Small and Midsized Company Marketing and Marketing Communications – Important Forecasts For 2017

2016 ended with Americans exhausted by emotionally wrenching politics, stories of foreign entanglements and violence at home. Businesses, too, have struggled with modest economic growth and a turbulent stock market. As 2017 begins we all, consumers and organizations alike, face uncertainty in a variety of arenas.

With this as backdrop, businesses still have to develop, plan and execute strategies for profitable growth. After speaking to various colleagues and clients, and reading the comments of a number of pundits and prognosticators, here’s my take on what’s in store for small and midsized B2B and B2C businesses in the coming year:

1. A significant number of marketers – both large and small – will conduct agency reviews in 2017. The current report from Advertiser Perceptions (based on 420 marketers representing about 90 percent of the Top 100 US advertisers) reveals a staggering number of planned reviews:

· 66% plan creative agency reviews;

· 65% plan to review search agencies;

· 64% plan to review media agencies;

· 61% plan to review digital agencies.

Why? Beyond the lack of trust in authorities in society as a whole, rightly or wrongly trust has also been lost between marketers and their agencies. So if you’re feeling concerned about your agency relationship, recognize that you’re not alone.

2. There will be major increases in the number of companies hiring “contingent workers”, i.e., independent contract workers and freelance specialists. Faced with rises in the minimum wage, increases in healthcare costs and increasing payroll taxes, companies are obviously doing everything they can to cut their fixed labor costs. But the ability to hire top notch talent for the short or long term is also a practice gaining much momentum. In fact, a recent survey by Deloitte University Press showed a “7 percent significant increase” plus a “44 percent increase” in planning to hire contingent workers in the next few years.

Keep in mind that these “outsiders” bring fresh energy and fresh ideas to any type of organization while also perhaps providing some savings to your bottom line.

3. Media fraud and ad blocking will increase in 2017. Much was uncovered by the Association of National Advertisers’ eight month investigation of undisclosed rebates flowing from digital media companies to agencies. However, there’s incentive for fraudsters to keep doing what they’re doing because of the ability to circumvent fraud detection systems. This widespread practice can influence agencies’ media recommendations (and bottom lines), while obviously not being in the best interests of clients.

Perhaps more importantly, the stunning growth of ad blocking across markets poses a huge threat to digital media. At least 419 million people worldwide are blocking ads on their smartphones, nearly twice the number blocking on desktops. That’s 22 percent of the world’s 1.9 billion smartphone users (PageFair – Ad Blocking Goes Mobile).

Digital and mobile media aren’t going away but using them effectively is challenging. Find trusted professionals to make sure you get what you bargained for.

4. As customers and supporters are the life blood for any business or nonprofit, organizations will need to significantly increase their efforts to gain insight into their real world wants and needs. A recent McKinsey & Co. study of about 700 senior executives concluded that: 1) only 6 percent of companies felt they understood the needs of their customers extremely well; and, 2) seventy-two percent considered customer insight budgets inadequate.

There has been an explosion in the amount of customer data available, with new software programs mining all sorts purchase and opinion information, including social media. To be competitive, organizations will have to keep expanding their knowledge using this new information. It just doesn’t seem smart to even consider developing a targeted strategy or plan without knowing your customers, so make sure you have the skills to obtain and interpret the right information.

5. Developing and maintaining a positive customer experience will become the new king of marketing. Distrust of institutions appears to be rampant — products are recalled, passwords are stolen, on-line tweets have as much credibility as government agencies. Starting with employees, make sure they have the knowledge and tools to better serve the customer, create a positive experience, and champion repeat purchase and customer referrals.

Trust is the new black. All aspects of a brand’s life should convey trustworthiness, consistently delivered in a believable manner, at every touch point.

6. The acceptance and use of direct mail by millennials will continue to explode. Yes, millennials. And, yes, snail mail. This demographic is the most likely to open and read direct mail. In fact, 63% reported that they made a purchase based on a direct mail piece they opened within the last 3 months (Info Trend Study of direct marketing in the US).

Perhaps their inundation with spam, interruptive advertising and meaningless content leaves them tired of looking at screens and searching for a “new” medium. After all, it’s not about technology; it’s about effectiveness.

7. While media spending on the Internet will tie with television for the largest expenditures in 2017, more marketers will recognize that the majority of major media spending is still accounted for by traditional media (65%). Television spending will increase by 1 percent, out of home by 4 percent, as radio remains unchanged and only magazines and newspapers will show declines (by 5 and 9 percent,respectively). Additionally, the Marketing Services category will increase by 2.8 percent to $237 billion, as led by sales promotion, telemarketing, direct mail and event sponsorships. (Advertising Age)

It goes without saying that determining where to spend your marketing communications dollars is becoming more complex. The key to doing so successfully is understanding the difference between selecting the newest “efficient” tactical tool, and selecting the most “effective” one. This becomes increasingly important for small businesses, who can’t afford costly mistakes.

8. Considerably more time and smart thinking will be put into the development of marketing and marketing communications strategy, positioning and planning. A “Meaningful Brands” study by Havas in 2015 reported that most people wouldn’t care if three-quarters of all brands disappeared for good! Further, most brands haven’t updated their strategies to meet today’s Internet-enabled buyers. These buyers have access to vast amounts of information and have a plethora of purchasing options at their fingertips. It’s more vital than ever that in order to survive, you must continue to keep your brand meaningful to your constituents.

Both for profit and nonprofit brands must make it absolutely clear how they differ from competition, and make their value proposition completely believable at every opportunity. Once your plan is implemented, you must also know what’s working and measure everything.

Value Marketing And Marketing Communications Consultants

2017 brings a considerable number of unknowns and concerns facing your customers, prospects and even your employees. They clearly are more cautious about what to believe and who to trust in the year ahead. All organizations are faced with these issues and the dilemma of how to have a successful business in this climate.

Many small and midsized organizations are partnering with established and independent senior level consultants to help them with marketing and marketing communications budgets, and plans – evaluating, developing, refining and, if appropriate, implementing. If this is something you might consider, look for people with broad B2B, B2C and nonprofit experience across industries and brands. Seek out consultants who are media neutral and aren’t selling one particular discipline. And make sure they’re passionate about analyzing results and willing to “tell it like it us”, so candor will flourish.

Improving profitable sales and marketing communications ROI is a daunting task. Finding the right consultant to partner with you might take some looking, but as Yogi Berra said, “When you come to a fork in the road, take it.”

What is the Marketing Communications Mix?

A lot has been said about the marketing communications mix but what is it really? Should a business owner be aware of these things or does it just happen? As a responsible business owner, you must be aware of the different aspects of communicating your product to your market. There must be different strategies and styles that you have to use so that it makes your brand stand out more and more each day.

While some aspects of the mix may not be outright applicable to your brand but still it has some bearing in one way or the other. Although there are a lot of versions of the marketing mix here are a few of those parts of the mix : personal selling, sales promotion, public relations and publicity, direct marketing, trade fairs and exhibitions, advertising, sponsorship, packaging, merchandising, e-marketing and brands. But the general components of the mix can be divided into four – product, place, price and promotion.

These four general ideas of the marketing mix can touch all the bases regarding your brand. The Product aspect of this mix would cover all that has something to do your product – from the innovation to the differentiation of your brand. These points are important because this will dictate how different your product should be and what your product can do for the consumers that is why they should patronize you.

Price is another part of the mix that will play a very important role. How much will the consumer pay for your product? Factor in the different values like material costs, competition, your share in the market and even how the consumer will put a value on your product. The law of supply and demand will also come into play – the more the supply, the lesser the price, the more the demand the higher the price.

The other P of the mix would be the Place. The place would guide you in planning your strategies in terms of the avenue where your product can be seen. This will answer the where questions. Where will you distribute your product? Are these distribution channels the place for your product to be? Where will you do your direct and indirect sales? E-commerce will also fall in the Place category of the marketing mix.

The last P would be Promotion. This is a very exciting playing field because you can go creative and imaginative in this part. All forms of advertisement will fall in this category. Even your online marketing strategies are a part of the Promotion part of the marketing mix. As this will be a broad playing field, it will be confusing especially if you do not have a plan of action. Here you will have to find ways of reaching your target market in the the places where they are seen frequently.

As you can see, it is a rather challenging mixture. But once you have gotten the hang of the marketing communications mix you can be sure that everything will just fall into place.

Internet Marketing Communication – How Communication Can Build You a 6 Figure Business Online Fast!

It is very simple to build a business online. With the economy in a slump more and more people are flocking into the home based business industry. It is one of the fastest growing industries in existence today. A little internet marketing communication can cement you in front of the traffic that this industry is bringing in and put you on a very fast track to financial independence.

Proper communication and building relationships are some of the greatest skills that you will need in order to have enormous amounts of success in this industry. The great thing is these skills can be learned and easily mastered.

By simply communicating valuable information and telling other people everything that you learn you brand yourself as a leader and mentor in this industry. It really is that simple. Every single time you learn something, you know more about that subject than somebody else. And to that other person you are a guru.

The great thing about this industry and about the internet is that EVERYTHING that you need to be successful, EVERYTHING that you need to learn and master can be found easily and learned quickly. Competition drives prices down, so you can literally build a large successful 6 figure business at dirt cheap prices.

For example, this article is going to stay up until the end of time. Countless people will read it, and it cost me NOTHING! Internet marketing is a truly rewarding information simply because of the principles it is based on. Your own personal development and your willingness to teach and guide others are the only things that you need to be successful. This is what makes internet marketing communication so powerful.

More and more millionaires are being made every single day in this industry. People are buying back their free time. They are spending time with family and friends, or on vacation, while people are buying their products, joining their companies, and just MAKING THEM RICH!

You show me a better way to invest my time, and I will be right there with you. The truth is, you are your greatest asset. You sell yourself first by giving valuable information to the people that need it. Once you have done this, those same people will want to work with you, and will be loyal to you until the end of time.

The key is to take immediate action. Read below and click the link for more information.