MJ Thornburg’s Take on SMB ‘Digital Brandformation’ (From NextWaveSMB)

Marketing Consultant MJ Thornburg

Local marketing strategist MJ Thornburg (YP, ATT, PacBell) is a top advisor for us, and has long been focused on an SMB’s “digital brandformation.” We featured her today on our sister NextWaveSMB blog, which is entirely focused on SMB marketing strategies.

To Thornburg, SMBs have really got to focus on using digital to creatie a bigger and better experience. “I may have a choice of dry cleaners,” she says. “One of them is ‘OK.’ The other one treats you differently; they have add-on services. They take care of your clothes better. They have social media campaigns and lots of content. They have a 360 degree aproach. They create an overall brand experience for their customer that extends across all of their business touchpoints. That’s how business needs to compete today.”

Many SMBs spend most of their marketing dollars on SEO packages and advertising. But in a “digital brandformation,” you want to go beyond the mechanics of SEO. “It’s a brand strategy that extends to messaging and content and consistent use of these components,” says Thornburg. “For example, what are the value statements or words that are associated with the brand that help people remember you?” she asks.

Ultimately, SMBs need to consciously design their brand strategy – ideally with the help of an objective advisor or agency. “You have got to build your experience,” says Thornburg.

“ A lot of people hear ‘brand’ and they think ‘tagline,’ ‘logo’ and identity,’” Thornburg says. “But it is really about building your experience from start to finish. It is all about differentiation. SMBs also need to prioritize their marketing efforts. “There is a lot of pressure to be everywhere,” says Thornburg. “But what are the three or four programs you can test and trial? Do you need online ads? Do you need a formal SEO campaign? Do you need a formal website? The answers are different for every business. ”

In some cases, a digital brandformation can save SMBs money. In today’s social media-driven environment, SMBs that can tackle SEO and show support from their community with reviews and social media will often be spending less on advertising. “If you are building and maintaining a brand strategy across all touchpoints, you don’t need to pay for every click or person coming through the door,” says Thornburg.

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