in front of a camera.
Marketing to mobile devices will become a huge market segment including apps and online magazines. This will create a massive target area for savvy online marketers.
We’ve seen this happen over the last few years and it will become more important in the future. It’s not only about me me me anymore, it’s about collaboration and partnerships. There will also be more consumer generated content, allow it!
Print will still be important. I absolutely love direct mail (when the postman rocks up with something cool) and the stuff you send people will be more appreciated if it’s good.
People love shopping online, so make sure you make it easy for them to buy from you via your website.
It’s always smart to stay ahead of your industry and being a leader in your field. The waves are coming no matter what, so let’s ride them and avoid being washed away.
Franziska Iseli-Hall, marketing strategist, author, speaker, and co-founder of Basic Bananas.
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