The world of marketing can be a very confusing place. We are subjected to it every minute of every day in some form or another. What makes it even more confusing for SMEs, is there are SO many ways to market their business / solution / services / project. How do they know what marketing mechanisms are the right ones to use to get in front of their prospective customers?
Yes, digital marketing is a must for every business these days but even if you just focus on digital marketing for a minute, there are a plethora of options. Couple that with offline marketing mechanisms and your head can start to spin.
Too many SME's marketing is merely a set of random activities usually poorly planned out and often carried out on a spur of the moment decision or a ‘once only’ event.
What SMEs fail to realise and why their marketing efforts fail to produce the uplift in sales they are looking to achieve, is they haven’t put the fundamental building blocks in place that underpin their marketing tactics, those fundamental building blocks being their marketing strategy.
The failure of marketing efforts is in part due to lack of understanding when it comes to marketing strategy, marketing planning, and marketing execution within the SME space, which is why large enterprises with big budgets & resources, tend to excel and SMEs, with lower budgets & fewer resources, often fail.
Businesses are all too keen to focus on the marketing creative or the ‘sexy' side of marketing, the gimmicky side that we are all subjected to day in and day out. But what business owners fail to understand is what they are subjected to, in the majority is business to consumer marketing. Sure they will be subjected to business to business marketing but not to the same extent.
And this is where the route of the problem lies. Business to business marketing is much tougher due to the number of stake holders involved in the sale. Businesses may or may not know who their target market is or truly understand the number of stake holders that need to be won over, so they fail to reach all when executing marketing activities. And as such SMEs won’t find a way to change how their ideal customer views what they do, and will not be seen as the obvious choice of provider.
SMEs that continue to market the way they do, don’t deal with the bigger picture of marketing & don’t start with the basics first will find that their marketing efforts will never build momentum or gain any return on investment. Relying on advertising/design agencies to deliver the creative stuff needed without a clear and defined marketing strategy in place will ultimately lead to lack of ROI and frustration that yet again marketing hasn't delivered.
Those SMEs wanting to increase their return on marketing investment and grow their business look to bridge their internal skills & resources gap to stop repeating their mistakes. Many SMEs are turning to outsourced or interim marketing directors for help. Why? There are numerous benefits:
- A cost-effective solution – it negates the need to hire a full-time salaried employee and all the associated costs that are involved in doing so.
- An external perspective – With a business’s key objectives and goal in mind, they will not be biased or blinkered by the day-to-day running of the company. They bring a focused and fresh approach to understanding best practices, changes in within your industry and the competitive landscape.
- Expertise & Experience – Interim marketing directors have a wealth of experience and expertise from working with a number of SMEs across diverse industries. They are exposed to new technologies, best practises and ideas continuously. To achieve this sort of expertise in-house you would need to hire a very senior level of employee.
- A short-term commitment – Interim marketing directors come in a do a specific job, once this is completed you can cease working with them without any issues. This saves you both time and money.
- Saves you time – It is quicker to hire an interim director than it is to hire a full-time employee. Hiring them to do the job means it will be completed much more quickly than if an internal employee had to split their time.
- Improves adoption – Many businesses face internal politics issues when it comes to developing and adopting their marketing strategy. By outsourcing this these issues become defused and the process taken to get their increases internal engagement.
- Truly unbiased approach – an independent marketing director is not there to sell you creative services you don’t need. Therefore you get a truly unbiased approach when it comes to the development of your marketing strategy, and a strategy that has your key objectives and goals in mind.