It's one of those strange conundrums - marketers in large companies envy the small company marketers freedom and lack of red tape, whilst the small company marketers envy their larger budgets.
SMEs’ size and entrepreneurial spirit means that they can certainly be more flexible and agile than their bigger counterparts, especially when it comes to marketing efforts. This means that they have the potential to be the ones to watch in the marketing arena.
Creativity is something that SMEs should be able to do really well – there is no corporate red tape holding them back. Yet getting your brand to this place takes a lot of strategic planning and effort. The majority of SMEs need to do the basics really well before heading into ‘creative’ territory - focus on what they are trying to achieve, and how they can get there.
Low cost marketing is critical for SMEs with limited budgets, so many are using cheaper tools like email marketing and social media. But it’s key to do the groundwork before diving straight in. Email marketing requires good databases; social media is a fantastic marketing tool but it needs content, a strategy and someone to manage it. This all takes time and effort which SMEs don’t always have. Likewise it’s vital to invest the time in measuring ROI in order to learn what is working well and not so well.
Marketing to business partners can be a weakness for many SMEs. As entrepreneurs, SME owners are great when it comes to technical expertise in their particular area, but in order to reach the market and succeed, many need to focus more on collaboration. You may be first to have an idea, or even to develop that idea, but without the right connections you may not be first to market.
Investing in outside marketing help is an obvious way of boosting marketing efforts. But because SME owners aren’t marketers by trade, this often doesn’t have the desired results because the expectations and relationships are not aligned.
So being able to brief an agency, manage them and get the best results is a critical skill and a knowledge gap well worth filling.