Small Business Marketing: A Juggling Act
For small businesses, marketing can seem like an endless mountain of work. With so many channels and strategies to juggle, you really need to know - what is right for me?
The rules of marketing change when you're a small business. The fundamentals are the same, however deciding what your most important focuses are is vital. It’s all about knowing your customer, knowing your market and focusing on the ways that your value can be best achieved. Often under time and budgetary constraints too.
Small businesses are so special as they allow you to truly understand your customers. By being local, independent, agile and knowledgeable, you can demonstrate a solution to a need with your customer at the forefront. Communicating your value is wholly personal and can be reflective of your target audience as the landscape changes.
How does marketing work for a small business?
As a small business, you are closer to your customers - potentially speaking to them on a daily basis. In many ways, this is the most valuable and reliable source of market research you can get. Whereas big brands need to rely on expensive market reports and focus groups, smaller businesses have this at their fingertips - and for free. By listening to how they found you and what their experience was like, you can get unique customer insights into how your brand is perceived. Using this to cement your positioning and the way you communicate your business externally.
It is essential as a small business to know who you are targeting your products or services at. Understanding this is key to decisions in what you do and how you do it. It should also help to inform future product or service development. Following on from positioning, this first person connection to your customers means that you can truly understand your customers. Whereas larger businesses require datasets and complex persona development to achieve this. Using first party data such as order details and customer reviews you can establish key demographics and interests which help to narrow your focus.
Especially when it comes to running a small business, you can’t invest in everything. You have a specific pot of money which should be saved for best practices. Using the positioning and targeting defined above, provides the guardrails to decide what to do, but most importantly, what not to do. With everything, it is important to test and evaluate what works to ensure that you are getting the best value out of the tools and services you use.
Only once these above elements have been defined can we think about marketing. Many small businesses focus on the quick wins, targeting specific customers while a specific offer or event has their attention. Remember, the majority of your target market won’t be ready to buy your product or service right now. According to the 95-5 rule, 95% of business clients are not in the market for many goods and services at any one time according to Professor John Dawes.
But they will be in the future, so don’t forget to market to them as well. Formulating a plan for your future customers will help set you up in the longer term, creating an advantage over other smaller businesses who are only focusing on immediate prospects. Creating a strategy to direct the right customers to the right channels will mean that your approach is not only consistent but you know whether every element is working. One of the best things about small businesses is the agility to test, learn and grow.
Spinning many plates
Managing a small business with a handful of staff can be a challenging role, especially when you have so many channels to feed into. For this reason, many small businesses choose to cherry pick the facilities they manage in-house and choose to outsource other areas such as marketing and design.
By outsourcing your marketing, you know that your brand’s perception is in safe hands. A trusted marketing agency can create content and messaging that evokes the brand’s core values and tone throughout. Furthermore, trends and industry changes can be taken on board at each stage ensuring marketing is both proactive and reactive.
How would we approach a small business’ marketing strategy at Mosaique? Our typical approach would involve a combined approach of realistic budget planning, understanding internal capabilities and data-driven analysis based on existing trials and processes.
We make a point of assuming nothing and aim to learn as much as possible about a new client’s customer base to ensure we understand their current market positioning and can identify the potential niches for growth and expansion.
Any and all existing marketing practices and tests you have conducted are valuable. Especially when working with an agency, we like to dig deep into the brand and understand what has worked and where we can create fresh ideas. All elements of your brand’s front facing image are considered at every step of the way. Our marketing strategy utilises this data alongside our wide knowledge of the industry to create impactful and data-driven marketing activity.
Though at Mosaique we are more than capable of handling big brand refreshes and consumer campaigns, often the most rewarding changes are the more personal ones.
Adaptability as an agency
At Mosaique we have over 30 years of experience in the industry, working with a range of businesses from local to global. As an agency, we enjoy every project, with a strong belief that a small business is just as important as a big brand. Our services include a wide range of bespoke skills, from marketing strategy to design, animation and web development. We can accommodate a range of industry sectors, business needs and budgets, sharing our ideas and creativity with businesses of all sizes. We believe that marketing agencies should be accessible resources for all businesses. Not just a tool but an extension of your team worth investing in.
Here are a handful of small businesses that we have enjoyed working with…