There are four types of approaches to marketing in SMEs:
1. Those who need marketing support now for the longer term who have decided to go ahead. If you are one of these then good on you! You’ve understood the role of marketing as part of your overall business offering and whether you have internal resource or not, have seen an opportunity to increase your presence both on and offline. You’ve recognised a need for better storytelling and customer nurturing whilst taking your employees and culture with you on the journey. Finding the right support for you can be tricky though as you need to work with someone you like and that your staff like too in order to get the results you have agreed on. The solution here for you may be to use an external consultant and get some insight into what your options are long and short term to enhance your current business offering.
2. Those who need marketing support in the future who aren’t quite ready to commit yet. If you are one of these it’s great that you’ve recognised the future need for your business, timing is everything though isn’t it and getting the right support at the right time is vital to your success. Too soon and other elements of the business won’t be ready, too late and your customers will already have turned themselves off from your offering. Timing is everything – you might be waiting for a light bulb moment to help you make that decision too but it’s good practice to try and work out why your drivers for change aren’t quite engaged. Is it financial? Is it internal resource? Is it your education of what you need? Is it the potential lack of tangible results that’s worrying you? Whatever it is, work it out and use it to drive your new strategy once you have filled in all of the gaps.
3. Those who have all of their marketing in progress by internal teams. You’ve got people in house managing everything for you and you feel it’s all under control. I’ve worked with some businesses like this who don’t have a marketing management structure and supported them for 3 months just overseeing the department, conducting skill set analysis’ and performance reviews to create some cohesion between the teams and get everything back on track in terms of the vision and wider goals for the business. It’s a brilliant thing to be part of, often, if you are M.D. or CEO marketing can be one of things you might feel most distant from.
4. Those who don’t understand where marketing fits into the bigger picture and consider it a ‘black art’. I have heard this a lot over the years and I find it interesting. It is most prevalent in organisations where they are providing and ‘end result’ or a product as everyone is so used to packing something up and shipping it out to a customer as opposed to offering a consultative approach or a service. There are so many ways you can prove benefit and profitability with your marketing today but to be truly effective and aligned with your overall business, there needs to be strong roots at the heart of your bigger picture strategy first. Reputation management and brand building are often perceived as the ‘fluff’ which people find hard to get their head round but once you’ve explained that you’ve perhaps never owned a Breitling watch but you know all about them, it starts slotting in to place.
Three things will make your marketing strategy fail if you don’t ensure they are understood:
Accountability of your people – who is expected to do what, when, why and how.
Communication to and from your people – who is expected to say and do what, when, why and how.
Attribution of your marketing – where are your customers coming from and is every department in the company completely on board with reporting back to feed the marketing KPIs?
If you’d like to discuss your options further, whatever stage you are at with your marketing – give me a call