Whether you’re looking to enhance your marketing strategy for a new year, tweak it mid-year, or you’re new to the organization and asked to overhaul the marketing, what channels should be your focus? Well, it depends. On which customer journey stage is the strategy focused? Are you building your brand, trying to generate leads, acquire customers, or retain those loyal customers? The marketing channels – while possibly similar – may differ between the stages.

Salesforce’s State of Marketing Report presents the insights of nearly 7,000 marketing leaders across the globe. The research highlights the strategic priorities, challenges, and technologies that transform marketing. These insights can help you navigate your small business marketing. You not sure what to focus on? What are others doing? The Report tells you what 7,000 others are doing.

Marketers were asked to rank the most valuable channels by customer journey stage. There’s six of them: Brand Building, Lead Generation, Customer Acquisition, Upselling, Customer Retention, and Customer Advocacy.

We’ll focus on four: Brand Building, Lead Generation, Customer Acquisition, and Customer Retention. We’ll list the channels by journey stage, then comment on the channels.

Brand Building

• Website

• Influencer

• Social publishing / advertising

• Email

• Customer communities

Lead Generation

• Influencer

• Social publishing / advertising

• Website

• Email

• Search Engine Marketing (SEM)

Customer Acquisition

• Customer Communities

• Social publishing / advertising

• Influencer

• Website

• Email

Customer Retention

• Customer Communities

• Email

• Website

• Social publishing / advertising

• Mobile app

Websites – the front door for any brand – are valued across each stage, as are traffic drivers social media and email. No surprise at all. We’ve long maintained they are part of your marketing foundation.

Do you have a website? When is the last time you updated your website? Is it a glorified brochure or is it truly working for you?

Refresh your social media. If you need new ideas, we have 21 creative ideas here, and 21 more here. If you need to start again as it’s been dormant for a while, re-commit to posting at least three times a week. Follow a Monday-Wednesday-Friday, Tuesday-Thursday-Saturday schedule.

And email? We’re not talking about money transfers from rich uncles, PayPal changes, or Rolex watches. Instead, professional, branded messages sent to your customers. Marketers recognize the ROI – $44 for $1 – from email marketing. Set up your account with Constant Contact and then follow our Email Marketing Plan For The Year.

Our suggestion – especially for small business? Start with those three. Update your website (and your Facebook page is NOT a website.) Refresh your social media. And start your email marketing program. Then consider an influencer campaign (the popular coach saying they stop at your coffee shop every morning) and build customer communities (think Facebook Groups.) We break down SEM here and here; and share thoughts on apps here.

Need help with any of the above, we’re here for you. Contact us. We’ll buy the first cup of coffee. Need to chat with the coach about that play he ran in the third quarter last week anyways.