According to the Small Business Association (SBA), a company’s marketing budget depends on the industry, business size and growth stage. Small businesses with less than 5 million in revenue should have a seven to eight percent marketing budget. Marketing is critical to the success of any business because it is the key to building and maintaining strong customer relationships. Successful marketing will build brand loyalty, increase revenues and improve competitiveness.
Some companies are intimated by social media. Even worse, some companies ignore social media and focus on traditional marketing techniques that may be outdated or ineffective. Successful companies will openly acknowledge that modern consumers hold much more power over the success and failure of a company through social media. For example, consider strengthening your Facebook page through offering customized, unique groups. This will result in higher participation and an individualized online experience. Be sure to integrate a positive social change call to action. Learn more social media marketing techniques from Entrepreneur.com.
A Forbes article entitled “Why Customer Service Is the New Marketing” succinctly points out that customers are just like reporters because they are empowered through social media to share opinions and reviews. Customer service begins with marketing, not when the customer has purchased the service or product and has a concern or complaint. Positive customer service experiences are the key to building brand loyalty and reputation in the current business world. A survey by NewVoiceMedia found that companies with poor customer service collectively lose over 40 billion dollars a year. Quality customer service is an informal means of marketing.
Some of the most well-known brands and companies are very active in local communities and even the nation as a whole. Forbes’ World’s Most Admired Companies of 2015 lists some of the most recognizable brands in the world. For example, Apple is ranked first and Google second for 2015. Smart companies realize that investing time, money and resources into the community not only increases profits, but also reputation and marketing effectiveness as well. This year McDonald’s slipped to the bottom of the list (46 out of 50). Experts say this is due to McDonalds’ poor response to consumer criticism regarding nutrition and food ingredients. Mishandling consumer feedback and failing to value consumer opinions will result in negative marketing. You can see all the top 50 socially responsible companies online.
An excellent way to build brand awareness while involving the community is through hosting or sponsoring live events. Be sure that the event accurately represents the corporate culture and values. In addition to this, be sure that it is well planned and meaningful for the participants. Finally, be sure to balance between the event quality and the quantity of consumer participation. Learn more event sponsorship tips from Inc.com.
Many internet advocates claim that direct mail is an ineffective waste of money. They say that the new generation of savvy online consumers don’t have the time or attention to focus on traditional direct mail marketing. However, according to the Direct Marketing Association (DMA), a 2012 study found that the response rate for direct mail is 3.4 percent compared to only .12 percent of emails. Direct mail is simple, familiar and highly targeted. Even better, a customized direct mail marketing strategy will allow businesses to provide a personalized design. Using a specialized direct mail marketing company for your particular industry, like OrthodonticMarketing.net for dental clinics, can also provide ROI, campaign performance and customer response demographic data. See more fascinating direct mail statistics at CMOCouncil.org.
In conclusion, social media, quality customer service, community involvement, live events and direct mail are excellent marketing tools to increase profits, customer loyalty and competitiveness.
About the Author:
Anica is a professional content and copywriter who graduated from the University of San Francisco. She loves dogs, the ocean, and anything outdoor-related. She was raised in a big family, so she’s used to putting things to a vote. Also, cartwheels are her specialty. You can connect with Anica here.
Tom Treanor is the founder of the Right Mix Marketing blog. He’s the author of the Search Engine Boot Camp, the co-author of Online Business Productivity, and regularly speaks at industry and corporate events. His writing has been featured on the Content Marketing Institute, Social Media Examiner, Copyblogger and other leading industry blogs.