Most simply, it is identifying who your custoemer is. Where you can connect with them, and how to engage in a conversation.
Even a decade ago, for many small businesses simply putting an ad in the Yellow Pages was enough (yes, remember those?) Those days are long gone.
The media landscape is much more fragmented and there are exponentially more avenues to promote a business and it can be a confusing maze for busy business owners and managers.
Business owners are barraged on a daily basis with offers from SEO experts, social media managers, digital strategists, Google places optimization, Adwords specialists, and more. This is in addition to ad sales, directory listings, local sponsor requiests, and so on.
"What social media sites should my business be on?"
"I have 5,000 fans on Facebook, why is no one seeing my updates?"
"Why isn't my site showing up when I type (insert keyword here) in Google?"
"What the heck is Google Plus and why do I even care?"
Marketing Has Changed
All of these options are possibilities, it doesn't mean they are all good ones for your business.
SEO (search engine optimization) is important, but throwing money at ranking for particular keywords is a waste if the web site doesn't convert. Worse yet is spending money and time to rank for keywords that attract customers that aren't your best buyers.
Having a ton of Facebook fans may be a big ego boost, but if those fans never end up on your site or in your store, or worse never see your updates, what is the point?
Creating Customer Conversations
Rather than focusing on the activities themselves, the focus should be on the connection with the customer . . . creating customer conversations.
What communications vehicles should be used? How often and when?
The answer to that question is different for every business and is determined by who they are, what they do, how they do it, and what the budget is.
Do we do social media marketing? Yes.
Do we do search engine optimization? Yes.
Do we offer publicity and promotion services? Yes we do.
But part of our strategic consulting is looking at where your marketing is currently at, where you would like it to be, identify the priorities based on the budget, and then begin creating those customer conversations.
It is an ongoing process and regardless of the channel, the message should be the same.
Every marketing effort should be part of one cohesive message with the goal of building and strengthening the customer relationship.