David vs Goliath – you CAN do it…..

I have heard throughout my life that size doesn’t matter! Similarly, bigger doesn’t necessarily mean better. Well…..when it comes to business, I concur. As an owner of a business with a team of 7, we very much pride ourselves on our reaction times and service levels. We always aim to provide bespoke marketing solutions rather than off the shelf solutions. When I asked a selection of our clients why they approached BMC instead of maybe larger, more traditional “agencies” I was pleasantly surprised to find out the answers.

Below are some of my tips on how a smaller business can not only compete with a larger one, but stand out against them –

1. Always respond to prospects quickly and personally
Smaller companies differentiate themselves from big ones through faster, more in-depth human communication.

My suggestion would be, whether in person or on the phone, respond quickly and personally to a personal approach. Companies of all sizes have adopted automated software for marketing, but relying on automation loses the personal touch that differentiates small businesses from corporations.

2. Don’t solve unique problems with standard solutions.
Big companies tend to try and fit clients into pre-set boxes. Off the shelf solutions are much more costs effective to offer and hence, larger companies will try and predict solutions and have an already made solution.

Smaller companies can be nimble in their ability to customise offerings to match specific needs. Start-ups and/or smaller businesses should take advantage of this by providing more specific service to customers who would fall through the cracks at larger entities.

3. Keep the face of the company familiar.
Bigger companies tend to have big sales teams and lots of people who interact with clients. Small companies have only a few, but this, in my opinion is a strength.  Statistically, maximizing customer satisfaction through a consistent customer journey can potentially increase customer satisfaction by 20% and boost revenue by 15%. Keep the point of human contact as consistent as possible so prospects feel that they’re dealing with a person — not a brand.

While startups use personal service to get in front of clients, big companies invest in technology so they don’t have to. Keep personnel the same through the inquiry, proposal, launch and implementation phases. Customers will feel more valued if they are not being shuffled from one department to the next.

Related: 4 Advantages every Entrepreneur should be using
No matter how much ground big companies cover, they can’t be everything for every customer, and that leaves an opening for startups to survive and thrive. Small companies can leverage their agility, flexibility and creativity to go above and beyond for customers where the big businesses would otherwise get stuck in the mud.

Small companies that focus on building active, solution-forward relationships with customers will find it’s easier to win out against the sluggish big businesses in today’s fast-moving market.

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Marketing planning and routes to market

Most small business owners know how important it is to have a business plan as a plan outlines your company’s course for success. However, one crucial element of that plan which is sometimes missing or hidden is the marketing strategy.

Marketing strategy can quite often be buried within the larger business plan and, as such, many small business owners may not give marketing the time, research and attention it deserves, assuming that they know their customer base and how to reach them. But an in-depth and detailed approach to laying out your marketing strategy can reveal opportunities from a new audience or potential product line, pitfalls in pricing, competition reaction, and potential reach.

In my previous post, I outlined 4 core tasks to consider when developing a marketing plan, but you need to figure out how you are going to reach that target customer. You need to identify a suspect, turn them into a prospect and then a client and quite often, your marketing strategy can just be to “sell” a meeting.

Anyway, aside from the 4 core tasks I touched on in June, there is also traditional print and broadcast media, but there are also two tech-driven marketing channels that many of today’s business owners utilise and hence, should be considered.

Social media
Social media has become an essential part of businesses’ marketing plans because every type of customer is on some type of platform, such as Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn and other networks. Small business owners can feel overwhelmed at the possibilities but should focus on the ones that can benefit them the most.
Brett Farmiloe, founder of internet marketing company Markitors, advised companies that are
just getting started in social media to get to know their customers and what platforms they are using.
“Figure out where your customers are spending their time, and set up shop on those platforms,” Farmiloe told Business News Daily. “Develop a content strategy that can be executed internally, [and then] execute your strategy by posting branded content on your selected platforms. While all three steps are key, the biggest one is really determining if your customers are on these platforms.”

Email
Though email marketing may not be a new concept like social media marketing, it is an effective and popular choice for many small business owners. In fact, recent statistics show that 89% of millennial customers STILL prefer email as a communication route.
Companies can implement email-marketing techniques in a number of ways, including using newsletters, promotional campaigns and transactional emails. Companies such as MailChimp and Constant Contact make it easy for companies to manage their email campaigns.

With so many marketing routes to market, you’ll have to decipher the best ones to use via testing, but don’t discount anything until you’ve tried it and make sure that these routes are part of the larger marketing plan.