A recent survey conducted by Constant Contact polled 917 decision makers and reports that the primary concerns of running a small business have largely remained unchanged in five years.
The report also describes about increased usage of marketing tools and challenges around finding new customers and retaining them. For example, there is almost equal split between businesses who find it easier, same or harder to find new customers.
One would have expected that adoption of new tools around email marketing and social media marketing (SoMe) will actually bring down these concerns. Or at least make it easier to address these concerns. However, customers are increasingly paying less attention to marketing and the competition is always increasing. On a positive side, customers are actually spending more money despite higher expectations.
I see this report as a huge opportunity for anyone focusing on small businesses. The core concerns of doing a business will always remain the same – new customers, retain existing customers. The opportunity lies in finding ways to make it easier for these businesses to find new customers. What can you do as an online marketer to solve issues with customer paying lesser attention to marketing? Is it because the marketing efforts are not reaching the right audience? Is it because wrong tools are being used? How can you reduce time and money to do marketing? How can marketing for these business be done with a philosophy of “making hard things easy”?
You can find a better visualization of the report from MarketingProfs infographics.
Please share your thoughts and what challenges and opportunities you see as you go through the data.
How would such a report look like five years from now?
I recently came across The 2013 LinkedIn Marketing Guide. It is a well written article highlighting recent changes made to their platform for both professionals and companies.
My own experience, having worked on Social Media strategy for some time, is that LinkedIn is an excellent tool for brand exposure for companies. It provides excellent opportunities to promote your personal and business brand to communities and contacts. However, in the areas of customer engagement and driving traffic to your site it does a fair job, Facebook and Twitter are better channels.
My pet peeve with new LinkedIn experience is regarding skills & expertise section.
Once you are popped with an above dialog, just like a typical product install, the chances are that you will click the above button without much bother to edit or delete what you are endorsing. So for someone to later on see all your endorsements, it is really what LinkedIn thinks about you and not what your professional contacts think about you. For LinkedIn, it may work as a great search and find tool but in my opinion, erodes the value of skill and expertise section.
The following dialog presents another related issue.
And problem here is much worse. The choice offered around topmost core skill still needs refinement. Knowing all the four guys closely, I feel it is a wrong choice to offer. It is so easy to press “endorse all 4” button leading to bump in non-core skills.
Overall it is good to see LinkedIn improve their platform to play an important role in SoMe space. Much work is still left.