Tips for Marketing Innovation in an Old School, Traditional Industry

Marketing Innovation

What do companies like Uber, Netflix, and AirBnB have in common? Aside from being some of the most well-known companies in the world, they’re also major disruptors of traditional industries, such as taxi services, movie rentals, and hotels and motels.


Traditional industries have been around for a long time, but they tend to be set in their ways. This leaves them prime for disruption when the next shakeup comes around, whether it’s a social media trend or an emerging technology.


For many of these businesses, print ads, television commercials, billboards, and direct mail are the only approach to marketing. While these types of old-school marketing methods still deliver results, modern businesses need a wider range of marketing options to stay at the top.


Here are some tips for marketing innovation in an old school, traditional industry.


Start with Local SEO

If you’ve ever searched for a store or restaurant using “near me” keywords in Google, you’ve engaged in location marketing. Location marketing is an important part of the customer journey in a digital space, bringing them from a quick Google search to an in-person interaction with a local brand.


When you perform a search this way, you receive the top results in your area. You may consider the reviews and operating hours in the top results, but the reality is that you’re likely to pick the closest business to your current location.


For traditional businesses, location marketing is one of the easiest and most beneficial of the digital marketing methods. Optimizing location search is simple. All you have to do is fill in the business name, website URL, phone number, address, and operating hours on the Google My Business page.


While Google My Business appears at the top of the results, you can take advantage of other common sites like Foursquare and Yelp. Make sure all the information on these sites is correct to improve your local SEO.


You can make this process even easier with automated marketing tools. Location marketing automation uses a centralized hub that includes all your vital information, then communicates it to the appropriate platforms to ensure everything is identical and accurate across the board. This tool can also help you manage your reputation online by sending notifications about new reviews, giving you an opportunity to address reviews quickly with a positive spin.


Include the Internet of Things (IoT)

One of the hottest technology trends for modern business, IoT refers to the interconnectivity of devices with internet connections, such as your smartphone, appliances, or medical wearable device.


While consumers get a lot of value out of the information and convenience of IoT devices, it’s having a moment in the marketing world. Businesses can leverage the power of IoT to deliver compelling, targeted messages to the ideal customer at the ideal time, all on the device they prefer.


IoT also gathers data from customers, giving you valuable insights into purchasing behavior, online behavior, demographics, and more. When you have this information, you can improve the personalization and provide targeted messaging, ads, and recommendations that capture your audience’s attention.


Keep the Focus on the Customer

Customer-centric marketing is different than providing customer service. A customer-centric strategy is about providing a seamless, personalized experience across all brand touchpoints, whether that means a social media ad, an online store, or an in-person experience.


Traditional businesses may not be implementing data insights, but they still collect high volumes of customer data. That’s all you need to tailor the customer experience and provide maximum value and personalization to your customer.


For example, new customers at Gerber Labs would order printed circuit boards and ask questions about their assembly or whether to choose a 2-layer or 4-layer for their project. As a result, we created in-depth articles to address these topics and other frequently asked questions. Our approach was to offer as much information as possible to give value to our customers and help them with all their pain points, even if it wasn’t a direct sale.


Customer-centric experience isn’t identical in every industry, however. Ultimately, it’s about providing the same type of customer focus of an in-person location to the digital experience. You can implement marketing tools that help with providing a seamless experience, such as self-service chatbots, voice recognition software, SMS messaging, and customer relationship management platforms.  


Include Digital Marketing in the Traditional Marketing Strategy

Though online shopping has ramped up recently, many people enjoy shopping in brick-and-mortar locations. Because of this, many traditional businesses choose traditional marketing techniques and believe digital marketing is only for online businesses.


These businesses are missing out on a wealth of opportunities to connect with customers. With so much information online, modern consumers have gotten savvier and more discerning than ever. Most people search businesses online to check out the social media accounts, read reviews, and get an idea of the brand image. This isn’t just for retail, either – consumers will search everything from a local bank to an independent restaurant.


So, you have reviews online, even if you don’t put any effort into maintaining an online presence. Because of this, traditional industries need to include some digital marketing strategies in their marketing mix. Businesses can use social media and digital ads to reach a wider audience and direct traffic to the website, which may lead to an in-person visit to the physical store.


Get Active on Social Media

Traditional industries are slow to adopt social media, but that’s all the more reason to include it in your marketing mix now. You’re not only missing a massive market, but you’re missing a chance to gain an edge over the competition.


Social media may seem intimidating, but it doesn’t have to be. You can start with just a few platforms at a time, which depends on the audience. Choose the platforms that have most of your customers, which you can find out with your customer data.


Gaining traction on social media takes time, but the sooner you start, the sooner you can start building a following. You can promote your presence on social media with website links, email blasts, or physical brochures, flyers, and cards in your store. Over time, your following will grow as people find you and engage with your content.


Fortunately, social media is another method you can automate. Once you create your accounts, you can take advantage of tools like calendar management, ad campaign management, and content scheduling to maintain a consistent presence on your social media platforms.


Make the Move to Digital

Plenty of traditional businesses are pillars in the community, but that doesn’t mean they can’t benefit from a digital upgrade. Marketing innovation is shaking up all kinds of industries, and without it, traditional businesses are missing an incredible opportunity for growth and profits.


Author Bio:

Justin Ou is one of four Co-founders and Marketing Manager of Gerber Labs, an Orange County based engineering startup that is currently rolling out a platform that makes custom printed circuit boards (PCB’s) accessible to electrical engineering students, hobbyists and small businesses.



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