OMB, SME: New business growth
Small companies should behave like big brands. It's about company culture, not marketing budgets.
Small and medium-sized companies often reach a level of success and then need something else to go to the next stage in their development.
A growth spurt can stem from taking a fresh look at the market, bringing in some fresh ideas and new marketing blood, or aiming for new markets.
What business sector are you in: manufacturing, retail, technology, leisure, professional services, healthcare, third sector? Regardless, adopting the best marketing practices of successful companies will help you. At Allround Creative we have the ideas, experience and skills to help you move ahead with confidence.
Text books only reveal parts of the success story
Success comes from a shift in outlook and a redirection of efforts rather a surge in budgets.
The trouble with marketing text books is that they give you an historical view of successful growth tactics. They don’t reveal the errors, cul de sacs, failed campaigns, lost sales and frustrations endured when trying to create a successful marketing and sales formula.
You probably want to know what you can do right now to enjoy some of the success of enterprise marketing.
Break historical cycles
Without meaning to be rude, most smaller and mid-market companies think like small companies in terms of pricing and budgets. The default positions are generally, let's sell on price and what can we spend rather than what should we budget for to meet our growth objectives? Similarly with staff, what can we afford, rather than what should we spend or what incentives can we offer to attract and nurture good staff.
There are also some other activities that feel unnatural to smaller companies, among them are sponsorship and exhibitions. The fact is that you just have to think a bit smarter.
Make more of your 'small' advantages
The fantastic thing for small companies is that the decision making process is much shorter so SMEs can outmanoeuvre larger companies and take more calculated risks.
Many companies would love to have THE sign in Times Square, or the triple decker stand at the mega exhibition, or sponsor the end of show gala dinner. You can adopt the attitude if not the scale of activity.
One notable example of recent success was our sponsorship on a client’s behalf of the beer and beer mats at a large exhibition. Just about everyone of their technology audience saw our customer’s name, in the most welcome context. We suspect our sales enquiries outnumbered those of the companies who sponsored the show bags, speakers and dinners. Sometimes it’s not about budgets but about quick thinking.
Owner managers must work 'on' the business
When it comes to people, you have to employ ‘A’ grade staff, so you the owner and business directors can work, as Gerber suggests, ON the business, not IN the business.
Do talented people cost more? Sometimes. But it’s a salient fact that Richard Branson doesn’t always pay the highest salaries, for example at Virgin Atlantic. However, he creates a particular environment in which people want to work. So there are other ways to incentivise people to work for your company if you think creatively.
We’ve introduced comparable workplace initiatives for Allround Creative customers, from case study incentives to staff lounge enhancements and collaboration strategies.
We have helped many owner managers with objective advice and successful campaigns. It's a 'sweet spot' for us, helping to relieve the pressure on owners who typically have to do much themselves as they do not have trusted experts they can hand off projects to. If you are an OMB, give Allround Creative some thought next time you are wondering how to grow your company.
Behave like a brand, not like a product
Your staff are your ambassadors, whether you like it or not! Their attitude and productivity are critical to your success.
Richard Branson is a good example of someone who always 'behaves like a brand and not like a product'. His companies have usually sided with the public and have included an element of fun … and are associated with value for money.
Not enough small companies think about the impression they create in the market, which ultimately underpins sales success, and service consistency, which translates into customer retention and repeat orders.
It’s important to stand for something and communicate it to your prospects, whether it’s premium performance, fabulous mid-market reliability, or bucket shop best prices.
You still have to be found by your prospects and have the right messages to win orders and customer loyalty by being demonstrably good in your class.
Sales and Marketing Must Dos and Don’ts for SMEs:
- Don’t just give your sales guys a phone and desk and then expect sales miracles
- Do think about what your company should look and sound like
- Do make sure your sales message is delivered consistently by all staff from board level to receptionist
- Do motivate your staff, and if you can’t, find someone who can
- Do investigate what marketing will work for you, from guerrilla tactics to monthly turn-the-handle promotional marketing
- Don’t settle for average
- Do try to be remarkable (so people talk about your company)
Sometimes a change in outlook requires bravery, but it's easier to accomplish if you work with someone who can guide you along the way.