What is the Future of Marketing for Small and Medium-Sized Businesses?
In order to grow your small or medium-sized enterprise, your marketing strategy needs to be a strong one that catches the eye of your target audience. By learning what the future holds for your enterprise in the marketing realm, you can begin making adjustments today to gain future success.
The Current Marketing Picture
The world has reached an amazing point in time where all markets connect perfectly into one global environment. This development has allowed for expansion of importing and exporting activities, with many US and EU companies outsourcing to the third world countries. Western production has fallen, along with overconsumption.
However, there seem to points that are at odds here. Western markets are overloaded, especially with exported goods, yet the disposable income of the middle class consumer gets lower every year, particularly in the US and UK.
Adding to this issue is the current marketing strategies of many small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). As they have less buyers and smaller purchases than before, they are spending more and more on advertising to try to regain market share. Meanwhile, consumers are getting tired and annoyed by traditional advertising methods.
While all this discussion may seem to paint an overly negative reality, I assure you that the majority of small and medium businesses will confirm its truth. So, what does the future hold for SMEs in marketing? In other words, what are the solutions to their advertising problems?
Concentrate on local marketing
To get ahead, small and medium-sized businesses will benefit from locally-based advertising campaigns. This marketing strategy for SMEs is significantly different than ones seen in the past. In the last decade, many businesses – particularly e-commerce businesses – targeted a nationwide audience rather than a local area. Common advertising channels were social media networks, pay-per-click and search engine optimisation.
However, nationwide campaigns are becoming less effective (please note that there are exceptions though, such as if you have a really cutting-edge, revolutionary product or service). With increasing choices available to consumers, they now have a tendency to look first locally for sellers, service providers and, in particular, manufacturers. Consumers have always had higher levels of trust in local businesses than places located farther away from them. As well, many consumers want to support their local economies and encourage local job growth.
So, following this rationale, the solution is for small and medium-sized businesses to boost marketing efforts in the geographical areas where they operate from. And, even for nationwide brands this is a good recommendation. This marketing strategy appears to be the solution to reaching higher conversion rates.
Concentrate on the SME Consumer Experience
No size of business can neglect consumer experience within their marketing strategies – at least not if they want to be successful. This does not matter if it is a large nationwide company or a small e-shop.
The reality is that many consumer experiences these days are less than positive. Shoppers are tired of mainstream advertising channels, such as banner ads and TV ads. Instead, they tend to buy products and services based on the recommendations of friends, family or other sources they trust, such as references.
What that said, products or companies that provide positive consumer experiences will get more sales. And, a valuable way for businesses to provide this positive experience is by way of consumer reviews. Customers love reviews and delight in making purchasing decisions based on what they learn in reviews.
Unfortunately, a sad fact is that consumer reviews are not always genuine. In fact, research indicates that the rate of fake consumer reviews may be as high as 30 percent in the online review industry.
Thankfully, there are service providers creating platforms to solve this problem – and these platforms have a much lower rate of fake reviews than other sites. Despite the current problems in review industry, there is a way to bring back the integrity of the online review industry, making it more trustworthy amongst potential consumers.
An example of an online platform that publishes genuine customer reviews and encourages validity of published reviews is CheckTick.com. It is where consumers can share their experiences with products, services or a company in general. They can participate in online discussions with other consumers, find local special deals and events, and more. CheckTick.com provides a fantastic way for small and medium-sized businesses to increase both their sales and conversion rates.
Obviously there are other ways that SME marketing will change in the future than what is discussed in the scope of this article. However, the primary takeaway is that a localized marketing approach combines extremely well with use of consumer reviews to increase number of sales and conversion rates for businesses.