SMEs generally have a great story to tell. Strong subject matter expertise, growth from small entrepreneurs to well established businesses, brand stories with which customer connect like no other, strong customer relationships that have endured years of transactions, etc.
However, these are one on one relationships that are bringing in steady business. How does an SME scale? This is the greatest transition that SMEs struggle with.
Does an SME have aspirations? Are SMEs looking for a different trajectory in this day and age of opportunities that go beyond geographical limits? Does an SME need a brand? Does an SME require marketing? Does an SME need to tell its story? Does an SME need to be discovered more widely?
YES – to all questions I would assume.
Then what is the challenge? Here are a list of 3 things that SMEs generally go wrong with.
Content is king – ideas and knowledge needs to be translated into words and sentences. Most subject matter experts can’t tell a simple story around their subject. Their stories are complex and detailed.
Creating content that is of real value to potential customers with the underlying intention of motivating them to take a particular action – this is easier said than done.
- Content should tell your story to your customer – simply
- It should help you connect with a consistent message
- Content should create real value for your customers
- Content should motivate consumers to take a particular action
This is where having a content plan with clearly defined goals becomes necessary. And finding the most efficient channels to promote it for highest visibility among your audience.
A consistent focus on marketing
With many other seemingly urgent issues cropping up, marketing takes a back seat. Short term exigencies take priority as marketing yields results only in the medium to long term. However, for small businesses, finding the right consistency is extremely important. The amount of time you spend marketing each day is less important than the commitment to your visibility – make yourself visible consistently.
- Define your long and short term business and marketing goals
- Identify the resources required and what you can commit in order to achieve these goals
- Every day, determine the top three tasks that will get you closer to your goals, and execute them
- Repeat this marketing process and keep making progress toward your long term goals
Experienced marketing practitioner’s insights to avoid hit and miss situations
Marketing campaigns need to be fresh and new always. New creatives, new channels, new environments, new launches, new geographies… Some work and some don’t.
Marketing practitioners have dealt with such uncertainties on multiple occasions and understand the pitfalls of each channel. Disciplined marketing practitioners focus on understanding the audience, creating the right messages which can hold in the medium term and choose the channels which have a history of success with the said audience. They also understand the nuances of these channels and small hacks which make them work better for your audience and campaigns.
Most marketers will have their personal case studies built over time and across campaigns. What’s better than working with people who bring in some experience for your business even if the campaign, creative, channels, launches or geographies are the first time for you? This helps you reduce your uncertainties and protect your investments in marketing, while growing your business.
Like all specialised functions, marketing is a specialised function as well. Invest in marketing practitioners to develop your brand. If a full time CMO and full fledged marketing team is an overkill – consider marketing outsourcing.