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The Benefits of Modern Marketing

17 December 2012


Marketing and technology

These are the chosen words my father uses to describe his business styles. At 51 years old, he has built himself into a moderately successful business owner of a small Bed & Breakfast in America. Over its 30 year history, his business had been driven entirely by word of mouth, referrals, and repeat customers. A sociable old man who prides himself on longstanding customer relationships and owning a company that remains true to its old-fashioned roots, he had forever resisted “giving into useless technology ventures.’’ He himself did not invest in a company website to help with his business marketing until 2010, and only did so because of adamant insisting’s of friends and customers. His view on technology was that it made business impersonal, that it was an unnecessary and expensive venture, and, most importantly, it was daunting and confusing.

Needless to say, he didn’t have a Facebook or Twitter account. And it wasn’t until recently that I was able to talk him into evolving with the rest of the modernized world.

He, like many small businesses around the world, struggled during the recent economic recessions, and was driven close to declaring bankruptcy and closing down the B&B several times.

A recent graduate with a Business and Marketing degree and a child of the technological age, I sat down with my father to discuss the problems he was facing with his floundering business. Essentially, because of the depleting economies, the inflow of his usual customers dropped off significantly, as they could no longer afford his services during the tough times. In addition to this, he was losing business to local large name competitors and chain hotels. It was blatantly clear that his business needed to redefine itself and most importantly, needed to increase its market reach. While he consistently provided valuable and terrific service, very few people actually knew about his Bed & Breakfast. After all, he was not digital and could not be easily found online by potential customers.

After much debate he gave in to my advice, and together we developed a three step plan to increase his marketing position.


The three-step plan

  1. Improve Company Website – After looking at his cheaply made and poorly designed webpage, it was obvious that the company site needed revitalization. By investing in designers to modernize the website’s appeal, by adding a point-of-sale booking engine, and by making the site responsive to mobile devices, we were able to vastly improve his digital presence on the internet.
  2. Get involved with Social Media – This easily took the most convincing on my part. He found it hard to believe that customers care about day to day updates about his life, or the status of the Bed & Breakfast. He was wrong. He now interacts daily with customers, answers interested client questions, and utilizes Facebook and Twitter to display company vouchers and offerings. Over the holidays, he even bragged to me about how many likes his Facebook page had.
  3. Improve Digital Relevance – Having a website and using social media is all well and good, but if nobody can find your pages, then really, what is the point? I convinced him to pay for a knowledge consultant, who did things for the company such as offering advice and tips to improve Google Rank, and made the Bed & Breakfast infinitely more searchable online. Now if you type “Bed & Breakfast’’ and the name of the city it is located in, the company website is one of the top 5 suggested links provided by the search engine.

Going digital and re-thinking his marketing saved my father’s business. After just one year he has seen drastic increases in company profits, and this past year was the most successful of his entire career. This makes me wonder: How many businesses out there are suffering because they refuse to evolve?

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