Intelligent Issue 31 | Page 21




W e all know that there is the textbook version of this question answered – which outlines the standard focus areas and steps to take , including :

• Defining target audiences
• Develop strong brand strategies
• Focus on content marketing
• Leverage social media
• Utilise email marketing
• Measure and analyse results
Following these steps is all well and good – and a marketing professional worth any salt will be able to service this list effectively and within budget . However , there are elements to consider that don ’ t follow so called ‘ textbook ’ formats . And for an SME , in particular , if budget only allows certain marketing elements , examine these I ’ ve outlined below , as the priority .
First and foremost , no amount of marketing , target audience-defining or social media advertising will impact any type of business ’ bottom line positively – if service ease and service excellence are neglected . Brand value is defined by experience . While marketing ’ s job is to reinforce a brand – it ’ s the service experience that it is actually reinforcing . Without good service experience – any marketing budget is wasted . What often defines an SME is its ability to react quicker and deliver better .
Another key element is internal communications . This is significantly more important to get right than even external communications . How can any brand be successful if its ambassadors ( employees and stakeholders ) are not its number one priority ? Communication in business – as in life – promotes understanding , creates trust and builds value . And the real brand ambassadors to a business are its people .
Another critical viewpoint to successful marketing strategies for SMEs is to have a community mindset . Marketing should be highly valued but never a rip-off . Business viability is a two-way street . Too often we get called in to support a brand that is disillusioned with its marketing efforts due to heavy costs vs low experience ( ironic that ), but still requiring marketing efforts urgently . It ’ s an ethical duty as members of this SME economy to service each other with respect and fairness . Partner with community mindset people . It changes business landscapes .
Finally , and to really define your marketing strategy success is to , ‘ pick a hill and conquer it ’ – understand what you want to be famous for . SME marketing should be focused . Don ’ t be all things , to all sectors . Decide what is most important to your vision and your success and conquer that hill , and only then move on to the next – and don ’ t be side-tracked by what your competitors are doing . To put this into context ; I once had a SME client that met an annual sales budget target from just one strategically placed article in a key vertical , read by only 300 . A small audience , but a significant impact to the business ’ bottom line as it was the right audience , and the right ‘ hill ’.
Marketing , when done correctly and for the right reasons should be significantly impactful . The trick , however , is to choose the right focus areas and deliver – the rest will follow .

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