Commentary

The New Age of Marketing

May 25, 2017

By Eduardo Landeros

A few years ago, marketing was being taught in colleges mainly as the understanding of product, promotion, place, and price, known as the four P’s. And yes, that is still the basis behind small and large marketing strategies in our market today but a lot has evolved since then.

Technology has revolutionized how we as consumers make purchasing decisions.

A few years ago it was very common for us to buy the weekend newspaper to get the weekend specials. Whether you were shopping for a new car, a microwave, furniture, or clothing, you wanted to see what the big stores had lined up for the weekend; and if it was a holiday weekend, even better.

But now a lot of that has changed. Most large newspapers are now promoting their content online more than ever. Marketers need to follow where people spend most of their time. In my opinion, people spend most of their time on their computers, cell phones, television, and radio (though the latter two face special marketing challenges since the advent of online content distribution).

If you are interested in marketing your company online, there are a few things you can do. In my experience as a business owner, I’ve found these to be the most effective for a small business: Facebook Ads, Instagram Ads, search engine optimization (SEO), Google Ads, and targeted ads in local newspapers and magazines.

According to the New York Times, the average time a person in the United States spends on Facebook per day is nearly an hour. And that’s not counting Instagram or other applications. Facebook gives you the option to boost, or promote to a greater audience, your posting. You need to have a commercial account to boost content, but what I like about this option is that it allows you to select a very specific segment of the population.

For example, if a sport bar owner wants to promote an international soccer match, the owner can post something about the game on their Facebook commercial profile and then boost it and promote it to a specific group of individuals in a specific zip code or city with similar likes.

When you select a group of individuals, Facebook allows you to choose basic demographics like gender, age range, and location. However, and most importantly, Facebook allows you to choose a targeted lifestyle. If someone in their database has liked Cristiano Ronaldo, UEFA, or Real Madrid, for example, you can promote specifically to them. It is very similar with Instagram.

SEO tends to be a little bit more complicated and sometimes you need to hire an SEO specialist to help you. But SEO specialists design your website with specific codes and keywords to match what people are searching for online.

For example, if your company offers catering services, and someone is looking for a caterer using Google, the strategy is for your company to appear on the first page of a Google search if a potential customer types in “caterers in San Diego” or similar keywords.

It sounds easy but it’s more complicated than that. There are literally hundreds, if not thousands, of companies competing for the same position. So a good SEO specialist is recommended to help you maintain the website on an ongoing basis. It’s not cheap and it’s not a one-time thing. But if you are able to be part of that first search page, you are gold.

Google Ads is another way of reaching the top of search results without SEO. Through Google Ads you provide keywords to Google and whenever someone is using those keywords to search for something, your company will pop up as an ad, improving your probabilities of reaching your target audience.

Large and more sophisticated companies are using data analytics to use all of our online searches to promote their companies. How many times have we looked for something online, and then a few hours afterwards we see an ad for the same product or a similar one in a totally different page?

But many small businesses out there do not have large marketing budgets to hire data experts so it’s best to stay with low budget options like Facebook and Google Ads. Local newspapers are also a good way to promote your business. Advertising in local newspapers is not as expensive as advertising in large newspapers. Plus, these periodicals are often distributed in specific target markets too.

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