Marketing’s convergence with technology is both sudden and amazing. A major paradigm shift is happening within the field of marketing involving the convergence of technology with historically proven marketing tactics. Its impact on private business owners has been pronounced. It is fairly evident in the manner in which businesses are conceptualized, planned and executed. This is because information technology, computers and mobile devices are invading all realms of our lives, including social and business dealings. It is now become a given that those who fail to adapt to the changing technological trends end up paying a heavy price beyond the cost of acquiring the technology but in the loss of market share.
A recent post on our blog, “Those who fail to learn history are doomed to repeat it” reminds us of a famous quote often used to elucidate the relevance of history in today’s times. While this theory contains invaluable truths of profundity there are situations when it needs to be revisited.
Let’s take the case of technology and its applicability on small businesses. Change, adaptability and dynamism are the buzzwords of today that often separate success from failure (in the context of marketing and business).
A major paradigm shift is happening within the field of technology and its impact on private business owners. It is fairly evident in the manner in which businesses are conceptualized, planned and executed. This is because information technology, computers and mobile devices are invading all realms of our lives, including social and business dealings. It is a given that those who fail to adapt to the changing technological trends end up paying a heavy price.
Change is inevitable
It is a well-known fact that large corporate houses put a great deal of emphasis on technological adaptability and flexibility to surge ahead of their competitors. If they find a need for doing this despite having all the resources and the manpower at their disposal, it becomes all the more important for the lesser mortals to follow suit. Here are three reasons why:
- Interactivity: Technology has the ability to eliminate the distance barrier between business people and their clients. You need to be accessible to your prospective clients and go where they on the medium that they’re comfortable with. Blog and social media presence are helpful precisely for that reason.
- Competition: The ubiquitous impact of cutthroat competition makes it imperative for small businesses to adopt creative technical tactics to remain efficient. If your competitors are having an edge over your business, it may be time to objectively analyze the things they’re doing right. Competition is good in a way as it forces you to adapt and survive.
- Necessity: The recent economic crisis has prompted small businesses to explore technological options to initiate cost-cutting measures. The beauty about tech tools is that they help you do things smartly. Also, the availability of a myriad of free tools has not only provided a valuable opportunity to smaller ones, but also necessitated a change in the projection of the four Ps: Price, Product, Place and Promotion.
Exciting Tech Tools
There are a number of free web tools like TextBlockWriter, Gist, FreshBook, HighRise, OmniFocus, WaveAccounting, Googledocs, Skype, Yammer etc that are targeted at small businesses. Most of these products are CRM (customer relationship) tools or task scheduling/information sharing add-ons to smoothen your business dealings.
Tools like WaveAccounting and TestBlockWriter deserve special mention. While the former sorts out all your financial, banking and credit-card related activities, the latter streamlines your files/presentations/business plans and indexes them to computer according to your preference.
The emergence of social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, Google+, etc as a viable business marketing platform has been the single largest development on the web over the past decade. These mediums, which were primarily intended for social interaction, were soon catapulted to a whole new level by businesses that began to use them astutely to market their business.
The biggest value of these social platforms is their ability to communicate relevant information in real-time. Heightened interactivity helps businesses become more aware of their customers’ expectations and requirements.
Within that context, the phenomenon of inbound marketing has taken off in a big way.
What is it all about?
Inbound marketing is not an unconventional form of business marketing. Large companies have utilized white papers, case studies, and expansive reports to provide product service, or cultural information in an attempt to build credibility. The main difference today is in how this information is distributed. Instead of sending a sales force all over the universe technology is deployed to deliver quality, relevant information and measure its effectiveness.
Any approach whereby the customers will come looking for you instead of the other way round will be less costly and more easily measured. Thus the rationale behind inbound marketing: potential customers are out there on the web seeking information about a product or service that you already offer or plan to offer. Let’s make a connection!
Therefore, the idea is to present that information in a non-threatening manner that the target audience is already comfortable with. Inbound marketing makes use of many tactical offshoots of modern technology ranging from Search Engine Optimization (SEO), content segregation, and social media to target and speak directly to potential customers. Inbound marketing works wonderfully well because it offers a viable alternative to conventional advertising, which are perceived to be as egregiously annoying, and especially to intrusive cold calls.
According to a recent research by The Guardian, almost 80% people ignored TV ads in 2010 because of their apparent uselessness. In contrast, inbound marketing is precise, non-threatening and promotes a dialogue.
It can be seen that tech tools, social media and inbound marketing present a genuinely good opportunity to those who aspire to make their presence felt on the web in a productive manner. The challenge manifests itself in identifying the changing trends, pinpointing useful ones and implementing the lessons without delay.
Herein lies an opportunity to rewrite history and let others learn from it.