Digital Marketing Strategies in the Field:

Digital marketing is fast becoming an essential facet of promoting a small business. No digital marketing means alienating thousands of potential customers particular to an industry. Many entrepreneurs learn this harsh lesson through experience because of the passion they have for their business and wanting it to succeed. Outside of that many considerations and circumstances prove to be the nudging moment to develop a digital marketing strategy, because it is after all, 2014, and more people read their news off a screen than ever.

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Some entrepreneurs recognize the issue quite quickly as business picks up quickly after an initial go with digital marketing. Ann Sinclair, Founder of The Fig Tree in Chicago, an eclectic gift boutique spoke about how if she could turn back time she would “have created and launched her website sooner.” Her strategy is mainly focused on Facebook and Fig Tree’s website and it is working well so far. In many instances, small businesses are branching out and outsourcing their marketing strategy with promising results.


Sinclair suggests “finding a mentor who has been there and done that,” and that mentor, or advisor would probably suggest developing an in depth marketing process.

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Another entrepreneur whose embraced a cohesive and extensive marketing strategy is Denise Maple of VaVa Vroom, a designer with her own store that designs custom clothing for female motorcyclists. Her opinion on digital marketing is grand, she said “ digital marketing makes you global, and it’s essential, efficient and complicated. It provides pure exposure.” Her strategy is one of proactivity and embrace and it clearly shows on all the outlets VaVa Vroom is on.


Then there is the evolving nature of established family small businesses. In the community the businesses are well known but expansion of sales to literally the entire world, a need for an online strategy is imperative. Marty Petlicki of Northwestern Cutlery, a family owned business for years, has a brick and mortar store in Chicago. His website sells their products but brings into question the family nature of the business if an extensive digital marketing campaign is launched. Perhaps it does, perhaps it doesn’t, but these and decisions are central to increasing sales in regards to a digital marketing strategy.


Brian Enright, Partner at Chicago’s 3C: Compensation Consulting Consortium spoke about the role of referrals in digital marketing as well as how content “in a digital age can yield lots of information, some good, some bad and some a bit sketchy.” Overall he stressed that responsiveness is an essential discipline one should have not just in digital marketing but in entrepreneurship as a whole.

There are other routes entrepreneurs can take in their digital marketing strategy. Facebook is clearly one of the champions but for those who do not do sales online other approaches need to be taken in regards to digital marketing. Michael Carmichael, Founder of Cycle Bike Shop Inc in Chicago uses a method of direct mail for his marketing and receives repeat business that way. Newer options exists as well such as targeted email marketing solutions that may even grow a responsive customer base.


Morlen Sinoway of Morlen Sinoway Atelier in Chicago has worked on a long term digital marketing strategy which has a main goal to be “working on a client base,” and drive intention. Her motto is not to design for the masses but design for the individual, and her marketing strategy represents this ideal.



*Correction: An earlier version of this article had Marty Petlicki as 'Mary,' Marty is indeed a man, with excellent cutlery.

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