An excellent example of this SMB (small and medium-size business) innovation can be seen in the beer industry. While a handful of alcohol-producing giants dominated the industry for nearly a century after the dark days of prohibition, recent years have seen a slew of startups set up micro-breweries that have dominated a niche market of specialty beer production. And the tale hasn’t been restricted to beer, either. Startups have become a significant contributor in nearly every sector of the market, from tech gear to hospitality and everything in between.
While this modern SMB trend has been largely fueled by the incredible capabilities of modern tech in nearly all aspects of business, it’s worth specifically considering what marketing growth hacks technology has provided. In what ways have small businesses utilized modern tech in the last decade in order to find paths to rapid growth in a crowded market?
Two Major Growth Hacks of the Past Decade
While the modern marketer’s toolkit is replete with tactics and strategies, two specific hacks that have dominated the last decade have been social media marketing and content marketing. Let’s break each of these down and consider why they’ve had such an impact on SMBs in the last few years.
Social Media Marketing
When you boil it down, the job of a marketer is to take a business’s products, promotions, and vision and communicate them to their consumer base. Whether you’re talking about something as lofty as brand awareness or as down to earth as pushing a Black Friday sale, you always need to find your people in order to communicate your marketing message.
In the past decade, the most popular place for literally anyone to congregate has been online — and more specifically — on social media platforms. By September of 2017, Instagram had accrued 800 million users. Less than a year later that number had grown to a billion. A quarter of a billion people use Pinterest every month. Facebook had 2.50 billion monthly active users in late 2019. In a world with less than 10 billion people on the planet, that’s about as good of a market place as it gets.
Companies that invest in social media open up a marketing channel that creates opportunities for conversational commerce, personalization of marketing messages, quality customer service, and brand awareness — often at breakneck growth rates.
Content has always mattered to some degree, but in the twenty-teens content became king, and not just for consumers, either. Even 91% of B2B marketers have come to lean on content as an integral part of their marketing strategy.
It was primarily during the last decade that respecting your customers and clients by providing quality content rather than shallow sales pitches became a key element to a good marketing strategy. Providing quality marketing content that actually speaks to customer pain points and helps resolve problems has a ton of different benefits including:
- Providing brand awareness
- Enhancing brand authority
- Increasing customer loyalty
- Encouraging customer engagement
Many marketers around the world have utilized this pair of growth hacks to launch their companies. They provide extremely affordable avenues to reach customers. In addition, they do so in a modern format that promotes active listening and quality communication on a level that was simply never possible with the radio, television, and billboard marketing avenues of the past.
What About the Future?
Of course, the natural question that follows is how these growth hacks will shape the future. Are they passing fads that will be replaced in a few years or are they here to stay?
As with most things in the ever-evolving marketing world, the answer is likely a little bit of both. For instance, while humans will always be social and quality content doesn’t go out of style, the way that these marketing tactics are implemented is certainly changing. Here are a few tips to keep in mind in order to help your brand respond to the rapid-fire shifts and changes:
- Use chatbots: This enables you to continually engage with an ever-growing audience in a manner that still provides personalized content.
- Use videos: First it was text, then images, now videos are the key to capturing a customer’s attention.
- Be mobile-friendly: Whether you’re a global business or geographically restricted, everything from content layout to site navigation, loading speed, and overall implementation of responsive design should be considered for the mobile-first, mobile-friendly audience of the 2020s.
- Choose the right social channels: Finally, with so many social media options, make sure to hone your strategy and focus your efforts on the channels that will truly reach your core marketing demographics.
If you can stay abreast of the latest evolutions taking place in the content and social media markets, you’ll be able to utilize these trends far into the future.
Responding to What Works
Projections are a tricky business. It’s easy to say “do this and you’ll find success.” It’s a lot harder to actually go out and find that success yourself. If you’re looking for genuine, sustained growth hack success over the next decade, it’s important to recognize what has worked in the past and then be willing to learn and adjust as you adapt it into your future marketing efforts.
Always track the results of your marketing campaigns, look for what works, and focus on those areas. If you can combine that attitude with cutting-edge growth hacks like these, you’ll be able to eventually find success, regardless of the specific channel through which it comes.