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What Small Businesses can Learn from Major Brands

by: Finella Kristle Panlilio

Friday, October 17, 2014 |

Act like small companies, marketing veteran and CEO Rob Schuham advises big brands.  Be nimble, be creative, be agile, he tells them, take a risk and act like a start-up. Big clients on his list have listened to Schumanís counsel and have launched some ground-breaking campaigns that are helpful not only for their fellow Fortune 100 companies, but to small businesses as well. Because big brands have scale, they can be a "beta test" for innovative marketing. Small companies can then find helpful data points and adapt some of those tactics for their own use.

A-list marketers have been launching experiential marketing programs that are accessible and engaging, blending digital and social media with live events without overly commercializing them. The campaigns are about storytelling and building communities, and a lot of start-ups take cues from that.

Mashable shares the best tactics start-ups should be mimicking from the big guys:

1. Bring your brand to life by giving consumers an experience.
Major brands invest in sponsorships and live events as part of their marketing mix. For an event or stunt to make a huge impression on social media, it should be well-executed and have a significant impact on consumers. Itís not just about the event, itís about the amplification. Small businesses can compete in experiential marketing by connecting with consumers emotionally and giving them an experience they would want to talk about and share with their networks. You could run contests focusing on your fansí creativity or offer other experiences aligned with what your business does.

2. Use real-time marketing.
Take part in pop culture and current events by linking your own messages with national events, competitions or news of the day. Participating in these conversations helps grow your exposure without having to pay for anything. This approach doesn't necessarily require a big investment, so thereís no reason for the small guys not to do it, too.

3. Create original, compelling content.
Just as major brands have done for several years, small businesses are now committed to creating their own content. Invest wisely and hire professional journalists for content marketing and for aggregating interesting and relevant content. Tell your customers what they need to know.

4. Use technology well and often.
Thanks to analytics tools that cost far less now than it did a few years ago, small companies are finding it easier to collect and analyze data. Small businesses now have access to easier and less expensive technology, which makes them more sophisticated in their marketing automation.

5. Build communities.
Build social communities around certain time periods using throwback campaigns. Doing so will draw in consumers who are not only passionate about that time period, but eager to be part of the community as well.

6. Replace clawing for ideas of the week with brand building and strategic brainstorming.
Be more intentional about what youíre doing and focus on strategy, demographic targets, differentiating yourself - take it from the big guys.

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