I recently had a meeting with a new prospective client. As the meeting ended and we agreed to take the next step, he said something interesting:
“You guys seem to know what you are talking about.”
He went on to say that, over the past few weeks he’d had meetings with several ‘Marketing‘ companies who all gave the same impression. When it came down to it:
- They were pushing their own solution
- They didn’t really understand his business
- They were more
focusedon what they wanted rather thanwhat he wanted
A Step Back
Now, let’s take a step back and look at what might’ve happened.
First, these other companies did manage to arrange a meeting. Something about what they were offering in the first instance did its job. So what went wrong? I suggest that the problem is the same as what is at fault (IMHO) in much SME marketing.
Marketing is too often seen as an event rather than a process.
Many business owners see marketing as a problem that needs a fix. As a result, they believe they need someone with a fix for their problem.
They don’t see marketing as an integral and continuing function of their business.
Many marketing service suppliers tap into this situation by concentrating their promotional efforts in telling potential clients they have a fix for their (perceived) problem.
- Do you need a new website?
- Our SEO can get you the best search rankings
- We can get you to the top of Google today
- Maximise your ROI
- A new App for your business?
You know the sort of thing.
On the last one, how many SME businesses really need their own App?!
The Cycle Of Problem and Fix
A client of ours has a view on marketing. He regularly rolls his eyes to me and says:
It’s all just smoke and mirrors…
…and I can see his point. Marketing suppliers who take the approach of offering the fix can actually be quite successful in generating enquiries and interest in their services but too often, particularly with supplier focus on generating enquiries rather than delivering service, the initial
In the long run, the fix fails to fully solve the problem so it returns and the cycle starts again. The service supplier now needs new enquiries to add new business as the short-term fix ends. Or the client decides they aren’t getting what they are looking for and so choose to look elsewhere. We know – this was the BSA business in the
So what is the answer?
Even though an SME business owner recognises the need for external marketing support, it is too easy to make a critical assumption: that the business owner understands their marketing needs and is simply looking for a solution. Our prospect knows and understands their problem so let’s simply offer a fix.
If the customer really does understand their issue (as is often the case with larger businesses with their own in house marketing team), then fair enough. However, in the SME world, this approach often doesn’t work in the long run.
At BSA Marketing we aim to take a different line. We recognise that you are the expert in your own business and we are the marketing experts. With this combination, you know what you are trying to achieve in your business, but don’t necessarily know the best, workable marketing approach to reach your goal.
We recognise that…
Marketing is a process, not an event
By practically integrating ongoing marketing activity into your business, together with effective monitoring procedures, and then ultimately taking responsibility to make sure things get done, we create and sustain a measurable, planned process to make effective marketing happen.
The (initial) downside
The BSA approach certainly has a downside. It appears a more complicated way of doing things.
Rather than just offering you the fix you think you want for your problem, we first work with you to understand your business and aspirations so we can give relevant advice and agree with you what you need in a considered plan to take your business marketing forward effectively. We then take the
This does mean that initial discussions and planning can be challenging, but the extra short-term effort is definitely worth it.
The long term evidence
I mentioned earlier in this article that, back in the
Drawing on our many years’ experience we began the process of repositioning the BSA proposition in the late 1990s. Over the past 20 years, we have grown a solid portfolio of clients where the most common feature across them is sustained relationships.
We have clients who have been with us for all of those 20 years and most of our clients have been with us for 5 years or more. We don’t believe in long-term contracts. Our relationships with our endure because this is what everyone chooses.
I realise that our approach does not suit everyone but the evidence is that when we start to work with a client, they tend to stick with us.
I guess we must be doing something right. Want to talk? Contact me here