Mobile websites … smartphone apps … iPad apps … text marketing … Facebook advertising … Facebook company pages … Twitter … StumbleUpon … Groupon … YouTube channels … blogs. There’s a plethora of marketing possibilities that were virtually non-existent 10 years ago. Just as many have come and gone within that time. It’s hard to tell what will last, and what will disappear. So how do you decide what to focus on, and what to ignore?
It’s a tough question, and one I wrestle with often. Personally, I tend to be an early noticer, but not an early adopter. I read widely and attend educational events that help me stay on top of trends, new technologies and emerging marketing techniques.
When new marketing opportunities arise, the details of how they’re executed tend to change rapidly as the kinks get ironed out. My strategy is to watch closely until the rate of change slows, then jump in. I walk a fine line, trying to avoid steep learning curves on things that may change radically or be obsolete within months … while getting ready to dive in as soon as long-term viability is evident, and procedures are somewhat standardized.
Perhaps a greater risk than hopping on a new marketing bandwagon too soon is ignoring it too long. The opportunity costs can be huge. If you’re focused solely on your catalog, website and email marketing to the exclusion of all else, you’re putting your business at long-term risk. Sure, you may get by just fine today, but the world changes faster with each passing year. If you want to continue to grow and thrive, develop at least passing familiarity with social media and mobile marketing issues, keep your eye on trends, and don’t be afraid to experiment when you see new marketing methods gaining traction.