How to avoid a one size fit’s all policy when marketing your small business

One size doesn’t fit all when it comes to marketing, so this week OTB is looking at how best to create marketing strategies for small businesses…

When it comes to marketing and strategy, it is easy to focus on brand giants such as P&G, Unilever or Diageo and attempt to recreate or mimic their strategies. But the fact is that these multi-billion dollar international companies may seem to have little in common with local SME’s or small start-ups who are seeking to create small-scale and low budget strategies with maximum impact. What insights can be learned from observing the strategies of these high-end companies which can be modified and adapted to suit a small business environment? When is it best to look away from what others are doing and focus on the individual need of a situation? OTB explores…

There is obvious merit in learning from the best when beginning to create a marketing strategy. When international companies devote millions of dollars or pounds or yen to market research, tracking consumer trends or experimenting with new techniques, the insights generated can be of immense value to any business operating within similar markets. Likewise even for businesses who focus on alternative industries, by observing processes and methods used by such successful companies it is possible to learn a great deal of insightful information that can be used within a different context.

In an article by The Guardian, Neil Addley, managing director of used-car website Trusted Dealers, says the starting point is the same for all businesses; ‘it all starts with a strategy, whether you’re a small business or a much larger one. Define what you’re trying to sell, to whom, where and when, and then work out how best to get to that target with the budget you have available.’ Likewise BusinessKnowHow argue that paying attention to larger businesses is highly effective, arguing small businesses should ‘pay attention to what big corporations do to introduce and promote their products, and then adapt their marketing techniques to meet your own target clients and budget.’

The key message here is adapt. Learning from others is great, so long as these insights can be adapted and developed to suit individual needs of a business and create measurable results for the company. It is important to start at the beginning, asking how well known is the brand and its products under discussion, and how best can the message be spread to the relevant people. If people don’t know a product they won’t buy it, it’s that simple.

Creativity can often be an important lesson to learn to ensure that a marketing campaign is pushed to its full potential and made to work at its best for a small business. According to Entrepreneur.com, a website dedicated to individuals keen to grow their own business, taking a creative approach to small business marketing can not only save money but vastly increase ROI when new successful methods are found. Simple ideas such as exploring inexpensive alternatives to traditional lead generation methods like banner advertising and organic search and replacing them with cheaper alternatives such as new product press releases which can quickly and easily be sent to a wide variety of relevant publications with very little cost involved.

By exploring alternative options and creating a tailored, relevant marketing strategy to the size and need of a business, it is possible to see big results for minimal input. When budgets are tight and competition is fierce, its ideas like these that can make all the difference to a small business.

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