Digital marketing is really worth it.

Marketing, branding & digital solutions for small business. ted360

Digital marketing is a popular topic and that’s not likely to change as we enter the new year.

Still, there are some businesses that don’t think it’s worth the time and money, wrongly assuming that digital marketing is just a fad.

[source: AllBusiness] This contributes to the fact that 39 percent of American small businesses said they hadn’t executed any marketing initiatives for at least six months, according to a Capital One Spark Business survey.

Deciding whether or not digital marketing is worthwhile comes down to individual companies. However, the majority of small businesses that run the numbers and utilize successful methods discover that digital marketing is the key to greater customer retention and increased returns.

Pros and Cons of Digital Marketing for Small Businesses

If you want to determine if online marketing will benefit your company, you need to weigh both the pros and cons. Here are some of the advantages and disadvantages of digital marketing on a small scale:

Pros: Some of the most prominent advantages of digital marketing revolve around affordability and a quick return on investment. Not all aspects of digital marketing will be in a price range small businesses can afford, but social media marketing, blog content, in-house videos, and customer reviews are all highly affordable. More importantly, these are forms of digital marketing that small businesses can use with ease.

Digital marketing is also an effective way for consumers and businesses to learn more about each other. It’s a much closer connection than might occur with traditional marketing tactics because it allows the two parties to interact directly. According to research by myBuys, 72 percent of consumers connect with brands through an integrated marketing approach. It’s hard to make that many connections with just traditional marketing tactics.

Cons: Small companies often shy away from digital marketing because methods don’t always work. Digital marketing is highly subjective to customers and their habits, and businesses won’t always get strategies right the first time. Unfortunately, many firms choose to listen to stories of failure rather than stories of success.

In order to experience the full benefits of digital marketing, businesses of all sizes must go through a trial and error process in which they learn from their mistakes, change their tactics, and try again. Only then will marketing from a digital standpoint reveal its full benefits.

Start Digital Marketing Today

If you’re a small business owner who isn’t yet using digital marketing, now is the perfect time to start. There are many tactics that can make digital marketing a more prominent, useful part of your strategy. Here are a few ideas:

Form a team or hire a third party marketer. If you don’t have the manpower, the latter is a better option. Your team will need multiple strengths that vary in specialization, from advertising to social media. You’ll also need to assign a healthy budget and instruct your people to use it wisely–but avoid discouragement if they make mistakes at first.

Focus on social channels. This is by far the cheapest form of marketing, since you can join most social networks for free. It’s also the best place to directly engage your customers.

Be willing to constantly improve. As mentioned, much of digital marketing is trial and error. When you make a mistake, you must be ready to change your strategy accordingly. This kind of mindset will help you achieve impressive returns on investments and a successful marketing strategy in the future.

Don’t give up on digital marketing before you give it a valid try. It’s important for businesses of all sizes, and those that wish to stay competitive will make digital marketing more of a priority.

Technology is changing asset management.

Web design for financial services

In the old world of banking, savings and investment professionals viewed the world as two classes of people, wealthy clients and ordinary people.

The first category where offered wealth management services, and the latter where offered a savings account.

[source: Hernaes] However, banking customers were developing more sophisticated needs and the rise of self-service investment and trading platforms captured the attention of the mass affluent segment when they arrived in the mid- to late nineties. As a result, the securities industry reached a stagnation in growth and ultimately major consolidation of the brokerage industry.

Changes in the regulatory landscape also challenge status quo in the asset management industry through MifID II and Retail Distribution Review (RDR). Key takeaways from the UK market shows that the implementation of RDR has led to an advisory gap, leaving 5,5 million banking customer “underadvised”. This strongly favors self-service platforms, and players like Nutmeg has seem tremendous growth following the implementation of RDR in 2013.

With the rise of robo-advisors and intelligent automation, asset managers and financial advisors are potentially facing the same fate as the retail stock brokers. According to a survey conducted by the CFA Institute, the majority of respondents, which included more than 3,000 chartered financial analysts around the world, view asset management as the industry most at risk from disruption by automated investment tools.

Robo-advisory is a fraction of the market compared to overall assets under management, but the industry is preparing for a much more competitive future. That future is one of greater choice because “robo-advice represents the democratization of wealth management,” according to Dirk Klee, Chief Operating Officer at UBS Wealth Management. Too meet this development, UBS have developed their own robo-advisory service containing investment options that were previously only available to the distinguished few are offered wo a wide range of customers. UBS recently launched online wealth manager, SmartWealth, which lets people gain access to the Swiss bank’s investment expertise with as little as £15,000 to invest. The previous investment threshold was £2 million.

While incumbents are still addressing traditional clients, the demographics and user behavior of the typical customer is changing. Marketplace lending is not only a source of capital for SMEs and individuals, but offers an additional asset class for private investors that where once only available for wealthy clients as well as receiving a AA- rating from Fitch and Aa3 rating from Moody’s on the most senior notes on a securitization of parts of the loans portfolio earlier this year.

There is also a disconnect between the rising economic power of women and the fact that women are still a disproportionately small portion of the world’s savers and investors. The rise of everyday banking services that integrate savings as a part of daily spending behavior lowers the barrier to start saving money will also have a profound impact on future customer behavior. Their high frequency, tech-savvy approach demands and uses a variety of self-service channels and services, including personal finance management (PFM) tools and financial alerts. According to Javelin research, this demographic named ‘Moneyhawks’ are the most profitable customers banks don’t know they have.

Even though much of the change is focused on the front end, it will ultimately affect the whole value chain. Low interest rates and global trends are correlating increasingly with fund performance, and explains over half the average stock returns, favoring low cost ETFs over active asset managers. As active managers are struggling to outperform the market, Vanguard is lowering account fees to as little as 30 bps, compared to 100+ bps from a typical managed fund.

There is nowhere to hide in the changing landscape of financial services, and asset management is no exception. There will still be room for the human element in asset management, but technology will play an increasingly more important role. At the end of the day, the democratization of wealth management has the potential to make previously unavailable investment alternatives accessible to a much larger market.


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Tribute to Entrepreneurs

[Fuel your Brand. Marketing 360]

My Dad says entrepreneurs are responsible for everything around me. From the technology I use to the clothes I wear and the food I eat.

He says I should be grateful for the Entrepreneurs that have come before me, because starting something from nothing is extremely difficult. Many do it against all odds.

He says entrepreneurs are the courageous ones. The ones that never give up, never give in, never, never, never.

Starting something new takes heart. It takes believing without seeing. My Dad says that’s faith. He says every organization you see with ten people, or a hundred or a thousand, started with just one. One amazing idea. One brave soul. One perfect partnership. One humble beginning. One heroic mission. And because God inspired the one, the one inspired millions.

My Dad’s an entrepreneur. And someday I’m going to be an entrepreneur to. And so I pray…

Dear Lord, the battles I go through life, I ask for a chance that’s fair, a chance to equal my stride, a chance to do or dare. If I should win, let it be by the code, with faith and honor held high, if I should lose, let me stand by the road, and cheer as the winners go by. Day by day, get better and better, until I can’t be beat, won’t be beat. Day by day, get better and better, until I can’t be beat won’t be beat. Amen.


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Microsegments and Cognitive

Many digital startups deliver amazing customer experiences because they focus exclusively on a very specific market niche, unlike larger companies, which find advantage through scale. The problem for big companies is that these smaller startups rapidly expand out of their niche and win away more and more customers. Increasingly, executives are turning towards cognitive computing to analyze vast amounts of customer data in order to identify and serve micro-segments and prevent startups from gaining a strong foothold.

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