Sharpen The Cutting-Edge of Your Marketing Mix

With the massive amount of information, data, videos, and podcasts churning on the internet, it is difficult to devise cutting-edge strategies that don’t quickly get dull, and lose their power of conviction. Marketing has entered the era of hyper competition where you can no longer find safety in a local market, because consumers possess the power to search as far afield as they wish through the power of the internet.

Whether you are a small or big player in a particular market segment, your marketing mix must now respond to the challenges of ever freshly devised strategies that understand and utilize the full range of internet marketing tools. But not all of this is brand new, the old strategies have been altered and modified to adjust to the digital age.

Ultimately, it is still a question of catering to the needs and wants of customers, and providing the best possible customer service that will maintain them in the company’s fold. The new market has moved from a predominant focus on content to finding complementary products, piggybacking possibilities, and marketing across networks, multi-media, multi-platforms, and affiliated online networks. Looking for synergistic opportunities, and willingness to link to other websites in a give-and-take environment has proved to be the winning formula for capable players.

The website has become the preferred tool for new marketing strategies because it is flexible, low cost, and has the potential to attract a huge audience. It is a question of honing certain successful strategies to the needs of niche markets. Through the power of data harvesting and cloud storage, the targeted markets can be shrunk to ever more finite segments. These seven action steps will help you to modernize your marketing strategy:

The boomers want nostalgia – This is still the largest age demographic, which is moving into their sixties and seventies. Their youth has been dedicated to embracing the peace movement, social liberation, individualism, political protests, and sexual freedom. Many of their most life transforming ideas and experiences are associated with this period. They are still caught up with the tastes, sounds, feel, and touch of the late sixties and early seventies.

Many of them have accumulated or inherited wealth, and want to spend it on themselves, their children and grandchildren. No large demographic group is homogeneous, and therefore their needs are dispersed across a wide range of products and services. This is where niche targeting becomes critical, but fortunately any marketing strategist can hook up to providers of very specific data on the internet, and hit the target with much more precision. In today’s online marketing programs, tying products and services to articles and blogs that invoke the nostalgia of the boomers’ youth has a winning appeal.

The millennials trust their peers – The class of ’82 to ’04 is a different breed that has been squeezed out of jobs by the boomers, who are loth to retire early. This group uses different connectivity networks that are more inclined to trust their peers, and look to them for recommendations. Social media is the strongest influencing factor in their lives. They follow their friends on Twitter, Facebook and other platforms to pick up on what is in, and cool to have. Although not fully employed, or underemployed in jobs that are not compatible to their level of education, many of them have reached the nest-making phase of their lives. This leads to a plethora of demand associated with this life cycle. But the market place has been drastically transformed, so that instead of the acquisitions made by their parents they are choosing to participate in the sharing market, where almost anything can be leased or loaned. This creates other opportunities on which almost anyone can capitalize i.e. rent a room, a car, equipment, etc.. It makes for an ideal environment for small businesses. There are many ways to take advantage.

Solve problems and prosper – Instead of directly flogging your products and services through the conventional media, redirect some of the marketing funding to self-help blogs and articles associated with your website. Operating instructions or installation advice for software or equipment on YouTube will be much appreciated and can be linked to your website’s other product offerings. Keep this kind of helpful information flowing on a weekly or monthly basis, and it will drive more traffic to your site. This holds true for almost any product or service. Using the indirect approach scores better across all generations.

Entertain them – Cats and dogs doing funny and weird things have gone viral on YouTube countless times. Weird and funny video episodes, and comic doodles get attention and can carry subtle references to associated products and services. Fun presentations can lead to serious messages that will be appreciated by the viewers. You can hire professionals for this, or try and develop this type of content through the creative talent within the company. All you require, at times, is a smart phone and an interesting theme. Pictures and videos can be programmed to contain links to your website.

Turn your customers into idea generators – In this age of sharing and group participation through cyber-networks, creating a special members VIP group within your website, or linked to an associated site, creates an interactive ecosystem that encourages super loyalty. This special group feels empowered to participate and contribute to the company’s success. You need someone in the organization to be in charge of this program – to answer serious inquiries, and consider incorporating valuable feedback into the company’s products and services.

Small Business And ESG

Small businesses that ignore ESG as a passing phase do so at their own peril. In the next few decades there will be a massive transfer of wealth to the millennial generation. This is purported to be the largest in history, surpassing even the inheritance of the Boomer generation.

The influence of the former is already roiling the investment market, because their criteria for placement of funds is vastly different from that of their parents. Boomers have disassociated virtuous activity, such as donations to charities or voluntary community work, from investment of their money. The millennials, on the other hand, tend to connect the two closely. They are bypassing the old polluting and sin industries like coal and oil and embracing cleaner renewables. This not only influences their own actions but also that of their parents, who ask them for advice.

This amounts to one of those tectonic shifts in the market place that small business needs to pay much more attention to. The value of the products and services that are produced are already much more subjected to ESG criteria environmental, social, and governance impact. Both short and long-term business planning must take into account the changing values of this new cohort of investors and entrepreneurs.

The ESG and SRI connection  socially responsible investment is implicitly connected to ESG. The new generation shows every sign of elevating this to a priority for their investment decisions, and purchasing intentions. This applies not only to large investment vehicles such as private equity funds, which sell shares to the public on the stock market, but also to small business funding and start-ups. Many banks are now requesting a sustainability assessment from both large and small businesses.

Small businesses can boost SRI – The company website and newsletter is a good starting point to show that your business follows a socially responsible path. This can be manifested through a commitment to a more eco- friendly supply chain for products and services produced by your company. If you import some of your parts, it is important to know that your foreign suppliers treat their workers well and respect the environment. It is not enough just to pay lip service to this, because in this internet connected world, information is just a click away. Activists investigate corporate claims and call out laggards.

Millennials are more demanding- They are twice as likely than the average consumer to check the impact of packaging on the environment, and to verify the social credibility of companies from which they purchase goods. Switching to biodegradable packaging, and acknowledging ecological and social concerns is not expensive, and must become part of the small business mindset.

The ESG trend is here to stay – When very large money management funds start paying attention to a new trend, and changing their investment philosophy, no company small or large can close their eyes to the impact that it will have on their business. The reality of climate change has its deniers, but the millennials are not fooled and have jumped on the bandwagon of sustainable development.

The virtuous business leader is in favour -Social responsibility is connected to business ethics. The consumers in advanced countries demand a different approach to the way business is done. The exploitation of the environment at any cost is no longer tolerated. Climate change dynamics, supported by a more activist generation, will force business owners to shift to a more ethical approach. The sooner this is realized by business leaders in different industries the better will be their chances of survival in the long-term.

Social media will play an important role The millenials are masters of social media, and will use their networks to promote the ESG concept. This has the potential to attain a critical mass that will sway people all over the world. The effects are already visible in the way that the Chinese government has committed itself to non-polluting sources of power. The vast inherited wealth of the new generation will support SRI with hard cash.