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Top Three Marketing Trends for Your Small Business

May 2, 2023

By Lorri Rishar Jandron, MBA, originally published in SBAM’s Focus Magazine

Loose-fitted denim, trench coats and bold colors are in for 2023. Ditch your skinny jeans, camo and no-show socks as you embark on a promising new year.

Just as the fashion world sets its stndards, marketers across the globe are putting their efforts – and their clients’ money – into plenty of digital and nontraditional tactics. Couple these trends with a reality check on the market. Inflation, recession, and a seismic shift in business operations all will play critical roles for small business owners and their marketing initiatives.

Let’s take a look at emerging marketing strategies and how they relate to small businesses:

#1: The Metaverse & Artificial Intelligence

Just what is this somewhat nebulous phrase that’s making its way into our popular lexicon? Wired in its article “What is the Metaverse, Exactly?” helps us out by advising us to “Mentally replace the phrase… in a sentence with ‘cyberspace.’ Ninety percent of the time, the meaning won’t substantially change.”

In other words, it’s the experience customers have in an online environment. As they navigate a website, engage in social posts and shop, every virtual touchpoint becomes an opportunity to create a unique, vibrant experience.

Small businesses may feel as if they don’t have the wealth of resources to upgrade their online presence. To the extent of a General Motors or international gaming platforms, that’s absolutely true. But what smaller organizations can do is perfect the user experience on a specific platform. That single investment will generate metrics (and increase revenue) to build on for future expansion into additional virtual assets.

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is the Metaverse’s close cousin. Marketers, in fact, argue that it must be a part of every digital tactic. Through its algorithms, AI can inform a business of cus- tomers’ social engagement, the resulting actions and the adver- tising they show them…perfectly tailored to each.

#2: Video is King (and Queen)

The volume of content bombarding today’s marketplace is staggering. Not even the most avarice readers can keep up with minute-by-minute news, unescapable, multiplatform advertising and just plain old information.

Remember: a picture is worth a thousand words. And, a video clip holds even higher value for modern consumers. TikTok and Instagram Reels have exploded in popularity, and these social platforms are on most marketers’ radar for 2023.

The beauty for small business owners is there’s no need to break the bank to engage in this arena. A one-day shoot with a professional videographer (and SBAM has several among its membership) will start a library of video clips for use on one of these social platforms. Your smart phone also can get you started if funds are too tight to hire a pro.

Regardless of how a business captures these marketing assets, always keep them fresh and centered on clear, concise messages. Updated content bumps up engagement and talks directly to target audiences based on content.

#3: It’s All About the Experience

Thankfully, one marketing trend never goes out of style, and it’s amazingly affordable. Treating customers with kindness and gratitude can take on the Metaverse, and win, every time.

Yes, modern consumers live online and want those they purchase from to give them a great experience. That virtual, online encounter, however, must be based on a business’s genuine foundation of customer support and appreciation. A disconnect between the two will chase away new customers and alienate the loyal ones.

For small business owners, user experience – both virtual and traditional – warrants investment. For marketing success, businesses must meet their customers where they live and breathe.

Other trends to watch for in 2023 include influencers, employee advocacy, LinkedIn as a business-to-business strategy, and a renewed focus on business foundational assets (e.g., SEO, website, social and reputation). Small business owners can advance their marketing efforts by reviewing their current strate- gies and updating them to best reach their customers.

Business success is always in fashion. Here’s to a great 2023 for Michigan small business owners!

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