How many times have we heard or seen a small business owner throw themselves into all the necessities to get their product or service on the market whilst blatantly overlooking the most important part?
The answer is: far too many. All too often these marvellous minds get so caught up in the genius of their great idea and completely overlook the importance of branding and marketing.
We as consumers have a near constant access to a global market that shoves every one of your competitor’s product down our throat via the social media we cannot avoid – it’s simply naïve to think your business doesn’t need quality marketing to thrive.
To invest in your marketing team is to invest in your success, you could argue the two are perfectly correlated. ‘So how do I invest in my marketing team’ You ask? Here are a few simple but effective ways that you can reel those customers in.
Do your market research
Unless your product or service is a necessity that’s in short supply, you’re always going to have competition. Gone are the days in which living remotely or having a central shop front will guarantee you customers. Now there are websites and couriers that will ship just about anything to just about anywhere.
You will ALWAYS have a competitor. If you want to invest in your marketing, you first need to know exactly what you are up against!
The depth of this research will rely heavily on how big your business is and the industry you operate within. At the end of the day, you can never know too much about your competitors or the market that you are in.
Careful not to get sucked into the many sites that will offer you statistics and data collected from consumers. While there are some reputable services, we’re never short of people trying to scam a quick buck from small businesses or the less tech savvy members of society.
Hot Tip: one of the most effective ways to market research is networking. You know what we say about keeping enemies close? Well, it turns out there’s lots to learn from other businesses in the industry – plenty of dos and don’ts.
Don’t be stingy
One of the more unfortunate parts of having a business is discovering how much that baby can cost. When you first get started it often feels like the unexpected over heads just keep coming. If it’s not costs you hadn’t factored in, it’s prices that you had seriously underestimated.
Don’t worry, you aren’t/weren’t alone and definitely won’t be the last to have this experience. Unfortunately, making the commitment to vamp up your marketing team is likely to be a similar experience. If you’ve not got a background in marketing the chances are high that you’ll be surprised at what some of these things cost. But like with most services, you really do get what you pay for.
With the marketing being predominantly digital these days, you’re going to need to invest in the quality equipment and programs. If your team is doing all the design as well as the distribution, then chances are you’re going to find yourself in need of IT consulting support or access to IT managed support to help maintain systems and ensure that they are up to standard for the work that’s required.
There are many different platforms and mediums available for the distribution. Obviously what fits best is going to vary based on the size of your business and the industry you’re working within.
Save yourself the time, hassle and wasted dollars by ensuring that the people you build your marketing team with are sufficiently experienced in the industry and know their stuff.
Once you and your team have landed on the whats and wheres of how you’re going to market yourself it’s important that you get together to lay out a comprehensive budget. Utilise your expert team to get a realistic understanding of what each option costs and as always, be prepared to get a little flexible when the curve balls come your way.
If in doubt, there’s always time to call in the experts
I’ll say it again, the fact of the matter is, we live in a digital age that is as inescapable as it is undeniable. The majority of the marketing we’re exposed to us won’t come in the physical form but on the screens we’re constantly staring at. While this has many benefits for both sides of the exchange (wide reach, plenty of choice) it also means online marketing is generally the most effective way to reach the most people.
Thankfully, if you’re a not the tech savvy person you’d like to be, or you simply don’t have the time to maintain all the social media platforms, there are plenty of qualified and experienced people to help. Shop around for a good digital marketing agency or digital marketing company who will be able to provide you all the support you need. For smaller businesses you could look into hiring someone part time to take on this burden. Best candidates include students (particularly marketing ones) that are looking for flexible work and likely have the experience required to successfully manage your online presence.
Don’t stop training your team
It’s a mistake made by many to hire a high performance team of marketing experts and think you can just leave them to it. The industry is forever changing, there are always new trends.
Just as your leaders will benefit from leadership coaching, your marketing team will benefit from regular training seminars and events.
While marketing is competitive by nature it is also dependent on successful networking. These days (especially after Covid 19) a lot of this networking is done online. But as things start to return to normal, we are seeing a return of conferences and other networking events.
These might seem like a big waste of money – especially if you’re factoring in travel expenses – but you’d be surprised the difference that they can make. Chances are that the rewards will far outweigh any out-of-pocket expenses.