Implementing Big Brand Hybrid Marketing Techniques for Small Business
Hybrid marketing is generally associated with large-scale companies that have dedicated marketing departments or the budget to employ a specialist agency. But small businesses should not be dissuaded from utilising the techniques used by the big brands in their marketing campaigns, as they can also be adapted to increase consumer awareness, and engagement, with a company of any size.
Multi-million pound companies, for example major grocery chains, will regularly employ field marketing techniques in their stores. Common tactics include product sampling stands, overhead signs detailing special offers and aisle fins directing customers to deals but they also focus a lot of time and effort toward online marketing campaigns as well, promoting web-exclusive offers and services as well as providing high quality content, such as recipe suggestions and money-saving tips that web users can use and share.
Keeping with grocery stores as the example, a small, local store could easily integrate some of these marketing techniques into the working week. Offering free samples of new products to customers is a tried and tested technique for raising interest and sales, as are product demonstrations. Organising one-off events can be a great way to network and keep your business in the minds of consumers.
To build a digital presence that compliments these efforts, embracing social media is recommended. A business looking to drive customers to a store or showroom should utilise location-based platforms, such as FourSquare or Bing Local, to widen their potential customer base. By creating a page on these platforms, you increase the potential for both web and smartphone users to find your business if they are nearby or searching for the products or services you provide in your specific area.
Once your page is constructed, you can let users know about the in-store events you are planning, plus it makes rewarding loyal customers, those who attend product demonstrations and events, and any newcustomers your efforts draw with platform-specific offers amazingly simple. On FourSquare, users 'check-in' to venues and locations and can leave reviews and recommendations for others. To provide incentives for users, the platform allows you to assign vouchers for specific achievements, like "5% off your next bill when you check-in 7 days in a row", for example. The user who checks-in the most in a month can be awarded the title of 'Mayor' of yourestablishment, which, if the reward for this achievement is enticing enough, can dramatically increase footfall on a day-to-day basis, never mind your specially organised marketing events.
Of course, if your business does not sell products or services from a set location, you will have to approach your marketing campaigns differently. Many companies use simple email sign-up systems to add consumers to marketing lists, utilising that database of contact details to inform customers of any deals or offers they can claim, or to provide information on product changes and prices ranges. This technique is also easily adapted at small business level.
For example, a self-employed plumber could utilise social media to keep customers up-to-date on company developments by creating a Facebook page and asking loyal customers to 'like' it to receive updates. With mobile apps available, there is no need to possess any skill as a web developer, page administrators can simply login, create an update and share it with a page's 'fans'.
The wall-function of a Facebook page could also be used as a real-time gauge of customer satisfaction that you can actively promote to potential new customers. By including your social media handles on business cards and feedback forms either to hand over at the end of a job or when canvassing for new customers, and offering an incentive to those who enter their feedback online, you can build trust and authority in your field of expertise without adding much to your daily workload. Just make sure that you respond to any queries you receive in a prompt manner and you NEVER ignore negative comments; a swift yet professional response is always betterthan none at all.
Another marketing technique used by large companies is the QR (Quick Response) code, a square barcode that can be scanned with a smartphone. These codes are often used to direct users straight to special web pages aimed at promoting a new service or product, or even some useful content on the company website. If your small business has a budget for printed media, a QR code is a fantastic way to share more information than a print advert alone can provide. Pay for some advertising space in a local paper or a local residents' association newsletter and include your QR code with your copy, perhaps with an instruction to scan for more details or to access avoucher for an exclusive discount.
There are a host of QR-code generating tools online, although you may want to pay a trustworthy company to create a secure one for you. Next you need to attach a link to it, so that when it is scanned, your website homepage, the special events and offers page of your site, or your favoured social media profile is loaded. Using the custom link building tool with analytics, it is easy to set up a custom URL that is only accessible through the QR code so keeping track of the number of visitors you receive via scanning is simple.
The idea that you need a large marketing budget and a dedicated team in order to boost awareness of your business is now a fallacy, thanks to hybrid marketing. While a small company cannot achieve the level of publicity a national chain can, by thinking about the social platforms that are best suited to your industry and integrating them with traditional marketing techniques, your small business can see a great return for very little investment.
Has your business implemented any radical hybrid marketing strategies aimed at increasing footfall to your premises or driving more traffic to your website?
Maybe you have some tips you are itching to share? We'd love to hear about how it went, or is going.
Guest post Author:
This guest post was written by Jacqui Sheldon, Chief Commercial Officer for Cosine, a leading field marketing company based in Haddenham, Oxfordshire, who have several multinational brands in their client base. Follow Cosine on Twitter.
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Interesting. I think we have been using hybrid marketing on occasion ourselves, without realizing it!
Makes sense though. Working only with online marketing OR offline, without tying the two together, is simply less efficient & less effective.
Our small PR company has developed a working relationship with an online marketing firm to ensure that we are able to stay ahead of the game & offer our clients what they need. This decision was made after a couple of competitors started offering online & social as part of their PR campaigns.
I would imagine that in a few years time, if not sooner, any traditional PR company that doesn't have either in house capabilities, or working arrangements with trusted online partners, will start to loose tenders because of this.
I just wanted to see if you were currently interested in additional guest bloggers for your blog site.
I see that you've accepted some guest posters in the past - are there any specific guidelines you need me to follow while making submissions?
If you're open to submissions, whom would I need to send them to?
I'm eager to send some contributions to your blog and think that I can cover some interesting topics.
Thanks for your time,