It's a boggling year for marketing, isn't it? New social-media platforms seem to be springing up like mushrooms, mobile is exploding. . . it's hard to know where to focus your marketing time and dollars.
Everywhere I turn lately, I've come across tips for how to do innovative marketing this year. So I've collected a short list of my favorite tips.
Here are eight ideas for giving your marketing effort a boost:
1. Ask your customers how to reach out. When is the last time you got some data from your customers about how they'd like to interact with your brand? There's really no excuse when you can run instant polls on your Facebook page.
Related: How the White House Became a Social-Media Powerhouse
2. Triggered emails. Do you send customers an email that makes additional offers after they abandon a shopping cart on your website, or maybe an email that provides free information? If not, you're missing a great opportunity to keep your name in front of a customer who's close to buying.
3. Text marketing. Find out what customers want by texting them a question. Then, send them a coupon for a discount on that item. This one's particularly useful for those Gen-X and -Y customers, many of whom don't seem to use email anymore.
4. What your competition isn't doing. Analyze what marketing methods your competitors are using, and look for the holes. Be somewhere they're not -- maybe on Pinterest, or YouTube, or bus boards.
5. Don't just network -- host an event. Hosting an event is a powerful way to get known by a lot of people at once. Why? Everybody comes over to thank the host. Hold the event at your place of business if you have a physical store, so people learn where you are.
6. Referral rewards. This one's an oldie but goodie that's still around because it works. Let customers know you'll pay them $100 if they send you a customer, and turn your customers into your marketing team on the cheap.
7. Simplify. Remember that too many marketing messages confuse customers, especially as you spread them across various social-media channels. Try to pare down to three choices in all aspects of your marketing, from how many fonts you use to how many times you follow up.
Related: 10 Lessons in Brilliant Marketing
8. Make it musical. Does your company have a theme song? A musical jingle you could share? Use tools such as Spotify to share a musical message with prospects.
What's your new marketing twist for 2012? Leave a comment and let us know what new marketing strategy you're trying this year.