First things first: Happy New Year everyone. We’re better for having known you another year.
Now onto the subject: 2013.
Yes, 2013 … as in more challenges to conquer, more media to figure out, more uncertainty in the market, and a fiscal cliff or two thrown in for good measure.
Anyone who says 2013 will be a run-of-the-mill year is either fooling you or fooling themselves. Or just a plain fool.
One big challenge for local business will be to make sense of a media landscape growing exponentially in its complexity.
Local business can actually make life a little simpler — and more effective — by reversing 3 trends in 2013. These tactics will go a long way toward making the media mix work better … and cost less too!
Here are three New Year’s Resolutions for local businesses in any market. They look simple. But make no mistake, they are both time-tested and timely.
1. Less is more.Yes, you’ve heard this golden rule before. Good for you! Now apply it.
Local advertisers competing against online brands, big box behemoths, and other local retailers will be facing more competition in 2013 than they did in 2012. No surprise there.
So how do you win in an ultra-competitive, “commoditized” marketplace? You do it one step at a time. The temptation to “do some branding” (ugh) and be everything to everyone will fail miserably. Besides, everybody else is doing that — and not very well, either.
Be different. Use simple, value-centric messages that resonate with the consumer — messages that the competition is unable, unwilling, or even afraid to put out there. If you’re looking for a good example, check out the guys from UglyDeck.com. It’s simple, and it works.
2. Consolidate the spread!A disturbing trend exists in media planning today: Over-diversification.
This trend is not new or unique to your market. Over the past five years, the number of media that businesses include in their mix has literally doubled. No surprise that advertising effectiveness declines as more media is piled onto the mix. Whoever said “diversification is a good thing” was clearly wrong when it came to local business growth. If you’re hearing advice to diversify your mix, politely remove yourself from that conversation!
Advertisers need to buy fewer media, not more. This is not just good advice, it has proven successful for many years. It is never more true than it is right now, amidst the most confusing media market that businesses have ever encountered.
Try it. You’ll be pleasantly surprised.
3. Mobilize. Now.There is a lot of noise about mobile, but a disturbing deficit of real action.
Here’s what we all know: Mobile usage and effectiveness continues to grow faster than many had projected. True. Mobile marketing is still a wide-open landscape. True. Many local businesses still don’t have a mobile gameplan in place. True.
If for no other reason than to have a stronger foothold in the mobile search space, it is essential that locals have a mobile-friendly experience available somewhere. Mobile search engines (starting with Google, of course) will reward sites that are mobile-friendly in their organic search algorithms. In other words, the absence of (at the very least) a mobile-friendly page could be a costly mistake in 2013, and will be a real drag on lead-generation.
Here’s the best part: Mobile sites do NOT require hundreds of hours or thousands of dollars to implement. Most basic sites start in the $500 – $1500 range.
This is an easy decision.
Our intent here is not to oversimplify what will be another challenging yet opportunistic year for local business. However, when we consider a few foundational disciplines to build upon, it not only makes your world more manageable, it actually works better.
Here’s to more bang for your marketing dollar in 2013!
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Dave Eckstein is a Partner in the firm ESA & Company. He specializes in highly profitable market share growth for local businesses and gets a kick out of demonstrating a declining cost of customer acquisition. He plays baseball, but isn't that Dave Eckstein.REGISTER FOR ESA’s ROI2013 CONFERENCE TODAY!