If you’ve had a chance to listen to our latest Marketing Matters Podcast, you will have heard us talking about the value of innovation and how, according to management guru Peter Drucker, innovation is key to building a successful business. However, there is a bit of a spanner in the works:
It’s unrealistic for a small business to be able to do everything in-house. Furthermore, many of the suppliers they may consider to support them in developing and implementing innovation are project-based. Even though the value of innovation is normally realised over time, companies helping to deliver that innovation are too often focussed on maximising the short-term project value. They are looking to their own needs rather than considering the benefit they should be delivering to their customer. For that customer, this can mean a significant, short-term investment cost with the benefit only being realised over a significant time frame. This can be a big risk, even to the point that it stifles the innovation from happening at all.
The problem is that innovative talent is increasingly expensive. Moreover, true talent is often truly expensive! This may be OK at the extremes (look at the earnings of Premiership footballers!), but the idea that talent is highly valuable filters down so that even mediocre talent often values itself beyond the reasonable means of most SME businesses.
The cost of implementation risks repressing business innovation.
A better way…
At BSA Marketing, we aren’t looking for a quick buck. We focus our business model on client-centred long-term relationships. Additionally, we recognise there can be a requirement for investment but we like to benefit alongside our client as they see the positive impact of our input over time.
Here are some examples of how we can deliver true innovation with the focus is on client business benefit
1: App Development.
Our client had an idea to develop an app to allow a wider market to access their products. They discussed their ideas with an App development company who quoted in excess of £10,000 for teh job. The figure was unrealistic for our client and the anticipated benefit they would gain.
We had been working with the client for several years so have a good understanding of their business. This long term relationship, coupled with our knowledge of their operation, allowed us to help them develop a more realistic specification.
By taking the time to truly understand the objectives we were able to go to the market and find an alternative supplier whose quote to develop an effective solution came in at 80% less! Now we have a realistic option!
2. Collaborative website development
An SME Website should be at the heart of marketing for the business. It can constantly evolve. Often the best approach is to start simple and develop over time
In my experience, with a website development project, the norm is for everyone to focus on the technical build and the cost of ‘coding’ a website. Too often, no-one thinks about content, yet without the content to communicate the business proposition, the website is nothing. It may not even launch.
The ‘technical build’ approach focuses on a project to implement all functionality from the start. In practice, the initial use of a site when it is launched tends to be more basic as people learn about it. This early experience may also suggest there would have been better alternatives to the functionality that has already been included, even if it isn’t yet being used! AS with much in business, the reality is a process, not an event. Taking this approach can have commercial benefits.
Using a modern platform such as WordPress, a website can be readily developed for under £1000. (though adding a commercial graphic designer top the project can double this!)
Step by step
To build and launch a website, there are 3 primary cost elements:
- Design & Coding
- Creating Content
- Managing Data
These elements do not all have to be considered as one. Alternatively, a project can be split into separate elements, allowing a company commissioning a website to have input into eth project based on their own unique knowledge of their business. The website company will build the site then give guidance and support to help their customer draw on their own expertise to build content for the site. This collaboration can significantly reduce development costs, and produce a better end result.
Taking this idea further, we have recently we have built a website framework for under £500. This includes full CMS allowing our client to add and then manage the site content. In this way, our client will truly own their website.
Our key is understanding the objectives of our client. A website is nothing more than a tool. It must work for the business. The best way to achieve this is through a thorough discussion and planning of complete, end to end, project beforehand. Most important, this includes discussion of the ultimate business objectives. What ia the site going to deliver for the business and how will it do this?
3. Adapting to lockdown
We wrote about this case earlier in the year. It is a good example of how the long-term relationship-based approach delivers benefits in the most unlikely circumstances. Who would have thought a client who organises specialist conferences would have to quickly switch everything from live events to online webcasts as a consequence of the covid lockdown.
Our existing relationship with our client enabled us allows us to develop a fully online webcast booking and delegate management system that went live in less than 4 weeks.
After only 2 webcasts, the new system had seen a more than tenfold ROI. Additionally, with a highly automated system, ongoing system running costs are negligible. As more online events are held, the value of the investment grows and our benefit grows as we continue to support delivery of the programmes
Taking a longer-term, collaborative approach allows a process of investment over time as the value to the business is realised. A true win: win situation
You can read the full story here.