I recently wrote about the spectrum of marketing. In the article, I suggested that too many SME business owners were overly focussed on sales promotion and lead generation while there was an untapped opportunity in building their company brand. A business with little or no brand value that is focused on sales promotion is constantly having to spend money on finding new customers. This process also typically remains short term, with little longer term benefit. By growing market awareness of your business and growing trust and confidence in your ability to deliver real and sustained value, you are making it ever more likely that when a potential customer has a need it will be you they think of – and call! Also, building brand awareness means that your sales promotion becomes more effective as more people take notice. Planning and building brand value means you can start to achieve the same business growth results with less resource. However, in my experience, SMEs almost never have a marketing plan or a marketing budget. Instead, they have certain things they do; and there is always a search for new ways to find business opportunities. There are many, many marketing services companies out there offering a range of seemingly relevant approaches to finding new business opportunities. The problem is that they typically may cost a little more than you would wish while actually delivering less than you expect. The bottom line is that you spend more than you’d like and don’t quite achieve what you’d hope – you are spending too much on marketing! Yet in that treadmill, you still need to generate the business revenue so the process repeats over again.
So how do I spend less and achieve more?
In short, by thinking longer term and getting more sustained value from your marketing – build your brand! I’m not suggesting that sales promotion is wrong. Far from it. Sales promotion and lead generation are essential elements of every business. When a business is new then sales promotion is vital. Without short term revenue, running out of cash becomes a risk! My idea is that alongside your sales promotion/lead generation, include some brand value marketing in your mix. This is an investment in the future of your business. It might not have a major impact in the short term but as your company gets more widely known and your customers and markets have increasing respect of and confidence in the products and services you offer, you will find it easier to secure new business while the value of your brand and the benefit you deliver to your customers will make it easier to build and retain long-term client relationships. Lower cost of customer acquisition. Higher lifetime value. What’s not to like! ..and all at a more manageable marketing spend.