Are smart Businesses marketing led?

Research by Deloittes states that ‘68% of SME’s say it is difficult to get customers to take action as a result of marketing’

Is this true? Is your marketing budget at the top of your business priorities?  If you’re not spending you are not acquiring customers.

This was the topic discussed by members of the Business Exposure Group at their recent meeting and members welcomed the opportunity to find out about how other members dealt with marketing their companies.

Marketing is important to SME’s but a lack of budget, expertise and time is often a barrier.  Marketing is often seen by some as a cost rather than an investment in the future.  Only 20% of SME’s believe that increased marketing spend will be their pathway to growth.

‘Hooking potential customers early is the strongest path for growth’.  Even loyal customers are considering other offers more often than you realise.

Good businesses are implementing clear and focused marketing strategies that place the customer front and centre.  The Institute Of Directors comment that ‘nurturing customer relationships and optimising customer experience are the two most significant objectives for B2B businesses’.  This is where a marketing led company thrives.  A clear long term focus on the customer, from customer retention and experience, to customer satisfaction and lifetime value.

A marketing led campaign aims for growth by investing in the customer experience as a top- priority.  In contrast, a sales driven approach is typically short term and transactional.  Should your culture be to put the customer at the centre of your business? Its what is known as ‘Customer Centricity’.

SME’s say marketing is crucial for growth, but measuring Return On Investment holds them back. If ROI is difficult to measure for a marketing activity then don’t do it, was a view held by some at the meeting.  Can you afford to risk capital on something that may work?

Businesses that develop and use a marketing plan go on to outperform those that don’t.  Deloittes state that ‘every £1 spent on marketing, benefits an SME eight times as much as it would a larger company’.  The average spend on marketing is the same as a junior member of staff £24K – ‘Marketing Week’.

The most popular channels for SME marketing are emails/social media/online advertising/direct mail and telemarketing.

Perhaps a good thing to have is an ROI formula – ROI investment x 100 as a percentage, so you can work out if one medium generates 15% and another 50%, then you will know where to invest your money!  If you spend £1 on marketing what should you expect in return? – 5/1 is a good return.

When asked if your marketing strategy is working, it could mean, is it generating awareness- big deal. Is it generating website traffic- big deal or is it generating sales…..  It has to be generating sales otherwise you are simply allocating your marketing budget. Each marketing campaign must have a strong business case.

 

 

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