Depending on who’s talking, the hottest item that should be a top marketing priority for businesses in 2012 is … [drumroll, please]
Location-based services (LBS) marketing
Did I miss anything?
When I quit my web business in 2005, none of these existed. What will the next five or so years bring? Like traditional advertising, web marketing is becoming more and more fragmented, and businesses are becoming increasingly selective about how they spend their marketing dollars. What’s more, many small business owners regard advertising and marketing as an expensive, rather than an investment in their business. With this mindset, it’s difficult to convince them that “the next big thing” you’re proposing isn’t just another expense that’s going to take more money out of their pocket. Case in point:
Recently, my boss and I talked with a video marketing guy about how small businesses can use video as a marketing tool. He told us how videos cause website visitors to stay on a site longer and how they can help a company’s website rank higher in the search engines. They wanted to partner with us by having our reps sell the videos that they’d produce. It was all good stuff, except for one problem.
He told us that they have no trouble producing the videos. They were having trouble getting people to buy them.
As we discussed how selling video ads might fit into our business model, it became clear that he wasn’t getting it. He seemed more concerned about how business owners “needed” video ads and how they “didn’t get it.” He reminded me of what Michael Gerber wrote in his book, The E-Myth Revisited, that when we look at our product and ask ourselves “how can I sell this?” we wind up thinking the customer is the problem, because he never seems to want what we’re selling at the price we’re selling it. And we believe we have the perfect solution: we must educate our clients. After all, the better they understand what we do, the more they’ll get it, right?
Wrong. Clients don’t want to be educated; they want solutions. Put yourself in their shoes for just a moment. What do you imagine they want and need, marketing-wise? Here’s a short list:
Greater cash flow
Advertising that works
Show that business owner or marketing manager how you can impact those in a positive way and you’ll have no problem selling him or her on that “next big thing.”
Former owner and partner of web firm Jenesis Technologies, John is currently Director of Digital Strategy at Haines Local Search, a company providing local search marketing solutions to SMBs, including print and Internet Yellow Pages, web design, and local SEO. When not working or spending time with his family, John offers great sales and marketing advice on his blog, Small Business Marketing Sucks.