Three marketing challenges for the year ahead

We still have a lot of opportunities in front of us in 2016, writes Jonathan Wilson of Barnett & Turner, but you’ll only take advantage of them if you adopt the right approach to your marketing. With the economy still in difficulty and the age-old mantra of ‘the marketing budget being under pressure’, businesses need to make their spending work as hard as ever. It’s only possible to make that money go further if you’re prepared to revisit and challenge existing strategies and develop creative and cost-effective new ones. Here are three approaches to consider during the remainder of 2016:


Whether your business is online or offline, business-to-business or business-to-consumer, you want to ensure your customers have a smooth journey to their purchase. Unfortunately, research suggests that 50% of the time, this isn’t the case. You want to move from being a supplier to a partner and, in that way, secure repeat orders and recommendations. Ultimately, you hope your customers may choose to use one of the social media megaphones to share their experience.

It’s a question of identifying your advocates and marketing through them. Find the influencers, with whom you have built relationships, to endorse and bring out the key benefits of your business or products. You’re looking effectively for credible customer testimonials.

CUSTOMER-CENTRIC MARKETING Remember, your core brand values should always be delivered. You can make any promises, but it is the customer who experiences the reality. A mismatch between the two can spell the end of that relationship. And technological change can exacerbate any negativity through the way in which experiences are shared instantly.

Develop a customer-centric marketing approach, in which individual customers are at the centre of your marketing design and delivery. Your audience is becoming more and more sophisticated, which means you need to move on from ‘one size fits all’ approach. Instead of old-style marketing campaigns which bombard your customers with emails and offers, why not tailor your messages and promotions to different segments through different channels? The ultimate aim is to nurture one-to-one customer relationships, but results may not be achieved overnight.


Keep up with trends; the pace of change in marketing tools and technology is very fast often presenting quite a challenge for small business owners.

The fundamentals of marketing haven’t changed at all, in that you still need to understand your target audience, their needs and the problems they have to solve. You also need to understand what it is that makes your company different and why a customer should do business with you, finding a compelling message to drive people to action.

It’s the ways of delivering that message which have changed at a staggering pace. Ensure that you are aware of new ways to reach audiences and only use them if they are truly relevant to your business. Some Chambers run E-business Club events which are well worth looking into if you wish to learn more about the latest marketing technological tools.

Consider User Generated Content (UGC), for example – where people are creating and sharing material on your behalf via social media. This is especially important for the ‘millennial’ generation, which mostly communicates via a smartphone.

Look for ways to encourage people to act as your brand ambassadors and get them to carry the marketing message using various social media channels. Peer recommendation is increasingly important to consumers in the digital world.

But do be careful and think it through. Modern marketing is truly dynamic, accessible and direct, but can be damaging if it is not carefully considered and planned.

If you would like to discuss anything related to this article please do not hesitate to call Barnett & Turner on 01623 659659 or email Jonathan at