Small-Medium Business

Marketing – there’s no ‘off’ switch
By Adam Joseph AMAMI CPM

There are significant differences between marketing for blue-chip companies and marketing for small-to-medium enterprises (SMEs) that go well beyond smaller budgets. According to David Cervi, owner of marketing consultancy HyperSphere, there are eight pitfalls for small business when it comes to marketing.

  1. Don’t market themselves enough.
  2. Don’t think they can afford to hire specialist marketers.
  3. Have difficulty explaining clearly the products and services they sell.
  4. Are inconsistent in their communications.
  5. Cut corners with marketing and do things on the cheap.
  6. Don’t have a marketing communications strategy or plan.
  7. Give up quickly if marketing doesn’t immediately produce sales.
  8. Market at the wrong times.

For SMEs in the service sector, the ‘P’ for People in the marketing mix can create many a migraine. Talent has to be recruited, developed and retained and that is often a hard task even for big companies with large HR departments and talent specialists.

Mellissah Smith, CEO of small business marketing consultancy Marketing Eye, says: “Small businesses need to work out how they communicate their brands internally and externally to keep good staff and attract the calibre of people that will help their businesses grow. This is difficult and at times one of the biggest failures of small businesses who do not get it when it comes to getting their brands to live in their employees’ minds.”

One of the biggest issues SME marketing consultants face is that their small business owner clients too often confuse marketing with advertising. SME thinking tends to neglect things such as market research, brand positioning and strategic marketing planning in favour of going straight for the hammer in the marketing toolbox – traditional above-the-line advertising.

Small business owners need to think of marketing as a major driver of success rather than as an expensive luxury. As entrepreneur John McGrath, founder of McGrath Estate Agents, said in a recent ‘BRW’ magazine article: “You run the business; therefore you are the chief marketing officer. Every single thing you do in business is marketing.”

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