How Small Business Marketers Can Move Up the Digital Marketing Adoption Curve

Meet Barbara Bix. She hosts The Top Line blog, which helps B2B marketers, often start-ups, focus on ways to get new revenue. We met at FutureM where I was sharing ideas for enterprise marketers on the Future of Digital Strategy.  And from our discussions, she’s made a series of posts to connect these ideas to more entrepreneurial B2B marketers.

The most recent post features a sequence I use help companies plan their path up the digital marketing adoption ramp: Segmentation | Integration | Automation | Optimization.

These are phases firms go through as they develop more sophisticated and profitable digital marketing operations.  Her post elaborates this for small business, and shares my advice that even though this involves technology, climbing this curve is more about developing talent and process than acquiring tools.

Barbara broke out our discussion of the importance of goal tracking in web analytics as its own post.  Goals are really where strategy and operations meet. As much as I love to measure,  metrics only count if they are inside a strategy that connects them to business outcomes. So: strategy first, then measurement.

Then she shared one of my favorite tactics, structuring content so that visitors trip “digital signals” that tell you when they’re ready to buy or start a direct discussion with your firm. These are highly actionable “blocking and tackling” moves, and I hope her readers (and mine) can morph them to suit their own needs.

Please keep sharing the good ideas you come across. I welcome guest posts and am glad to relate your lessons, just as Barbara has so kindly done over on The Top Line.

4 Responses to "How Small Business Marketers Can Move Up the Digital Marketing Adoption Curve"

  • Matt

    December 14, 2010

    I just got off the phone with a potential new client. He’s struggling to keep up with his PPC campaign and all the other digital media marketing efforts he’s trying to embrace. There’s one issue.

    He’s trying to be the “Everyone” in his small business.

    I find that aside from adoption and the learning curve – there’s no *time* for these folks. Micro-business anyway.

    Maybe along with all the talent we offer in digital media we should be offering up organization and well-being consulting?

  • Dave Wieneke

    December 14, 2010

    Joe Kenney Sr. said all business is ultimately banking – in today’s time crunched world all interactive engagements are ultimately social work.

    Small business has no tolerance for the “more-on”/”moron” syndrome. And the tough choice of picking winners, and abandoning techniques that work but not well enough, is what make boot-strapping a start up a guts play.

  • Barbara Bix

    December 14, 2010

    Hi Matt,

    As a small business owner, myself, I “hear” your prospective client. Nevertheless, there are options.

    First and foremost, is he also trying to be “too many things to too many people”? If so, he may find that a lot drops off his plate if he narrows his target market and reduces the number of personas he’s trying to serve.

    Another alternative is to outsource some of the work, bringing in someone like you or me to provide focus and an extra set of hands to “get it all done”. Yes, and part of what that person often brings is a fresh perspective that may include “organization consulting” and help with priority-setting that ultimately contributes to a greater sense of well-being.

    Then, as Dave suggests it’s always key to pick the activities that will provide the greatest value. It is hard to keep all the balls in the air.

    So, suggest he start by removing some of the balls. As Dave offers, “Just say no” to some of the audiences or some of the strategies.

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