5 business killers and marketing preventatives
Haven't had any new enquiries lately? Is that shiny new website not really working for you? Well, you might take some cold comfort from the fact that you're not alone. Many small and medium sized businesses (SMB) across the UK are getting killed because of poor marketing, pig-headed bosses and terrible customer service.
Killer #1 – Lack of marketing expertise
Recent surveys suggest that the majority of the UK's 5 million business owners don’t really understand marketing very well. This lack of knowledge and expertise costs the average SMB around £25,000 a year.
Killer #2 – Boss knows best
Unfortunately, research by Wolters Kluwer suggests that many small business owners tend to follow their gut instincts about marketing rather than seek professional advice and support. Once again, the business suffers.
A report by the Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR) found that UK businesses are losing an estimated £122 billion of sales because of poor marketing.
Killer #3 – Forget your existing customers
Research conducted by NewVoiceMedia shows that UK businesses lose over £12 billion every year as a result of poor customer service. What’s more, a third of 16 to 24 year olds will immediately go online and start posting negative comments about their poor customer service experience.
Killer #4 – Ignore mobile
Around 45% of the UK’s small businesses don’t have a website according to a study published by Hibu in 2014. So, it’s hardly surprising that only 6% of SMBs have a mobile optimised website. The killer is that UK businesses said they thought they might be losing around £24,000 per year because of their lack of mobile marketing.
Killer #5 – Inertia
Many business owners realise that a lack of professional marketing support is killing them. However, countless SMBs do nothing about the poor quality or lack of marketing. Instead, they let inertia kill them while competitors grab the sales.
Prevention better than cure
There are a few simple things any small business can do to prevent a lack of marketing killing the firm’s future prosperity.
Preventative #1 – Planning pays dividends
Your marketing strategy should be built out of your business plan. This might seem obvious. But it’s surprising how many firms fail to focus on their business goals when thinking about marketing. Instead, marketing is seen in isolation rather than something inclusive that touches and supports every facet of the business from new product development to customer service. Similarly marketing is often purchased in penny packets and deployed as a point solution. This is nearly always a mistake.
Preventative #2 – Start with your customers
When you're a very small business it’s quite easy to maintain a strong, close relationship with your customers. However, as you grow customer relationship management can become more complex and opaque. Marketing technology offers a range of platforms, applications and analytical tools to help you master the customer conundrum. Of course, your own sales people, purchase orders, delivery drivers, fitters, channel partners and customer satisfaction surveys can provide you with a wealth of low tech customer insights. Having collected the data you need to do something about it.
Preventative #3 – It’s the journey not the destination
Based on the data you have available you can build up an accurate picture or persona of your target customer, just like a police photofit. Customer personas do more than help you craft marketing messages that will resonate with your target audiences. They can help you build a map of your customer’s journey on the path to purchase. According to the Online Marketing Institute it can take on average 7 to 13+ touchpoints to generate a single B2B sales-ready lead.
Preventative #4 – Start small, start cheap
Nowadays there are lots of very cheap marketing tools and media that will enable you to start building integrated campaigns. The same marketing tools and media also offer you lots of valuable insights into how your campaigns and activities are performing. Run A/B tests, look at the data, make adjustments, switch off what’s not working and spend more on whatever gets results.
Preventative #5 – No panacea
Be realistic about your marketing efforts. Today there is a trend towards digital marketing and social media at the exclusion of almost everything else. However, a couple of years ago mobile was seen as the ultimate solution to all our marketing woes. It didn't happen. We're still learning about mobile. Conversely, traditional marketing activities such as email, telemarketing and events remain some of the most effective for B2B lead generation, for example. In truth, there is no marketing panacea.
Don't let a lack of professional marketing support kill your business efforts. Contact us right now for more information.