Fueling Your Small Business Fire
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Fueling Your Small Business Fire

According to Forbes, on average during 2015 businesses with less than $5 million in annual revenue experienced 7.8% annual sales growth. Is your small business feeling that growth? Odds are if you are a small business retailer, the answer is not so much.

There are a number of strategies small retailers can employ to stoke online sales growth. Here are few ideas to get you going. Try them out and see which of these best help you to reach your ideal customer.
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Hierarchy of Needs + Consumer Experiences = Marketing Success
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Hierarchy of Needs + Consumer Experiences = Marketing Success

There are so many different words we can use to describe marketing in today’s business climate – collective, cooperative, collaborative, connected, social, relational, digital, immediate, on-demand, integrated, flexible, pull, measurable, inbound, visual, discussion-based, creative, transparent, organic, relevant, personal, humanized, credible, sophisticated, entertaining, influential, interactive… I’m sure you can think of at least 20 more.

I think there is one particular term that marketers need to pay special attention to: EXPERIENCE. And I’m not talking about the brand experience you may be thinking about, which I have addressed before that is focused on how the consumer experiences the brand across channels. I’m talking about the experience a consumer has when engaging with what the brand has to offer.

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HEY! Are You Listening?
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HEY! Are You Listening?

It’s time to take social media monitoring to the next level (if you haven’t already) – it’s time to go beyond simple engagement metrics. It’s time to take on social listening.

Social listening is a massive and complicated undertaking, but it’s extremely important. Brands that are not monitoring what is being said in the social space about them and their products are missing out on huge opportunities – social listening and gauging social sentiment can help a marketer improve (or maintain) brand positioning and engage directly with actual or potential customers.

There are a number of tools in existence, some available for free and others for a fee, to assist organizations with social media listening. The platforms being monitored depend on the complexity of the tool, and usually how much you are paying for it. Many of them not only monitor social networks like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, LinkedIn, and Google+, but they also scan blogs and comments, Tumblr, forums, Q&A sites like Quora, bookmarking sites like Pinterest, Reddit, Snapchat, and other video and photo sharing sites. If set up properly, a brand can use these tools to not only monitor mentions of and sentiment related to their own brand across platforms, they can also measure social sentiment related to specific products, competitors, and industry-related key terms.

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The Privacy Problem
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The Privacy Problem

Privacy continues to be a concern for consumers, yet most consumers still seem to be willing to give up at least some privacy for the sake of convenience. In a recent study (see complete infographic below), 92% of U.S. internet users worry about their online privacy and, while only 31% say they understand how their personal information is used and shared, 75% feel that they are adequately protecting their online personal data. WHAT??

How can a consumer protect the privacy of their data when they don’t even understand what is happening with the data they share?

It also appears that the level of concern is beginning to plateau. In 2014, the same study indicated that consumers were 74% more concerned about online privacy than the last year. Now, only 45% are more worried – which indicates one of two things: Either consumers can’t get much more concerned that they already are, or consumers are becoming more comfortable with the state of their online privacy.

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Psychology Behind Marketing – The Culture Filter
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Psychology Behind Marketing – The Culture Filter

PRSA (Public Relations Society of America) defines public relations as “a strategic communication process that builds mutually beneficial relationships between organizations and their publics.” Marketing, as defined by the American Marketing Association, is “the activity, set of institutions, and processes for creating, communicating, delivering, and exchanging offerings that have value for customers, clients, partners, and society at large.”

As a MarCom professional, the goal on both fronts is to build a meaningful, valuable, and mutually-beneficial relationships. In order to do that, you need to gain a deep understanding about each audience with which you are trying to connect. You need to understand what each segment cares about, what motivates them, and what inhibits them. This relationship building, when done correctly, requires a reversion back to the very basics – communication that is rooted in trust and cooperation.

Recently I was perusing some psychology articles in my feed, and two disciplines jumped out at me: Anthropology and Sociology. They got my MarCom wheels turning…

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