“Marketing is about spreading ideas, and spreading ideas is the single most important output of our civilization.” – Seth Godin
In the world of remote working and online commerce, never before has spreading ideas been more prevalent or easy to do. Last semester, in an entry-level entrepreneurship course I was teaching, one student came to me and shared that she wanted to start an online business. I love helping nascent entrepreneurs… this is my sweet spot, when the ideas are flowing and the purpose or intent of a business is still malleable. Watching the evolution of idea to launch based on the research, the market and ultimately the customer input is an exciting stage for everyone involved.
My response to the student had several components:
The third point is critical. The current time and space for online activity will be fleeting. By that, I mean, as it exists now, there are not many restrictions or government regulation or oversight when it comes to doing business online. As with any developing technology, this will likely change soon. In fact, we have seen a great deal in the last two-three years about how experts are concerned about the “attention economy” and the impact it is having on our emerging generations. There is also worry about the protection of consumer data and behaviors online, which currently allows for targeted promotions and marketing efforts, but who knows how that will become mitigated in the future. The gap between what is ethical and what is fair game in the name of capitalism continues to narrow.
The opportunity to create buzz and build an audience for you and your business is vast. Now the key is to do it well and to do it in a sustainable way. This is accomplished through diligent planning. Many businesses try to do everything all at the same time, but being effective and efficient takes effort and resources. It is important to learn about the different social media platforms, how they work and the audience they reach. Entrepreneurs must be realistic about how much time and talent is required to engage with existing and potential customers. Understanding the numbers and metrics available online is also critical.
Last May, in the midst of the pandemic when businesses were increasing their online presence more than ever, our team collaborated with the Kearney Area Chamber of Commerce and some area entrepreneurs to deliver two great webinars that dove deep into the world of marketing online and measuring success. Please feel free to reference these videos or share them with entrepreneurs you are working with. They are packed full of incredible “how-to” information and tips for being successful with your business online.
Social Media Management – Brand Identity and Engagement: https://youtu.be/AHX17ZpJOyI
Social Media Management – Making Metrics Meaningful: https://youtu.be/cRQsG-JJdNs
By Lisa Tschauner
Director of the Center for Entrepreneurship & Rural Development at University of Nebraska at Kearney