Attention is a scarce resource. Consumers sift through hundreds of ads every day, forcing many small and midsize businesses to compete for the attention of their target customers. But it’s not just audiences who are overwhelmed; to reach these potential customers, entrepreneurs can choose from an exhausting menu of marketing products, often resulting in a patchwork solution that may not meet all of their needs. For business owners who are already wearing a lot of different hats, determining the right marketing strategy—and the tools with which to implement it—can be daunting.
“There are more than 7,000 different marketing-technology solutions on the market right now,” says Allison Sitzman, director of product marketing at Mailchimp. “For small business owners who are already short on time, it’s tough to keep up with all these tools and channels—especially if they’re not consolidated.” Comprehensive platforms such as Mailchimp’s that weave together various operations, from email campaigns to customer profiling, are becoming increasingly attractive to entrepreneurs who need intuitive and effective tools that won’t break the bank. Here, Sitzman discusses why multiplatform marketing is the key to scaling as a business and how data is leading a marketing revolution.
BIG DATA COMES TO SMALL BUSINESSES
Large companies can afford to build teams dedicated to data analysis, but SMBs are often forced to make do with what they have, which can lead to a deficit of data. But with the rise of multichannel marketing platforms such as Mailchimp’s, small-business owners are increasingly able to unearth insights about their customers. “The amount of data available to marketers has exploded in recent years,” Sitzman says. “Gone are the days when it was enough to just bulk email your entire contact list. The most successful companies are creating complete, real-time views of their customers and building a rich picture of what’s working and what’s not.”
It’s that complete customer snapshot that unlocks growth, but for SMBs that have adopted ad-hoc marketing strategies using separate, siloed toolkits, it can be difficult to gain useful insights. All-in-one marketing platforms take the guesswork out of data analysis by putting customer details in one place and allowing SMBs to tailor their strategies down to the individual level. “Personalized experiences are no longer optional,” Sitzman says. “They’re expected.”
HAVE A DAY-ONE MARKETING PLAN
Entrepreneurs know that businesses aren’t launched in a day. The amount of preliminary work that goes into creating a successful venture can be staggering, and a comprehensive marketing plan often gets relegated to the back burner. “Many SMBs don’t think they need to worry about marketing until after they’re launched,” Sitzman says. “But our research has shown that businesses looking back on their pre-launch stages regret that. Everyone wishes they’d started marketing earlier.”
Part of that resistance is due to the daunting nature of developing a comprehensive strategy, but multichannel solutions can eliminate some of the stress. Instead of using separate tools to build digital ads, perform analytics, and create email templates, SMBs can streamline their approach and have a marketing strategy that is ready on launch day.
FIND A SOLUTION THAT SCALES
The right marketing strategy doesn’t only need to be smart, it must also evolve. Make-do approaches that attempt to piece together disparate elements of marketing can blunt any competitive edge a company may have—a risk SMBs can’t afford in a crowded marketplace. Multichannel platforms such as Mailchimp’s fuse insights with actions, providing SMBs with a solution that knocks down barriers to growth.