The ability to spread the word about a product or service is an important, yet often overlooked, dimension to new entrepreneurship. And with each passing day, marketing is becoming less traditional and more of an exercise in savvy social media manipulation.
That is why use of the Internet was the subject of several sessions at a Feb. 3-4 entrepreneurship conference hosted by the Bryant University Collegiate Entrepreneurs’ Organization, said Sarah Rubel, organization vice president.
“We created four categories for the conference; new-venture creation, marketing, power of the Internet and financing,” explained Rubel. “Marketing and use of the Internet were subjects that speakers were very willing to talk about.”
Lily Himmelsbach, director of operations at Let’s Gift It in New York City, a social-gifting platform, understands the Internet’s evolving role, teaching sessions at the conference on “Marketing Your Venture: Business Development” and “Social Commerce and Advertising.”
“Now more than ever there’s been a shift toward the digital market, whether it be online or on an Apple device, and it’s a new frontier for everyone,” she said. “Twitter, Facebook and Google are being used now more than ever, and in new ways. Through these tools you can access new groups of people.”
A distinct advantage offered by the Internet is analytics, the instantaneous application of computer technology, operational research and statistics to solve problems in business and industry. If a product or service becomes popular online, even by accident, analytics can define the target audience.
“The analytics of today are much more improved than they have been in the past,” said Himmelsbach. “You know who is clicking on your website, what they’re reading and why they are there, and you know who is sharing what.”
“I think marketing today serves as an acquisition vehicle, which is really new, and through customer acquisition there is going to be an emergence of a social commerce,” Himmelsbach said.