The times, they are a-changin’. These days, this iconic Dylan anthem could also apply to marketing your business. At the heart of it is how your customers make a buying decision. People want information that helps them make an informed decision. They prefer not to be “sold” before they are ready to buy. As a result, fewer businesses are broadcasting a message to the crowd. Instead, they are drawing customers in with information and starting a conversation. So if you want your small business to grow in today’s market, you need to understand these important marketing trends.
- Trend #1: The approach to marketing is shifting – The traditional – or outbound – marketing approach gets your message out using tools like paid advertising and mailers. A business spreads its message to a crowd asking for them to buy, whether they are interested or not. In contrast, some businesses are getting their message out to targeted groups using social media, blogs, video, podcasts and other digital media. It’s called “inbound marketing.” The idea is to use your information to get people to join in a conversation so that they’ll start talking with others about you. That word-of-mouth presence creates awareness (and ultimately sales) for your business.
- Trend #2: Traditional marketing is becoming more expensive – Hubspot reports that the average cost per lead with traditional
marketing is $346. The inbound marketing approach averages just $135 per lead, a 61 percent lower cost, which makes it attractive to small businesses with limited marketing budgets.
- Trend #3: Customers are ignoring traditional marketing tools –Mashable.com reports that 86 percent of people skip through television ads, 200 million people have registered their phone numbers on the National Do-Not-Call list, and 44 percent of direct mail is never opened. That means your message may never get to the people you are trying to reach.
- Trend #4: Traditional marketing is becoming less effective – MarketWired.com reports that inbound marketing brings in 54 percent more leads than traditional marketing. So the return on your marketing investment may be smaller using the traditional approach.
Many of your customers are changing the way they buy your products and services. They want to be educated rather than sold. That means that the traditional approach to marketing is changing. Understanding these new trends will better position your small business to grow with the changing times.