Marketing activities have gone through a paradigm shift in a span of 10 years. The Internet boom is one of the reasons. Today’s entrepreneurs are restless and keep exploring innovative marketing strategies. Whether it’s the design of a company's website or an email to the client, the change is omnipresent in every marketing activity. Realizing the changes in marketing scenario a brief synopsis is discussed here with a hint of the challenges thatdrove these changes.
Face of the company
Ten years back how many of us used to check website of a company before a visit? Not many of us would exactly remember the numbers but it was negligible. Business enterprises now understand the significance of the website of the company. In the designing of content too change is evident. Instead of 'we', more personalized references are frequently used. The change is led by the fact that authenticity is what everyone looks for.
CSR is mainstream
No conventional means of marketing would reap as much benefits as new and innovative ones. In the pursuit of new and unconventional marketing strategies, marketing departments have begun leveraging social factors like being more environment friendly and charity funding. Consider this: out of the total number of mails we receive in a day, how many out of them have a message appended that reminds us not to print the mail if not necessary?
If any organization is installing any eco-friendly device, the information about it is passed on to the wider world of their business circle. To circulate the message one does not need to rely on TV or newspaper. Today, web pages and micro blogging sites are sufficient enough to yield benefits.
Companies have learned that showing 'we care' is good marketing.
|“Marketing has evolved from a mere division of a business enterprise which had specific role to play like any other division. Now marketing is required to establish it in a new avatar where everybody in the company is a marketer with their marketing ideas. Thus everyone in a business organisation needs to understand the new role of marketing and act accordingly.”
— Vineet Kanaujia
Word of mouth marketing or viral marketing
In today’s age there are so many campaigns that it becomes really difficult zeroing in on a single option. Amidst this info-clutter if a suggestion comes from our relatives, colleagues, friends or partners, we prefer choosing that to others. Small business enterprises have learnt that the old-world word-of-mouth marketing is still the best option albeit with a touch of technology.
Information on the go is another marketing challenge that has led small business owners to adopt advanced technology. Today’s marketing strategies suggest uploading business updates on any of the social networking sites and let the world know about it.
Networking over net
Networking serves as the integral part of businesses. The way a business owner, today, gets connected with people is different from how he did earlier. The challenge was to connect with key business people at ease. To enhance networking, small business owners now tweet their business updates. The role of networking sites is also very significant in making the change.
Sponsoring an event
Ten years back sponsoring as a tool of marketing was restricted to big business enterprises only. Now the growing marketing challenges have forced the small scale business owners to put their foot forward in this marketing activity. Small business enterprises have been using this medium of marketing very smartly over the years. They have taken to sponsoring socially relevant events, which helps a business project its social responsibility image and indirectly improves visibility among its target audience. In business, no one can ignore visibility factor as it leaves mark in the minds of the customers and competitors as well.
What are you talking and how?
The term marketing communication was not so common in the world of business 10 years back. Small business owners were not aware of using marketing communication and were facing hurdles to reach to their customers. Besides, the communication models were also not very effective either. Compared to those days, today we see that communication scripts are written to impress and not merely to express.
|Major Marketing challenges|
|• Marketing communication
• Competition from foreign brands
• Deciding on investment criteria
• Coping up with the training and learning requirement
• Connecting with
The number of TV channels and newspapers have increased immensely and that gives a tough challenge to marketers to select their medium of advertisements. Harish Bijoor, Brand Guru and CEO, Harish Bijoor Consults Inc. says, “Small businesses in the past (10 years ago) were reasonably insulated from the world of specific strategy. Today, they are savvier. They focus on the ability of a business to deliver based on a clear and cogent strategy.”
Customer centric businesses
Small businesses in the past did not essentially swear by being customer centric, hence the commonly faced challenge was the gap between services offered and the actual demand. Over the years, the small business owners realized the increased need to be customer friendly. It was no more a mom-and-pop show. Bijoor rightly says, “The small business owners understand the language of customer service much more now than before.”
The Changed organisational role
All the challenges discussed above led to the rise of new marketing era in small business enterprises. Marketing has evolved as a business philosophy rather than a business strategy. Vineet Kanaujia, GM-Marketing, Safexpress says, “Marketing has evolved from a mere division of a business enterprise which had specific role to play like any other division. Now marketing is required to establish it in a new avatar where everybody in the company is a marketer with their marketing ideas. Thus everyone in a business organisation needs to understand the new role of marketing and act accordingly.”
|“Small businesses in the past (10 years ago) were reasonably insulated from the world of specific strategy. Today, they are savvier. They focus on the ability of a business to deliver based on a clear and cogent strategy.”
— Harish Bijoor
Brand Guru and CEO,
Harish Bijoor Consults Inc.
Training and learning
In the evolving phase of marketing strategies, different marketing training and education programs are proving to be a catalyst. The desire to take up marketing as a career option has increased amongst students. New technologies, innovation have lined up into the marketing activities. Small business owners have begun to eagerly pursue executive management courses with specialization in marketing. In this context, Bijoor says, “Marketing related courses and studies help but few small businesses embrace learning. It is only in the last couple of years that entrepreneurs of small businesses have sent their children to B-schools while they go to attend Family Business MBA programs. Learning helps. Training is something that makes a cauliflower of a cabbage, as Mark Twain once said. It’s true. Small businesses flower when the right training input is added
To sum up it’s safe to conclude that this evolution of marketing trend has helped small business entrepreneurs in many ways. It’s now the responsibility of the enterprise owner to get the marketing mix right to yield good results.