Contrary to many larger organizations, marketing is often under-utilized in small and medium-sized companies. This happens for several reasons such as lack of time, lack of knowledge, lack of human resources or, sometimes, fear of change.

With the emergence of digital marketing, it has never been more accessible for SMBs to effectively target their customers and build a value-added relationship with prospects. However, to do so, SMBs have to revisit the fundamentals of marketing, the very fundamentals. The often ignored fundamentals are now more relevant than ever since the modern consumer is less captive or loyal.

Ignoring marketing strategy is like missing out on a real opportunity to grow a business. This article will present three of the many reasons why marketing is a real opportunity for your company.

 

MARKETING STRATEGY IS ABOUT POSITIONING YOUR COMPANY

Positioning is the place you occupy, or wish to occupy, in the minds of your target audience. It is also the place you occupy versus that of our competitors.

In other words, positioning depends mainly on the perception that the public (customers, prospects…) may have of your company. Therefore, getting this phase of your reflection right is fundamental. In addition, it will allow you to simplify communications across the various points of contact used by your target market, such as social networks, customer service, and supplier calls…

Getting this first aspect of your brand right will allow you to distinguish yourself from competitors.

 

The basics of positioning

 

Many small and medium-sized businesses define their positioning based on their product or service offering rather than what they do for their customers. If this is your case, your company’s marketing positioning may not be aligned with your customers’ needs.

These five steps will help you evaluate your company’s positioning:

  1. First, make a list of all your customers’ specific needs.
  2. Divide them into three categories:
    • Prerequisites: This is the heart of your business. For example, for a restaurant, having dishes that please customers.
    • Expectations: What do customers expect from you. For example, customers in a restaurant expect the restrooms to be clean.
    • Desired: The little “extra” that customers don’t expect. It’s what makes a beautiful customer experience and increases customer loyalty. For a restaurant, this could be offering a complimentary digestif at the end of the meal.
  1. Make a list of all the specific advantages that your products/services can provide. For example, it can be the fact that you are cheaper than your competitors, that you offer a guarantee on one of your products, that your product is Made in Québec or Canada…
  2. Compare this list with the list of your customers’ expectations (see the first step), then rank the benefits from the most important to the least important for your customers.
  3. Summarize in one sentence the link between your most important advantages and your customers’ needs: this is your company’s positioning.

 

Suppose this sentence corresponds to your current positioning and your communication strategy: GREAT! If it doesn’t, you risk not being well understood by your prospects and clients.

MAÏEUTYK can assist you in this reflection to positively influence your company’s perception of your customers.

 

DEVELOPING YOUR SALES

Marketing is not just theory – it is a discipline of efficient tools to target better your actions related to the growth of your business. Here are two practical steps worth looking at: 1.) identifying your market segments and creating your persona; 2.) continuously growing your list of prospects.

 

Identify your market segments and create your persona.

 

In the context of our activity, we often hear SMB managers tell us: “My product / my service is for everyone.”

Unfortunately, this type of thinking is just SUICIDAL. Trying to please everyone risks pleasing no one.

Here are some examples of well-known brands that have a target market and personas:

  • Walt Disney targets families with children between 4 and 12 years old.
  • Ikea has developed its B2B offer where it targets new entrepreneurs who want to have a “design” workplace without having to spend a fortune for it.

 

The more precise your market segmentation is, the more effective your marketing actions and communications will be. This allows your company to become more efficient with a homogeneous audience, allowing you to grow sales and exploit new market segments.

 

Continuously growing your list of prospects.

 

It’s a pretty simple equation: the more prospects you have, the more likely you will convert them into customers and grow sales.

The explosion of digital technology available today allows SMBs to go far beyond a simple website. It will enable you to add new channels to your traditional marketing mix: targeted social media networks, basic and sophisticated web marketing including AdWords advertising, SEO, SEM, Social Selling …

One of the significant advantages of these platforms is that they allow you to measure your return on investment. By testing several combinations and adjusting campaigns to results, you will be able to choose the most efficient channels for your company.

A multitude of possibilities are available to you.

However, these digital channels are only effective if your communication is precisely targeted. If this is not the case, you risk addressing messages to segments other than your own. This is the equivalent of wasting time and money.

 

INCREASED NOTORIETY

The marketing definition of notoriety is “being known by the largest number of people.” We prefer saying that for SMBs, notoriety is the fact of being known by its target customer.

If you are having difficulties identifying the market segments that are your ideal customers, we invite you to contact us to discuss your situation.

Once you have identified your target market, the next logical step is getting them to know you.

Mapping the customer journey of your target market will allow you to understand better how they buy, giving access to the best marketing channels to reach them. Being present on different channels will enable you to increase your visibility. Today’s statistics indicate that for a B2B customer to notice you, they must be made aware of your organization at least 15 times. A “simple” website or business card is no longer enough! You have to multiply the possible points of contact.

Here are some questions to help you focus your communication and marketing efforts:

  • What are the precise needs of your persona? Do you know their intrinsic motivations?
  • Where will they start looking for a solution?
    • On Internet?
    • In-store?
    • Blogs?
    • With his contacts? In his family?
    • Social Media?
  • What is the crucial step or action that will make them contact you?
    • Trying the product?
    • Talking to their accountant?
    • Talking to a colleague?
    • Searching online?
    • Reading reviews or business cases?
  • What are the obstacles they might encounter making them abandon their decision to buy? How can you remedy this?

 

Would you like to :

  • Take a moment to review your current positioning and gain better insight into your brand
  • Identify your personas precisely and gain a better understanding of their needs?
  • Map the customer journey and be at the right place at the right time to better support their buying journey?

If so, don’t hesitate to contact us. We will be happy to help you and brainstorm and, together, we will take your business to the next level.

This text is an updated edition of “What marketing can do for SMBs,” written by Elke Steinwender in 2017.