Whether or not your business is suited to digital marketing depends very much on the nature of that business, where it is now, and where you want it to go in the future. If, for example, you’re a dairy farmer in rural Ireland, have a fixed contract to supply milk to the local co-operative, and have little, if any, scope or ambition to diversify and grow your business year-on-year, then digital marketing probably isn’t for you.
Likewise, if you’re a local butcher with an established client base in a thriving market town in the English Peak District, and simply want to maintain the status quo, then again you’ll probably do just fine without digital marketing. If, however, you’re a Peak District butcher looking to diversify your product offering, broaden the scope of your business and want to start selling your quality organic produce to restaurants and hotels around the country… well then, welcome to the world of digital marketing.
In truth, there are very few businesses today that can’t benefit from at least some degree of digital marketing – even if it is just providing a basic @first… Think! 23 online brochure telling people what you do, and sending out the occasional update to existing customers via an e-mail newsletter or RSS feed. Whether you are running a home-based ‘lifestyle’ business selling handembroidered cushion covers, are a small-scale artisan food producer, an up-and-coming restaurateur or managing a large multinational corporation, a growing proportion of your customer base is already online, with more joining them every day (see Figure 2.1).
Obviously, the more your target market comes to rely on these online channels for its information, research and purchasing needs, the more critical digital marketing will become to the ongoing success of your business.