Online Marketing, what if they don’t buy in?

Consequences for Small Business Owners and Employees

We are still in transition, though well established, from traditional marketing medias to online digital medias. Yet for small business the transition to online marketing has a few major hurdles and some murky consequences for not clearing them. I am going to talk about them briefly here for those of you who may be on the fence, or afraid to jump in.


The Owner Needs to Believe

I do online marketing for several small businesses, what I do takes several shapes but it runs the gamut from video creation to SEO architecture. The one thing I do not do is offer my services directly to anyone, I never have. I write this blog, and allow my current customers to tell others what I do. My sales calls are from new customers to me, that’s it.

The reason is simple: I want the owners who believe in online marketing, and know they need help doing it.

That is the first hurdle that any business needs to clear in this transition, the owner believing in it. Without that, company resources will not be put behind any online effort, and it will appear unprofessional and a lot less likely to be sustained long enough to succeed.

So What if the Owner Doesn’t Believe?

The consequences will be that they will lose forward-looking employees to more modern companies, they will miss out on an ever-increasing online marketing opportunity, and they will likely be marginalized in their market place. Think of a car company that ignores the price of gas and growing environmental concerns and continues to pump out V8 gas guzzlers. Sometimes things beyond your control are key factors that you need to react to in order to shape your business. This transition to online marketing is driven by the consumer, and must be paid attention to.

The Second Hurdle is Collective

Now the first hurdle is actually easier to clear. The second means a social, collective, and norm breaking decision has to be made. A group of employees who have done things one way for a long time have to face the music and retrain their brains to follow the lead of the owner. Online marketing is new, it requires new habits, and a willingness to adjust.

The Employees Need to Believe

What makes this hard is the engrained behaviors of their career, and the fact that the results follow the action, not vice versa. It is a leap of faith, and one that requires a consistent involvement, that is a lot to ask of a skeptical employee base.

What if the Sales Employees don’t Believe?

The consequences are two-headed, one for the employee and the other for the owner. As an employee it is important to look at the situation in this light, your actions will affect you and the company and your career may end up defined by it. Things are different, and they will continue to change, those stuck in their ways inevitably get left behind. This is a rule that has persisted through out business history and has only sped up with the rate of technological advancement.

Ignore it at your own peril. 

There will be peers who buy in, ride the wave to incrementally better results than those who don’t, and by then it will be too late. I hate to sound this way but it is the fact of the matter. Wait until a trend becomes a standard to change your tactics and you are too far behind.

This is not to say that all trends become standards, as I predicted Groupon’s demise and still believe it is ill-fated, but somethings are indisputable. Like how many people look online first to buy a home, a car, a computer, a phone, make reservations, research a orthodontist, etc. Online marketing, if you are not there, where are you?

Questions for You: 

What industry are you in? How is online marketing and sales affecting your business? What are you skeptical about and what are you feeling like you need to do?

Lets talk about it.