The Pros and Cons of Marketing Digitization for Small Businesses

Digital marketing has revolutionized the world of business, allowing companies to reach wider audiences than they ever thought possible. With the rise of the internet as one of the main forms of communication and commerce across the globe, the digitization of marketing on a massive scale was inevitable.


While massive corporations can easily run digital marketing campaigns thanks to their large organizations and access to huge amounts of funding, the story can be quite different for small businesses. Because of limited funds, a small team, and more potential pitfalls, small business owners should take a good look at the pros and cons of digital marketing so that they can make informed and intelligent decisions instead of jumping in feet first.


Digital Marketing Is the New Norm

A solid digital marketing strategy is practically ubiquitous in the business world today, and for good reason. Digitized marketing has the potential to deliver fast results, reach a huge audience, ingratiate businesses with their customers, and provide those businesses with the ability to quickly gauge customer response while making necessary adjustments. Additionally, compared to many traditional marketing methods, digital marketing can be cost-efficient and save a company a huge amount of money if implemented correctly.


High-quality content hosted on various social media platforms along with mobile-friendly and SEO optimized websites can make an immense amount of difference in the quality of traffic and overall sales that a business receives. Customers have come to expect a tailored marketing experience from businesses, and digital marketing makes creating unprecedented engagement in that regard a possibility. Additionally, digital marketing allows for almost unlimited creativity in how marketing campaigns are conducted using video, gamification, and other engaging and exciting methods that traditional marketing methods have a harder time providing.


Digital marketing can also influence and be influenced by user experience (UX) design. UX and marketing are becoming more intertwined as companies seek to provide more of an experience over a simple product, and a company’s brand image often dictates what both marketing campaigns and UX design will look like.


For example, enticing customers to engage in remote user testing as an extension of digital marketing efforts can help a company more skillfully form a cohesive brand image that is exemplified both in the products and services that they offer as well as the future marketing efforts they engage in. Even more, it allows customers to experience a product or service before it’s made public, allowing word-of-mouth marketing to take off simultaneously if they are impressed with what they see.


Difficulty and Risk

Despite the seemingly endless positive benefits of digitized marketing, it can also pose significant risks and difficulty, especially for a small business. While huge companies have access to skilled marketing teams that can efficiently manage all the different aspects of a digital marketing campaign, smaller businesses often lack the capital and training to mount even a successful social media marketing campaign.


The simple fact of the matter when it comes to digital marketing is that it can pose challenges to a small business that might be insurmountable. Digital marketing requires an extensive amount of time and expertise coming from the business implementing it in order to compete in what has become a saturated field. While digitized marketing efforts are less cost-intensive, it requires a knowledgeable team to lead the charge, and if a small business isn’t fortunate enough to hire individuals with experience in the field, training can be costly and time-consuming.


Additionally, digital marketing comes with some inherent risks. When collecting and using customer data for marketing purposes, businesses must be sure to comply with any and all laws regarding data protection and privacy. While data breach and cyber liability insurance can protect a small business from the worst effects of a data breach, if one does occur, it can have lasting effects on public perception of a business entity. For small businesses just starting to build up a customer base, the risk of tarnishing their reputation might be enough to turn them away from many aspects of digital marketing.


Aim for the Best of Both

For many small businesses, the option that makes the most sense is to get back to the basics and pursue more traditional marketing methods. Direct mail and creative billboards and signage throughout a targeted area are tried and true marketing methods, and while they might not be as technologically advanced as digital marketing methods, they still work effectively. However, hosting events and employing classic print marketing isn’t the only way that a smaller business can reach its audience.


Small businesses have an advantage over large companies in that their locality can be one of their major selling points to potential customers. Holding events like raffles that benefit local charities in which small businesses can educate locals on their products or services while simultaneously ingratiating themselves with the community can be far more effective than digital marketing alone. Ideally, small businesses can combine traditional marketing methods with some of the safer, less intricate methods of digital marketing such as posting to Facebook and sending out promotional emails while simultaneously implementing print advertising and even in-store signage.


In many cases, the money put into more traditional marketing methods can be made doubly effective as advertisements in video or audio format that can be used across different platforms. While the initial investment for an ad on television might seem high, small businesses can use that video content across social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Youtube to reach a wider audience. This also remains true for radio ads, as they can also be used to advertise on podcasts and music streaming services.


Though we live in the information age, digital marketing can be a bit of a quagmire for small businesses. While yes, it provides a huge number of benefits in building brand image and reaching new potential customers, it is also an extremely competitive field that carries security and financial risks. Ultimately, small businesses should decide for themselves if digitized marketing is the best option for them, or if traditional methods or even a combination of both is the best fit for them.