According to marketing plan specialists Tactix, Kiwi SMEs waste substantial marketing budget every day with campaigns that are both poorly aligned to business goals and have little clarity on spend from the outset.
Tactix director, Nicole Crump, believes online marketing in particular is one of the biggest stumbling blocks for SMEs and start up companies in terms of misspent budgets.
"Many New Zealand companies have a very traditional approach to marketing, seeing it simply as advertising or letter drops,” Crump says.
"In doing so, they fail to recognise and take advantage of the opportunities constantly being presented through new media channels, particularly online and mobile. Conversely, as the role of social media continues to grow in our day to day lives, there is a trend toward companies picking up a social media presence that may be more detrimental to their marketing efforts than they perhaps realise.”
The key, says Crump, is in developing the right online marketing strategy that fits the company’s goals and speaks to the right audiences.
The world of online marketing is rapidly growing and continues to become a more credible and rewarding place to focus marketing efforts for companies that communicate well in this medium.
While not all companies will want to delve into the realms of social media or e-commerce, there are very few situations where a business does not require any online presence at all. It is highly likely that, at some point during the purchase of your products or services, your customers will use the internet to source more information, seek reviews, compare against competitors or potentially purchase online.
For this reason, resource must be given to managing your company’s online presence, from updating any content which you control to reviewing and understanding what your customers and competitors say about you. A tactical marketing plan will give greater clarity as to which online communication tools should be prioritised to deliver the most benefit in terms of brand awareness and ROI.
As with most marketing activity, having a good understanding of your identity and that of your customers is the key to creating an effective online marketing campaign. Start by asking yourself these questions:
In answering these questions, many businesses may find that by maintaining a well updated website they are doing enough to satisfy the needs of their customers. Companies that deal in services, particularly industrial or primary sector services, are unlikely to derive benefit with social media campaigns, e-commerce or mobile phone applications with customers more likely to source basic information from a website.
Conversely, a company selling goods or consumer focussed services may wish to use social media and e-commerce to communicate deals, build relationships, promote new products or features and seek customer feedback through two way communications.
Whether you are undertaking a robust online or digital campaign with social media and smartphone applications at the fore, or taking a more basic website only approach, there are several universal truths to any online marketing campaign.
These basics of online marketing will give a good starting point for any small business looking to optimise their web presence and build relationships with their market which will hopefully lead to sales.