Biggest Marketing Challenges for Small Business Owners

We are experiencing a lot of changes in our daily life and same as at the marketplace also. Due to
changers of wants, expectations of the customers, the demands are increasingly for the better quality
and reliability in products and services; new products and services are dominating market more quickly.
The competition is getting intense and global rather than being in domestic; technology is upgrading
rapidly; and e-commerce and the Internet are having a significant impact on marketing practices.
In such a rapidly changing, environment makes difficult for business organizations to make sound
decisions, and facing various marketing challenges. Identified key challengers for Sri Lankan business are discussed here.

Changing Customer Life Cycle

Customer life cycle is a marketing framework which having the series of changes that move a customer through the several marketing activities. Since the complexity of the digital marketing has increased, mapping the customer journey is more difficult to the marketers, unless using the same technological platform to think about how a customer behaves in the cycle.

The life cycle should be used to the point, basically on need generation, engagement, evaluation of
alternatives, purchase, and delivery and after sales. Due to social media and digitalization, the customer behavior has changed and there's a need to re-evaluate the customer life cycle to better marketing performance.

Personalized Transactions.

Website personalization has been widely used within transactional e-commerce sectors like retail, travel and financial services for a long time now. Lower cost options have become available with different types of solutions.
There are many forms of web personalization varying from those integrated into content or commerce management systems, and those integrated into analytics solutions or standalone software as a Service.

Integrating with Marketing Automation

Marketing automation is the technology that helps companies to streamline processes, automate the
activities, and measure the effectiveness of marketing tasks and work flows smoothly by increasing
operational efficiency while enhancing profit maximization.
Personalization can also be applied across the automation process. Many companies don’t integrate all functions with marketing automation. Some of them argues that it is impossible to integrate all
functions with the automation. However, if you can integrate the all possible areas with marketing
automation software, it will increase the efficiency of the processes and reduce wastage while
increasing the profitability end of the year.
Email marketing is another fruitful area for the integration. Technique such as artificial intelligence and machine learning is applied more often. Machine learning offers opportunities to automate targeting as it does for web personalization. Since many businesses are not still ready with AI and Machine learning, the developments of fundamental triggered are required to start the automation.

Integrating Social Media to Communications

Increasing the usage of social media is significant, especially age groups between 18- 45 are addicted to social media Aps. Recent Research reveals that over 50% are using the face book from the total mobile users population. By integrating the social media to marketing communication plan, you can easily collect information from your target audience, which guides your strategy and tactics.
In the past, news always sent through e- mails, faxes, and makes a phone call to the client. However,
today, the social media readily and easily available, that process has been improved with sophisticated technology to deliver the messages.

Using Video

Video is also increasing in popularity fueled by the customers. As all now seeing first-hand, video has
emerged as the powerful medium, not only for peer-to- peer content sharing media, but also for brand-to-customer communications in both B2C and B2B markets.
Many marketers still think of digital video as viral content on YouTube, video ads on Facebook, and
landing pages videos that tells a brand’s story. But in recent years, we’ve seen the most successful
brands expanding their use of video throughout the entire customer life cycle to help them build better relationships with customers, educate and increase the retention, and improve customer satisfaction.
From creative campaign videos that match the customer requirements sharply and personalized product demos, video will start a starring role in all stages of the marketing, and sales funnel of the company.
I can say that YouTube was the second biggest search engine, but some research shows that it is now
more popular than Google Search based on the number of users in a given month.

Integrating Content Marketing

Most of the organizations are using content, including blogs, articles and e-newsletters, as a vital part of their marketing campaign. Providing informative, useful or entertaining content has proven to be a
highly effective way to educate a customer.
In content marketing, companies should not be limited for the blogs and website articles; info-graphic
marketing campaign with brands and give more visuals video showcasing creative ways to promote the products.
Video is just one type of content, albeit important. In previous polls about the technique that will give
the biggest uplift in future, content marketing has been popular, in the top one or two in the list.
Since, the businesses are getting serious about treating content as a strategic resource, developing a
customer engagement strategy using different media is critically important, and at a practical level,
developing content for different audiences using techniques like Personas and Content mapping.

Use Different Data Sources

Data analytics can work wonders. Highly data-driven organizations are at least three times more likely to report significant improvement in decision-making than other organizations. Instead, this data-driven marketing is focused on how many people are actually engaged, how many people bought the product and making decisions based on that information.
The Challenge is how to manage different data sources and integrates information for decision making.
For instance, different Facebook groups where need tools for integrating insights and different paid
media ad serving tools, which can give the best results if managed separately, for example, Facebook,
Twitter, LinkedIn ads and Google etc.

By Dr.Himendra Balalle
Head –Consultancy, National Institute of Business Management


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