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Connections With Ashley: Marketing Best Practices for the New Year

Ashley Harvey | Marketing Manager | Zerion360

One of the reasons I personally love the field of marketing is that it is ever changing. Especially for small business. Marketing in 2014 will continue to shift in response to big data, technology, and how consumers respond to content and branding. I’ve compiled a list of the key elements that I believe are going to be big players for marketing in the new year.

Content: Content marketing has moved into center stage over the last few years. The focus here is on producing relevant and enticing content to drive traffic and sales. When it comes to shopping for services or products – clients are doing most of the research themselves. Which means that the majority of the buying decision is already completed before most potential customers even speak to someone in sales. Producing engaging content that not only gives potential clients information, but also builds a conversation is key.

Big data:  Another buzzword in marketing – big data is shaping the way marketers target their audience. Utilizing big data allows companies to specifically target customers as well as improve the overall customer experience. Big data analytics are already worked into many programs from Google, Facebook, and more. Even your own sales transactions can be converted into usable data. Being able to gain insights into your target market, and being able to specifically reach out to them is a marketing game changer.

Focus on customer: Customer experience is everything. Really. In this digital age of being able to communicate without actually verbally speaking to anyone – consumers actually value the experience. In B2B marketing – more and more consumers place a high amount of weight on the trustworthiness and service aspect of a company. You want to make sure your marketing department is focused on building your brand in such a way that it tells stories and evokes certain feelings. What story is your brand telling right now? If you want to refocus your brand and make it more customer oriented, here are some tips: Ask people for their first impressions in regards to your brand and what it conveys to them. Stay away from overused jargon and superlatives – they make you appear superfluous and altogether not very stand-up. Focus on developing relationship and not just sales.

Don’t market to a wall: Your team can come up with creative and awesome marketing strategies – but they won’t work if no one is listening. You first need to define your target market. Get specific. Who are they, what do they do, what sector do they work in, what are their needs. Then define where they are – what events and conferences are they attending, what information and help are they seeking, what mediums are they reading (i.e. Business Journal). When you have a specific idea of who you are targeting, reaching out to them will get a whole lot easier. Making sure your marketing voice gets heard also applies to the network you already have in place. Marketing initiatives often will prove cumbersome unless you already have a network in place to stand on. You can be developing interesting and relevant content on your blog – but if you’re not getting readers or feedback, your blog is not adequately doing what it should be doing. Look at those closest in your network – invite them to join in on the conversation or see if they would be willing to share blog posts that they find interesting. Invite others via social media or when at events to join in the conversation as well.

 

There’s are some of my marketing best practices for 2014 – what marketing tactics will your company focus on this year?

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