Digital services have made an undeniable impact on small business marketing. It’s taken a while, with lots of twists and turns, but for most SMBs, there is no going back to the old days of relying on advertising in one or two “traditional” media channels, like newspapers and Yellow Pages.
Today’s SMB marketing reflects an interlocking weave of both traditional and digital channels and services --all well used. Even smaller SMBs are using an average of 5.9 channels in their marketing, per BIA/Kelsey.
Advertising remains an important, central element in all this. But now, it is supported by a growing list of “Adtech” and, increasingly, “Martech” services. Adtech consists of the technology, software and services used for delivering, controlling and targeting online ads. Martech is the fast growing set of technology that is integrated with marketing and services to help target customers and increase sales and revenues.
Search, social media, presence management, mobile optimization, geolocation, scheduling and booking, marketing automation, enhanced listings, email, content marketing and CRM (customer relationship management) are just some of the channels that now take their place alongside advertising (in all its shapes and sizes). The changes reflect a major shift in how a local business operates – and how advertising, leads and promotions are now increasingly integrated into operations.
While advertising is old hat for many SMBs, Adtech and Martech are relatively new. Yet, they are now permanent fixtures. A typical SMB wouldn't be able to truly compartmentalize what is spent on Website maintenance, customer list management, SEO and scheduling. What doesn’t change are the goals that SMBs have in deploying them: to get found, drive foot traffic, increase revenue and bolster customer loyalty.
Long term, the writing is on the wall. SMB marketing, as digital channels take center stage, will increasingly be more about commerce than about advertising. The ultimate beneficiary of this evolution will be SMBs and their customers. In fact, SMBs are now taking advantage of great services that were only available to the largest enterprise businesses just a few years ago.
For now, we’re eager to explain the trends, track the transition and help stimulate great results. That’s our goal with NextWaveSMB, a unique new blog for the SMB marketing community that is sponsored by Booker. We’ll be taking a constant pulse of the new SMB marketing industry, talking to leaders on a regular basis, and posting a healthy stream of blog posts – at least six times a month. Please join us!