Prioritizing Your Marketing in 2020

With the start of a new year (and a new decade), now is the perfect time for Charleston businesses to evaluate their marketing needs. Whether you’re a new or old business, you’ve probably already given thought to ways you want to market yourself. The options can likely be overwhelming, and it can be tough to decide where to put your dollars first.

Breaking down the marketing services available to you and understanding what applies best to your business is crucial. Should you prioritize your website design? Should you perfect your branding and logo before focusing on search engine optimization? The answers to these questions might just depend on the size of your business and who your audience is.

We can break down the options for expanding your audience into 3 key pillars. Advertising, agency solutions, and events cover all of your potential needs. Let’s start by analyzing advertising solutions.



In a time when digital spending clearly leads the charge, businesses tend to overlook the benefits of print advertising. 

Your business needs to identify how its brand fits into either of these ecosystems. Always consider who should see your message and how you want to impress upon them.

Are you making a new push for strong local recognition in 2020? Print is ideal for this because the reader knows that the publication is a window into local interest. While digital advertising can still be used to great effect on local audiences, print advertising is innately local because the publication itself already is local.

Print advertising is a great starting point for businesses that just need to get their name out there. It simplifies the advertising options down to when you want to appear and where in the publication you want to advertise. Options like front page messaging and insert ads are still available to consider, but the print method is generally the most straight forward approach.


Businesses who are ready to take a more targeted and aggressive approach to advertising should go digital. There’s more tactics to consider in this space, but the potential for reaching new audiences is great. 

Digital ads have the benefit of being adaptable to your audience’s browsing habits. Ad placement can be directly determined based on the context of the host page. Or delivery can be determined on the fly using location data and data driven insights.

When it comes to choosing the right digital strategy, not only does the choice depend on your business’ size or industry, but it also depends on what’s leading at the time. Digital marketing strategies evolve every year. New tactics can pop up at a staggering pace.

With 2019 coming to a close, we can look back at what dominated the digital marketing world last year and how that will impact 2020. 

2019 saw voice automated artificial intelligence (AI) rise to prominence. Families became comfortable with welcoming voice assistants into their home, and forward-thinking companies entered this market on the ground floor.

This trend will continue in 2020. In fact, voice search is expected to be a $40 billion channel in the next two years. will likely branch out from just voice assistants. AI can be utilized in a variety of ways to market products or services. 

When it comes to marketing, the core benefit of AI comes from its ability to learn about customers. Data powered by machine learning fuels things like audience targeting, web design, and branding decisions. A new year is a great time to gather up data and build a fresh approach to targeting your desired audience.

Agency Solutions

An effective marketing strategy includes a variety of marketing channels. These tactics should run together and build off of the data gathered from each other. Enlisting the help of an agency is the best way to begin firing on all marketing cylinders.

Traditional wisdom says that you should just hire a marketing person to do all of these tasks and keep the work in-house. While it can be nice to have that resource person existing in your office on a daily basis, this might not be the most cost effective plan.

Turning to an agency allows you more control over the amount you spend on marketing services during a given period of time. If you see progress coming from the money you spend on Search Engine Marketing in one month, you can put a greater amount into the next month. Or add on things like Content Marketing services or Social Media management, if you haven’t already.

Additionally, consider the fact that an in-house marketer would need access to specific programs and tools in order to effectively do their job. An agency already has these programs and the knowledge of how to get the most out of them. They’ll have dedicated team members for each marketing solution, rather than a single person or small team. Don’t rely on a jack of all trades, master of none.



It is important to know your end goal when participating in events to market yourself. Charleston is a hotbed for B2B, industry and recruiting events. Having a physical presence at things like these can help you achieve a number of growth objectives. Any level of brand exposure is good for small businesses.


This is easily the most common and most directly effective way of utilizing events. Audiences are familiar with this relationship and don’t think twice about it. This concept exists in all types of events, from live sports to trade shows.

Determining your right level of investment in event sponsorships is simple and always comes down to budget. Spend more, get your logo placed more prominently or announced more often.

Booth Presence

The level of sponsorship you pay for might also afford you a physical booth presence. Naturally, this is great for interacting with potential customers or clients. 

This is the place to build your database. You’ll want to have a way to take down people’s info, through something like a raffle or contest. Gather up as many business cards as you can.

Aside from making new connections, attending events or having a sponsorship presence is always useful for retaining existing customers. It can serve as a reminder that you’re the local business in their market. Data shows that the probability of selling to an existing customer is 60-70 percent, compared to a 5-20 percent chance of selling to a new prospect.

Being on the floor at industry or recruiting events is also ideal. This could be the place your next business partner or agency. It’s not always about staffing up. Events can help connect you with other local leaders and experts.

Make a plan for 2020

Not all of the above strategies are going to be right for your business right away. If you’re just finding your place in the local Charleston market, contact us to talk to an expert about where your money is best spent. Soon enough, you’ll see what does and doesn’t work for you and you can tackle your annual marketing plan with confidence.