Top 5 Crucial Marketing Tools and Services for 2012

Posted: December 19, 2011 by Elyse Royer

Approaching another new year, we are all planning how to make it even better than the last. Unfortunately for all of us, the state of the economy has still not taken a turn for the better. As financial uncertainty can be a major stressor, 2012 is shaping up to be another year businesses will need to rise to the challenge of doing more with less. Survival of the fittest tells us that marketing teams must constantly evolve by developing campaigns for budgets and timelines of all shapes and sizes. The importance of having a strategically planned, formalized, and integrated plan of action is monumental.

This being said, I present you with my Top 5 List for 2012 of marketing tools and services that will rise to the top by helping organizations achieve their goals while being budget- and user-friendly.

  1. Quick Response (QR) Codes – These codes are a simple mobile marketing technique that help track the influence of printed advertisements and direct mail pieces. For those readers unfamiliar with QR codes (seen at right), they are two-dimensional barcodes that can be scanned by smartphone cameras to load a predetermined URL, message, photo, video, etc. to a viewer’s mobile device. The QR code presents itself as the perfect means to tie the reach of your printed materials to results-based technology programs. Additionally, they are a great way to attract new and existing customers as they can be easily integrated with corporate branding and logo designs. What’s more, they can be customized to showcase your brand. If you’re already printing marketing materials, why not add a QR code for depth? Here are a few examples of how they can be creatively designed.
  2. Mobile Applications – Smartphone ownership has more than doubled in two years and is now nearly half (44%) of US mobile device ownership overall (Nielson’s Mobile Media Report). 2011’s rapid increase of smartphone and tablet users have made it imperative for organizations to ensure their websites are compatible with mobile devices in order to optimize compatibility and success. How many times have you viewed a website on your smartphone that was an absolute horror to navigate? Don’t be “that guy.” Website bounce rates will skyrocket if the sites aren’t kept current. By 2013, more people will use mobile phones than PCs to get online – don’t get caught with your pants (or mobile site) down.  Check out this article to learn more.
  3. Content Management System (CMS) – Keeping a stagnant website is one sure way to fall behind your competition. Developing a site with a CMS in the back-end is a cost-effective, user-friendly solution to the common problem of stagnancy.  CMSs allow computer users with even the most basic technological knowledge to maintain and update information on their customized websites.  While this solution may initially seem costly up front, this will save time and money in the long-run in terms of maintenance.
  4. Social Media Channel Integration – Absence on digital platforms can be a big mistake.  If your competition exists and you don’t, you’re falling behind in terms of relevance, perceived credibility, and the chance to capitalize on relationships with customers and their connections. Integrating and interlinking your website with these platforms that may contain interactive contests, special deals for fans only, persuasive customer reviews, etc. creates an unmatched opportunity to increase your customer-base and manage your image. Mashable recently posted a relevant infographic demonstrating Facebook and Twitter’s role in branding.  You may be surprised at the weight they each carry.
  5. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) – Google algorithms are constantly changing.  You may have updated your website a few years ago or even more recently, and it may be eye-catching or aesthetically pleasing, but increasing your search engine ranking is key.  What good is a pretty website if no one visits it?  Developing a solid SEO strategy will not only boost your rankings, but it will also help you hone in on relevant clients and get more worthwhile clicks. According to conversationmarketing.com, on average, clients working on both on- and off-site SEO saw over a 300% increase in website traffic rates over a 6 month period.

Be sure to invest wisely in the new year.  Make decisions that will generate valuable leads and foster strong relationships between you and customers that will bring value to your brand.  Get in the customer’s head – as a loyal customer, what would you want an organization to provide to you in order to get the most value out of giving them your business?



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