Business and marketing trends for the coming year.
Get by with a little help from our friends
We haven’t got a crystal ball but we as marketers its part of our job to look at, investigate, think and discuss current and future trends. We are going to leave the media to spread the doom and gloom messages about how bad the economy is. And focus on what you can do as a business to operate this year and stay ahead of the competition.
Business conditions are tough and may get tougher this year. People will be careful how they spend their money. But they will spend money so what can you do to ensure that they spend it with you?
It seems so simple but customer service is key to successful business. So make sure that you offer great customer service and show that you care about your customers by communicating with them, offering a good product, and taking time to step into your customers shoes and think about how they would like to be treated. And treat complaints as an opportunity to make things right by communicating with the customer concerned and learn from the experience for the future.
People buy from people and the more people like you because of how you treat them the more they will buy from you.
Local is something to be proud of
For some time well before the current economy we have thought that consumers are getting fed up with the big brands and the fact that a big brand in Edinburgh is the same throughout the country. There is no individuality. Yet people want to feel like individuals and there is a growth in the desire to see local individual businesses which showcase the best of that particular area.
This gives local businesses a huge opportunity firstly to market to customers in their area and highlight their individuality and uniqueness but also to highlight this to people visiting an area.
This trend particularly applies to retail businesses and tourism businesses. But if you are running a professional service and business to business it also applies to you. Look at your specialism what makes you unique and how do you fit in with your local community and finally how does that add value to your local community? Then let your customers know.
We have said it before many times and we will say it again. Social Media is a key way to communicate with your existing customers and to raise awareness of your business to potential customers. One size does not fit all and we would need to discuss your individual requirements but here is a rough guide as to how to use the key Social Medium – Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter.
Facebook – Facebook works best if you have an existing customer database and can ask them to like you on your Facebook business page. This will then grow your base on Facebook as their friends will be asked to like you too. Facebook should be used to update your customers and potential customers with news, photos and even videos about your business.
LinkedIn – LinkedIn is the key business tool for business to business. You should make sure that your profile is on LinkedIn with full details equivalent to an on line CV. Make sure that you update this on a regular basis. And make sure that you use the recommendations tool and get people in your network to recommend you. Plus get involved with groups on LinkedIn such as business groups in your area and also in your business specialism. And finally encourage all your employees to do the same.
Twitter – Twitter is a great tool to raise awareness of your business to potential new customers and also to the media and other interested business bodies. You need though to be targeted on who you follow on Twitter and make sure who you follow is similar to who your customers and potential customers would follow. All social media tools are about communication and Twitter is no exception you need to not only add regular updates about your business but more importantly you need to be part of the twitter community that you create and converse with them.
With fuel bills rising and all of us watching our pennies the green agenda is again really important. Firstly it has the ability to save your business money and costs and affect your bottom line.
But your customers and potential customers also want to know that you are doing your bit for the environment and if they spend money with you they will be helping the environment too.
So communicate to your customers what you are doing to help make this planet a greener place.
Get by with a little help from your friends
This is perhaps our favourite trend for 2012 not least because we really agree with the old beetle song. No one is an island and neither are businesses.
We all have our networks which include friends, family, customers, and potential customers, ex colleagues, neighbours and businesses to name a few. We all know that word of mouth is the best way of getting business and that is what your networks are your word of mouth.
So make sure that they know what you are doing, what changes you have made to your business, what your plans are for the coming year and so forth by keeping in touch with them. In addition look at ways that you can work together and enhance each other’s business.
As we have said in this article people are interested in people so feature your network in your communications if appropriate. For example a professional business could send out a newsletter to their client base to let them know about one of their clients who had won a special award. Or a retailer could communicate feedback from a customer.
If you help others by communicating what they do they will help you too. Customers will appreciate that you work with others and are part of your local community and your network will appreciate it too so it’s a win win for all concerned.
We hope these trends will give you food for thought for the coming year. And if you would like to discuss in more detail how they affect your business or how you can take the opportunity to make the most of them. Please contact us on 01750 505052 or email firstname.lastname@example.org