Recently, a new study on SME marketing conducted by the Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR) – reported here – was released. In the study, they found that the average SME is only achieving 39 per cent of its planned marketing activity.
According to the study, whilst 77 per cent of SMEs recognise that marketing is important to the growth, development and success of their business, a third of them only rate their efforts over the last six months at under five out of ten, with 11 per cent admitting to doing none of the marketing they had planned.
Digging into the research as to why this happening, SME owners cite time (21 per cent) and money (36 per cent) as being the biggest barriers to doing more marketing.
Prioritising marketing is also an issue with the owners admitting to juggling 7 different roles on a daily basis.
In my experience, running my own business and working with my clients, I think that these results are pretty close to reality.
However, getting marketing back at the top of a business owners priority list can be hard, particularly when time and resources are an issue and, the fact that, many people associate marketing with setting up new marketing activities and campaigns to acquire new customers.
That’s why when working with my clients, I ask them to start their new marketing push by not thinking about new customers but to think about their existing and historic customers first.
Why? Because they already have relationships with these customers and, as such, they have already done much of the hard work.
In the end, to get started doing new things we should focus on doing the easy things first and reaching for the low-hanging ‘fruit’ that surrounds their business.
Further, if they we do that, we increase our chances of generating momentum and breaking the inertia that exists in our current business practices.
So, if you find yourself struggling to keep marketing at the top of your priority list, you can get going and generate momentum by focusing on your existing and historic customers first.
You can do this as simply as phoning up your customers one by one or by sending them a letter or an email just to get back in touch and say ‘Hi’ and to let them know what’s happening in your business.
Or, you can go further, like an old client of mine, who resolved to put one afternoon a week aside to email and phone all of his existing and historic customers and arrange to go and see them face to face. He did that and continued to it. In doing so and, in large part, by just putting himself and his business at the front of his customers minds and in the right place at the right time, he grew his business by 50% over the course of 18 months.
Simple things can have a huge impact. You could achieve this too.
One of the other things that he found too was that in doing this he also increased the number of referrals and recommendations that he was getting to new customers too.
Low hanging fruit and new business. Not bad, right?
What are you waiting for?