This article is really to give you an understanding of the offline business marketing world and how it has now transformed to the online business marketing world. Come with me on a short journey from back in history to modern day and into the future.
Offline Business Marketing:
The world of offline business marketing is soon to be become redundant. Since advertising first began, smart business owners were always on the lookout for that something new that was going to give them the edge over their competitors.
In the beginning there was word of mouth advertising. A vendor sold a product or service to a customer who then went out and spread the word to his personal circle of influence. Word of Mouth Advertising in those days had only two possible endings. One, a positive referral was made that resulted in more customers and more sales. Secondly, a negative referral was made and that resulted in less customers and less sales.
Obviously, knowing the importance of their only advertising medium, good vendors looked after their customers especially well and were rewarded in return. As in today's modern business, those that didn't look after their customers suffered the penalty that followed.
Clever vendors then moved on to Poster advertising. Posters were placed strategically around the areas promoting their products and services. Now they had two modes of advertising. Those that didn't look after their customers so well, were now able to exploit the Poster advertising strategy. The better the Poster, the better the results of bringing in customers and making more sales.
And so the world of advertising and marketing began. Now since those days we have had a host of other marketing and advertising strategies come and go. Some lasted longer than others, while some were so brief they blew out with the next gust of wind.
I won't go in to all the mediums that we have seen over the many years. The important thing to note is this, THERE WERE CHANGES. Those that moved with the changes were able to stay ahead of their competitors, those that didn't took so long to pick up the change that they lost fortunes in their business or lost their businesses completely.
Today's world still has a great deal of off line marketing and advertising. Television, radio, newspapers and magazines would have to be the main form of media used. And in the main, successful for those businesses who have the thousands if not tens of thousands of dollars to pour in to their advertising.
Large multinational corporations have had offline marketing campaigns that ran in to the millions of dollars and obviously their return on investment had to remain high for such colmitments to continue.
What about the small and medium enterprises? What do they pay in advertising and marketing? What is their return on investment? Well let me tell you, they are the business models that are struggling and close to collapse.
Why? Because they are continually paying for advertising and marketing campaigns that are useless.
Here's an example:
If you are a small or medium business, ring your local newspaper and ask to place an ad in the Classifieds Section. What will you get? You will get a consultant on the other end of the phone who will ask what Category you wished to be placed in, how many lines or lines and columns you wish to include.
You will be asked to read your ad content and they will check the spelling, and how you want it to look. You agree and that's it. Do you get to look and preview your ad? You can look and make one minor change, that's it. You then pay for what you get.
There is no consultation about your marketing strategy, your target market, your product or anything that will help give you an edge over your competitor. The consultants are not marketing specialists, they are telephone specialists who fill in a form.
Your ad comes out in the newspaper and you don't like it. Bad Luck, that's what you get.
Cross that over to "The Yellow Pages" advertisements. Depending on the size of the ad, which also means the amount of money you are going to spend with them, dictates the amount of help you receive. Now understand this, the average consultant in "The Yellow Pages" is not a marketing specialist. They specialize in "selling advertising space".
So the question that begs to be asked is," Why would you go to someone who is not a specialist marketing agent to do your marketing?" That's like asking a dental receptionist to do your filling or an extraction. It doesn't work.
Small and Medium enterprises generally have no idea what they are doing in relation to marketing their business, product and service. They have no idea of how to structure a successful marketing campaign to bring their business more customers. Business owners need to go to a specialist who is an expert in that field, someone who knows what they are doing. Someone who is going to build a marketing strategy that is successful in achieving the objectives set by the business owner.
Traditional advertising through "The Yellow Pages", Newspapers and other print media will soon be of little value. The distribution is localised and viewing is random. Any return on investment is based on luck rather than a measured strategic marketing campaign.
People are sick and tired of advertisements being pushed in front of their faces. It is said that an average of 2000 advertisements are placed in front of us every single day. Ask yourself how many you can remember from yesterday through newspapers, magazines, billboards, t.v, radio etc. The answer, probably half a dozen, maybe if you're good.
So, what is happening to your business ad? Nothing.
Online Business Marketing:
Why? One word, internet. The internet has now changed the world of advertising and marketing forever. The trend towards the internet is moving faster than any other medium in history. The younger age groups, Generation X and Generation Y are using the internet multiple times daily. It is now their chosen form of networking and communicating. We now have phones that communicate on the internet.
Guess what? Now the Baby boomers are getting in on the act as well. Just have a look at Social Networking sites like Facebook and Twitter. The older generations are now using the internet to communicate with their families around the world. Add Skype and other similar programs that allow F*R*E*E phone and video calls around the world. Any business that is not on the internet now, and not on the internet in the next year or so is seriously in big trouble.
What do you think the modern generation do when they are looking for a product or service? They don't run for the Yellow Pages that's for sure. They run to their computer or laptop and do a Google Search, that's what they do.
What doe this mean for your business? You need to be marketing your business, products and services on the internet.
How do you do this? You need a Website. The Website is your online virtual shop, office or whatever your business front is. It is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 52 weeks a year. It is open for business while you are sleeping, on holiday, in your shop or where ever you wish to be. It never closes unless you or your landlord close it down. (Yes, even on the internet we have landlords that you have to pay rent to on a monthly basis)
Your business is open for customers to browse, leave their details for followup, or purchase a product or service. And they do all this without you having to be there, how fantastic is that? That is the power of the internet.
How do people find you? Imagine a highway, any highway. Imagine your Website is a store front on that highway. Now imagine we incorporate strategies that were once the powerhouse strategies of offline marketing. Imagine the Word of Mouth which in internet terms is Social Networking, Poster Marketing which we call Article Marketing, Television Advertising we call Video Marketing, Radio Advertising we call Podcasting.
Just as in your offline marketing, we use all these strategies to drive targeted traffic to your Website. Traffic are potential clients. The difference to offline marketing is that online, only people that are looking for you will find you. That means they WANT what you have. They will get to choose between you and your competitors who they find online. When they choose you, they have already got their credit cards out and sitting in front of them. That prospect is now a customer.
You now have the opportunity to get directly in front of thousands if not tens of thousands of potential customers. To win their business you will first need to be online, and second have a marketing campaign that is successful enough to get you in front of them.
Whether you are a local or international organization, small or medium enterprise or multinational, your marketing campaign will have to incorporate your target market. Your campaign will have to target your distribution and servicing area, so if you only do local stuff that is cool, if you distribute and service internationally then that is cool as well. The internet allows you to advertise globally and locally.
How do the costs compare? In our experience an internet campaign could set you back a few thousand dollars to set it up at the start. Most good providers will have a payment plan to suit most people. There are on-going monthly fees anywhere from about $10.00US depending on the sort of campaign package you need.
So let's say it costs you $5000.00US to set up your Website and implement a marketing strategy. Add an average of around just say $100 a month. The monthly fee is equivalent to paying rent for your building and costs associated to that.
Compare those costs to an average Full Page ad in a certain directory which could set you back tens of thousands of dollars per year, add in your newspapers ads which you place weekly, as well as any other limited advertisements. The cost to you is enormous in comparison to an online Website presence.
I hope that you have been able to see the benefits and the obvious need to have an online business presence.
I hope this article has been of value to you. I look forward to being with you on the next article where we will share Marketing Strategies that could save your business literally thousands of dollars. You don't want to miss that.
Here's a tip for you, it doesn't matter what industry you are in, what product or service you provide. Your business is about marketing. If you fail to market your business properly, your business will fail.