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.

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.

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.

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!

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.

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.

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.

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

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.

Published on: Feb 1, 2008