Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Paths to Success in 2016 and 2017

Occasionally I am invited to share thoughts on the future of small business marketing (and in this case, very small business). 

The world of the early 21st century is very different from the one even a decade ago.  There is ever more marketing power available to use, especially in terms of technology, and there is more complication and confusion.  Every week I see peers struggle with the current "normal." 

There are paths out of the thicket that will become more important to us small businesses.

I think alliances will become critical to the success of small business.  The current model (BNI, leads networking) is based on mutualism: one business striving to help another, but otherwise fully independent and unconnected.  This has all of the limitations one person can have, especially in how effective a person is, what time and resources are available, and so on.  I am seeing signs that these "solopreneurs" especially are entertaining more active partnering to leverage resources and opportunities.  It will most often take the form of related businesses or whatever yields natural synergies.  And the businesses will market in a united framework giving equal weight to each participant.

The other path will take the form of increased use of video.  Small businesses are not finding success in print nor even in flat digital publishing (i.e. standard text-based websites or social media posts.  It is incredibly hard to personalize and stand out in traditional ways.  Video lets a prospect see us, hear about what we do in our words and with our own emotions.  It has become very inexpensive to produce video and video can easily be disseminated online.  And it lends itself beautiful to mobile devices.  Even those who are bashful about being "seen" can speak into a microphone while text and graphics amplify the message.

Bottom Line:  The marketplace is complicated and frustrating but we are seeing clearly how some new ways of organizing and displaying can change our game.  Think about how you can pair up with a logical ally and use video to stand out.

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