Written By: Brandon Schwartz of Boomajoom
2020 is behind us, but we can expect 2021 to be full of just as much change. There are three key trends that small business owners in the central valley need to pay attention to.
First, marketing is increasingly becoming transparent and traceable. There’s an old joke that half your marketing budget is wasted, but you don’t know which half. The last several years have begun to carve away at the truth behind the joke, and 2021 will likely accelerate the trend. As more and more marketing efforts become tied to the internet, small business owners have the opportunity to track which media are effective and which aren’t. Methods include dedicated call forwarding numbers, advanced analytics to track individual users across devices, and even tying actual transactions to marketing campaigns. 2021 will see tighter budgets with more emphasis on traceability.
Second, local businesses are reaching customers outside their immediate geography. In an era of shelter in place orders and social distancing, business owners are turning to the internet to sell. A tamale maker in Texas uses sophisticated online advertising programs to reach customers across the country. Because they have a commercial kitchen and have already passed health inspection, restaurants and food makers are in a prime position to sell nationwide with little barriers to entry. A shoe retailer local to the valley can likewise sell significant product on the East Coast. 2021 will see more local businesses taking their product nationwide.
Third, small businesses will expand their reliance on larger platforms to reach their audience. It is no longer enough to have a website. Business owners who sell product online are partnering with Amazon, eBay, Walmart, Google, Facebook, and others to increase their reach. It’s a love/hate relationship to be sure; Walmart and Amazon especially have placed a lot of competitive pressure on small businesses. Yet at the same time, small retailers can sell product to consumers through those websites. 2021 will see more businesses reluctantly partner with giants who have immediate reach to customers.
2020 has forced everyone’s hand; we have to think differently to survive. The traditional approaches don’t work. As Chamber members plan ahead, it will be very important to keep these trends in mind.