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The New Basics of Marketing

What you need to know about: websites, email, mobile phones, social networks, viral video, blogging.
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The world of marketing is radically different than it was only a few short years ago. From viral video to text-message campaigns and avatar sales reps, marketing tools that only recently seemed rare and futuristic are quickly becoming commonplace.

They're the New Basics.

Mainstream marketing was invented by big companies to convey simple messages to the masses. New marketing, in contrast, is about complexity and individuality. There are, for example, 100 million blogs worldwide. No matter how small the market for your products or services, one of those blogs probably serves it.

But though today's marketers have more choices in terms of the tools they use to reach customers, their jobs aren't getting any easier. With an explosion of new offerings, it's hard to know when and how best to spend your marketing dollars. In compiling this report, Inc. looked for developments that are new and creative but also effective and affordable--and, of course, well suited to nimble, entrepreneurial companies. Use them creatively, and you just might transform your business.

Part 1. Your Website: How to Jazz Up Your Site

By now, most companies have a website. But most companies probably aren't making the most of it. Indeed, according to a survey of Inc. readers, most companies--some 29 percent--update their sites very infrequently, on a quarterly basis if at all. Here are 7 questions to ask yourself.

Part 2. Your Website: Age-Old Problems; New Age Solutions

Techniques you can use to draw more people to your website, to turn web browsers into buyers, and to increase sales per customer on your website.

Part 3. Mobile Phones: A Pocketful of Marketing

There are 3.2 billion cellular connections worldwide, and with the iPhone's launch last year, the concept of browsing the Web from a mobile phone has gone mainstream. Marketers are abuzz about the trend.The future is calling. Pick up!

Part 4. Social Networks: Ready to Join the Party?

Beyond the simple fact that social networks offer advertisers access to tens of millions of potential customers, they present two clear opportunities for more effective campaigns. First, they promise the ability to target customers with precision. If you want to reach baseball-loving twentysomethings who live in Seattle and have a college education, you can find social network groups that fill the bill. Second, social networks encourage your customers to recommend your company to others.

Part 5. Social Networks: Up and Down the Social Register

If you're not ready to dive onto Facebook or MySpace, here are five other social networking sites that may be more to your liking.

Part 6. A Digital Makeover for the Modeling Business

Katie Ford brought John Caplan to Ford Models, her family's venerable New York agency, with one goal in mind: to vault the business onto the Web. Here's how they turned the company into a viral video superstar.

Part 7. Viral Video: Get Ready for Your Close-up

Three more examples of companies that have used viral video marketing to sell hotel rooms, diapers, and office furniture.

Part 8. Blogging: More Than Idle Chatter

The trick, say experts and longtime bloggers, is restraint. "For marketers, it's about being more authentic, which is so ironic," says Peter Kim, senior analyst at Forrester Research.

Last updated: Feb 1, 2008

LEIGH BUCHANAN | Staff Writer | Editor at Large, Inc. Magazine

Leigh Buchanan is an editor-at-large for Inc. magazine. A former editor at Harvard Business Review and founding editor of WebMaster magazine, she writes regular columns on leadership and workplace culture.




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