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What Can Big Businesses Learn from Little Business?

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Ten years ago, we would have laughed at the idea: TV ads being swapped out of marketing budgets for 25 character headline text ads on static Search Engine Pages (SERPS); billboards on their way to becoming obsolete in favour of matchbox-sized images we scroll past on our smartphones; and local businesses competing with global businesses for Share Of Voice?  

 

But here we are. Digital marketing is well on the road to reigning supreme. Companies are investing in this space more than ever. And while the big guys are tripping over themselves to spend more and more on digital marketing, perhaps in their rush to own the ‘digital airwaves’, they might want to sit back and learn some lessons from some of their smaller competitors out there.

 

A recent survey was carried out1 of 501 large businesses, with over 100 employees, to establish just how much they currently spend on digital marketing and how much more they plan to within the next year.  

 

The results? Nearly half – 41%, to be exact – of the businesses currently invest more than £380k in digital marketing per year. And this really doesn’t do the big guys’ spend justice. While the participants varied – from a wide mix of companies and positions – the majority (76%) shared one key view: that marketing has changed more in the past two years than it has in the past 50. And 99% of them plan to increase spend on at least one digital marketing channel within the next year.

 

‘While the participants varied . . . the majority shared one key view: that marketing has changed more in the past two years than it has in the past 50.’

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What’s important is that the survey sees two particular marketing strategies standing out: social media and web design. Over half (55%) of the businesses interviewed plan to optimise their websites, and nearly two thirds (64%) of them aim to invest both more time and money on social media marketing and email.

 

But enough with the all-too-commonly quoted stats.

 

‘Big businesses . . . might be missing something that smaller businesses intrinsically leverage when it comes to online marketing: human connection.’

 

Because here’s the thing: while big businesses scramble to throw money towards digital marketing, they might be missing something that smaller businesses intrinsically leverage when it comes to online marketing: human connection. And human connection lies at the heart of truly great social media. (At least it should if you’re planning on creating a genuine and sustainable connection through it.)

 

Because it’s what we’re all scrolling for. 

 

Let’s face it, no one is scrolling through their newsfeed, looking for chic, slick ads focussed on immediate sell that are devoid of humanness. Whilst the ever-improving targeting tools might make the opportune sale much more possible, nobody really wants to establish a relationship with a brand who is just after their money.

 

We want to give our money to businesses with people behind them. Businesses we can get to know. Business who understand us and demonstrate this in their purpose, their content and, of course, their products and sales techniques. Oftentimes, these can turn out to be SMEs. Local businesses that are recommended, liked, retweeted – the ones that make a connection with the individual and the group, and really connect with their audiences in a natural way.

 

But bigger businesses can tap into this humanness through digital marketing done right. 

 

Think about it, when a brand you follow shares an Instagram story of the story behind a product (story-ception, if you will), don’t you find yourself more taken by it? Do you find yourself remembering them more? And then, when an ad of theirs pops up, aren’t you slightly more engaged? Maybe you’re actually happy because you remember these guys and they’re real and, as a result, they’re cool.

 

So maybe you click on the ad. And maybe everyone’s goals are met!

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Digital marketing done right can help you deliver the singularly most important thing we’re all looking for when it comes to building your brand: genuine memorability. Or touchpoint marketing.

 

'We want to give our money to businesses with people behind them . . . The ones that make a connection with the individual and the group, and really connect with audiences in a natural way.'

 

Julian Reiter, our CEO, sums it up when he says: 'When it comes to creating engaging, long-term relationships with brands, digital marketing was always seen as second string to the likes of TV, Direct Mail and Experiential. But with the correct use of relevant content and the targeting that new tools and data management platforms now provide us, Digital Marketing can be transformational.

 

Small companies are great at putting the human touch into how they communicate. They make their digital experiences real, they post genuine events and experiences rather than big-budget hype, pomp and ceremony. Their customers share because they love. Big business needs to tap into this to make the most of their greater budgets, by creating real connections, not bought ones, because – as we all know – money can’t buy you love! 

 

With this in mind, it’s little wonder digital marketing is perfectly poised as our future. Because through digital marketing and the resources it offers, you can build brands – brands with humanness and longevity. Brands people can connect with. 

 

But you might not know how to do all of this.

 

The good news is, we’re pretty much experts in it.  

 

Give us a call and we’ll tell you more about it.

 

 

* The Manifest: How Businesses Invest in Digital Marketing in 2018