How SMEs Excel at Marketing

Have you ever sat and wondered why some SMEs grow at a faster rate than others, here are 9 reasons. Take our quiz as you read and see how you compare.

1. They plan

The saying goes, “Rome wasn’t built in a day.” You need time & patience to create great things. The same goes for successful marketing. It takes time and planning.

When it comes to planning, successful SMEs focus first on the "what" and then the "how". They start with the development of their marketing strategy, "the what,” before they progress to executing marketing activities, “the how.” Would you build a house with no thought about what it should look like at the end of construction and without any foundations and expect it to stand the test of time?

For those that are curious, so far it's taken approximately 1,009,491 days to build Rome. This is based on the traditional founding of the city (21 April 753 BC).

Do you have a marketing strategy? A) Yes B) No?

2. They allocate a marketing budget

A marketing budget is there to keep you on track when it comes to spending money, It is also there to enable you to track your return on investment. Marketing should be seen as an investment and not a cost. At the end of the day, you are spending money to make money.

Successful SMEs see just that, marketing as an investment, and because they have a marketing strategy in place, having set out their marketing tactics they are not likely to underspend and miss out on business opportunities.

SMEs that are looking to grow at a faster rate will have a larger budget than those looking to maintain their current levels of growth.

The recommendation for businesses that are 1 to 5 years old, is 12 to 20 per cent of gross revenue. For established businesses, have some market share/brand equity, the recommendation is between 6 and 12 per cent of gross revenue.

Do you allocate a yearly marketing budget A) Yes B) No?

3. They don’t just focus on brand image

They know their brand is there to build relationships with their potential and current customers so it encompasses a range of elements including things such as reliability, the speed of delivery, customer experience, product and service quality.

They take time to develop their messaging/voice of the brand. They are able to communicate what is important to their market and therefore are able to communicate it consistently and effectively across all forms of communication.

Not only that, all of their employees understand the brand and its values, so are able to deliver the essence of the brand at every customer touch point.

Do you have a Brand Guide and communicate it to all your employees? A) Yes B) No?

4. They conduct market research

Successful SMEs know they have competitors and know who they are. They regularly conduct market research to find out how they compare, how the market is changing and how they should look to prepare themselves for these changes so they don’t get left behind.

By conducting competitive research, even basic competitor research which is easy to do, successful SMEs can use this information to correctly position their product/service against the competition and aid with handling sales objections.

Have you conducted competitor research in the last year A) Yes B) No?

Sign-up to our Monthly Newsletter

Receive marketing hints and tips and latest industry news direct to your inbox once a month.

5. They have a Unique Buyer Proposition (UBP)

In the past focus has been on a unique selling proposition (USP), in other words, what makes their company different but in today's digital age, this no longer fits. The buyer journey has changed. Buyers have access to a host of materials and conduct their own research before they make moves towards purchase. At the beginning of this journey, they want to find out how your product/solution is going to solve their problems, save them time, save them money.

USP still has its place, though, and shouldn’t be discarded. Your USP comes into play when the buyer has already decided to make a purchase and you are up against a competitor who can offer the same or very similar product or service.

Do you have a UBP? A) Yes B) No?

6. Their marketing is consistent & continuous

Two of the biggest issue SMEs face is mixed messaging and one hit marketing activities. The messages you want to convey need to be clear, unambiguous and fit with your brand and value messaging across all media applications. Your messaging needs to clearly and accurately reflect the product and service you are offering.

Your marketing needs to be constant. SMEs that are growing understand that marketing, building their brand and building trust and relationships takes time. Marketing is not a short-term activity especially when it comes to business to business marketing. Spending money on one activity and doing nothing else is never going to achieve results.

Growing SMEs are conducting activities across a number of marketing mechanisms and understand that they need to be doing it long term in order to see the results of their investment.

Is your marketing consistent A) Yes B) No and is it continuous A) Yes B) No?

7. They don’t conduct marketing by committee

You’ve heard of the phrase “too many cooks spoil the broth”, well this is just the same for marketing. There are many issues with marketing by committee, it takes too long to make decisions, you can never please everyone and everyone has their own opinion. Those SMEs who don’t have a dedicated experienced marketer and manage marketing by committee find their marketing activities miss the mark. The biggest issue about marketing by committee is that marketing is not about what the committee likes it is about what is going to appeal to prospective customers.

Do you conduct marketing by committee A) Yes B) No?

8. They are constantly monitoring and tracking

It takes time to build momentum in marketing and see the fruits of your labour but how do you know that is going the right way when you are at the start of your marketing journey? Successful SMEs constantly monitor and track results. Tracking and analysing the results of all their marketing activities ensures they have the ability to make changes should something not work particularly well or shift budget to enable them to expand a well-performing campaign.

Do you monitor and track all your marketing activities A) Yes B) No?

9. They commit to a long-term marketing plan

Marketing isn't a short-term thing. Marketing needs to be constant and takes time to deliver. SMEs that develop and commit to a long-term marketing plan based on their marketing strategy are far more successful. Their marketing stays on track, building momentum and building trust within their market. They also don’t get distracted by ad-hoc activities that don’t fit with their strategy but seem like a good idea at the time because they are a bargain.

Do you have a long-term marketing plan A) Yes B) No?

Time to score yourself. Give yourself 1 point for Yes and 0 points for No.

One last question, Is your marketing getting you the results your business needs? A) Yes B) No? This one is 20 points for Yes and 0 points for No.

How do you compare?
Less than 5 – There are some serious issues with your marketing that you need to address. Look back at the questions where you scored 0 and take the time to address these issues to ensure a return on your marketing investment or contact us.

Between 6-10 – There are some issues with your marketing and your marketing isn’t generating the business you need. Look back at the questions where you scored 0 and take the time to address these issues to ensure a return on your marketing investment or contact us.

Over 20 – You are happy with the current level of business you are generating which is great but there is still room for improvement that could see you increase your return on marketing investment. Look back at the questions where you scored 0 and take the time to address these issues to ensure a return on your marketing investment or contact us.