Small Business Marketing Strategy & Process Development

Posts Tagged "Small Business"

Do You Need Technology for Content Marketing?

on June 15 in Content Marketing, Small Business | 0 comments

In this post, we address whether you–as a small business owner–need technology for content marketing. Technology here refers to marketing automation software or a platform. You may or may not need a big technology investment to support your content efforts.  This is one of our Business Breakdown posts. We break down a marketing headline, explaining who it’s intended for and what it means to you as a U.S.-based small business owner, microbusiness owner, SOHO, or sole proprietor. The Source “How Tech Can Help B2Bs Elevate Content Efficiency” from Emarketer.com The Details about Technology for Content Marketing “Nearly eight in 10 B2B marketing professionals worldwide used website analytics tools, the top response, and about three-quarters leveraged No. 2 marketing automation solutions. In comparison, just over three in 10 used collaboration or project management platforms to coordinate and track such efforts.” (Q2 2015 polling by Starfleet Media) The Audience and Participants For international marketers in B2B companies. We don’t know how many companies participated in the studies. We don’t know the sizes of the companies surveyed, either. The Purpose To show how inefficient content marketing can be. To show the gap in technology use. Project management software or a content-marketing platform, for example. The conclusion is the ineffiency is caused by the lack of tools or too many tools. The solution for B2B marketers is technology for content marketing–and more specifically a platform. What You Need to Know As a small business owner, microbusiness owner, SOHO, or sole proprietor, know this:  1. If you’re going to produce or curate content, measure it. Chances are, you already have Google Analytics. Use it. You need that technology for content marketing at a minimum. And to know what to measure, too. (Update: Buffer has an awesome blog post about using GA more effectively and what to measure.) 2. Have a defined process for measuring and what you do with the data. Having a data-driven culture helps too. If all that sounds overwhelming, my associates and I can help. 3. Don’t take on too many technology tools. More to manage, more expense. Not always more results. Technology for technology’s sake is not smart. Unless you can afford to have technology as hobby. 4. Automation may or may not be your best bet. Before you rush out and...

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The Alternative to Firing Your Clients: Better Screening

on May 1 in B-to-B, Small Business | 0 comments

In my earlier post Firing Customers: Why and How,  I referenced Collapse of Distinction: Stand Out and Move Up While Your Competition Fails. This is a book by Scott McKain and although I haven’t read it yet, he has published an informative article on MarketingProfs.com: Why You Should Fire (Some of) Your Customers.  Herein, he recommends who to keep and who to discard by category (very helpful!) and  smartly states: “We spend more time than we really have to give pleasing a customer we never should have solicited in the first place.” (Emphasis mine.) This last bit by Mr. McKain leads me to the crux of this post: Better screening.  I admit that I have fallen victim to a big name, a glowing referral from a colleague, and a market underdog with potential (if only they’d been open to change), but I am trying—and encouraging my marketing strategy clients to try—to do a better job of what I call “selective engagement.” With a little process development and strategic thinking, small businesses can establish criteria for selectively engaging clients who are well-suited to their business models and financial goals. This includes ideal client persona development as well as the means to attract them and the process of identifying them.  With this type of planning and supporting processes in place, you can prevent the firing mentality or  “culling phase” and instead be more exclusive with building your client base upfront.  Yes, this takes great effort, bravery, and budget, but given the alternative—having to gracefully back out of an engagement—it might just be worth it. Today I came across an excellent example from a marketing person I respect, Allan Starr. In his Marketing Monthly newsletter,  he states his criteria, including this specific requirement, “If a client doesn’t at least believe they are better than their competitors, we don’t take them on (we are opportunity agents, not turnaround artists).”  Starr makes a bold statement about what his company does and what they need from potential clients, which will allow prospects to identify or walk away.  (Bravo Marketing Partners, and feel free to refer those who need more confidence to us. Agencies have different criteria, after all, and we like to connect with fellow service providers.) As many marketing colleagues acknowledge, it can be hard...

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What We Can Learn From Rockstars

on March 9 in B-to-B, Small Business | 0 comments

Rockstars have magnetism and devoted fans – both good things for small businesses. Here’s my brief rundown of what we can learn from them: 1. It’s all about the show. Whatever’s going on behind the scenes doesn’t matter when we hit the stage. 2. Sometimes the lead singer and guitarist must pull the weight and/or create a distraction so the others can take a break. 3. Humility goes a long way with a crowd. So does insecurity and modesty if you can find a way to work that in. Occasionally. And compliments don’t hurt either. 4. Audience participation is key. Let them (dedicated fans) show they know their stuff. It increases engagement and long-term commitment. It doesn’t hurt to acknowledge newcomers and make them feel welcome too. 5. Find someting different to do and flaunt it. I don’t lip synch, we dont play short, dinky concerts, whatever it is do it and draw attention to it. People leave repeating it. 6. Make every crowd feel like the best – or at least unique in something. Acknowledge them for that. 7. Introduce spontaneity to keep yourself and your team motivated and entertained. 8. Recognize your opening acts and highlight their strengths. If they fit with your values and you can explain that, even better. 9. Care about something and make sure your fans know what it is. It might be a cause or it might just the favorite song you wrote. But say it loud, long, and strong. 10. Pick the right tool for the job and don’t be afraid to change it up. Sometimes it’s a gut thing, sometimes it’s for show and sometimes it’s a necessity. That’s it! Rock on small businesses of Phoenix, Arizona and the...

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Someone Has to Be the CMO

on July 26 in Small Business, Soapbox, The Office | 1 comment

Many small businesses or even mid-to-large-sized businesses with geographic dispersion have marketing people in-house or at least marketing-minded employees, whether at the top or within the company’s ranks.  But oftentimes, there’s not a dedicated, experienced resource at the C-level.  The lack of a Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) or equivalent leadership role often results in a task-based approach to marketing, which means energy and resources can get expended based on assumptions, whims, and good sales pitches vs. data, analysis, and strategic goals.  The result?  Unknown value and potential waste of profits. For every company, it may not be feasible to bring in a marketer at this level and caliber; the costs of an executive search alone could be more than what is usually allocated in a market budget!  Bringing in an outside firm is also not always a smart economic investment.  So what is the internal champion of strategic marketing to do? My advice is find an ally–someone you trust who knows what questions to ask to put the potential for a marketing strategy into perspective, can help that get traction within the organization, and will assist with implementation at a cost in line with expected outcomes.  Large companies know that, for effective marketing results, there has to be a CMO at the helm; in small business, someone has to be the CMO (even if acting or undercover) so it might as well be you. Ready for your new role?  Let’s talk.  ...

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Evaluating a Marketing Person: Criterion #1

on September 3 in B-to-B | 0 comments

Criterion # 1: Sufficient Experience . . . As Evidenced by LinkedIn (or other professional online network) Background: I get asked sometimes by friends (even those who have made hiring mistakes in the past) about how they can “screen” an independent contractor or small marketing agency based on its leadership and what to look for.  This is the first in a series of  posts providing an answer to the questions: “How can I evaluate a marketing person (independent consultant or contractor) to help achieve my small business goals?” and “How can I be assured that I am engaging a qualified professional?” About the Criterion: Look at past and current titles as well as dates of employment listed and duties performed to see if the individual has held positions in marketing that are aligned with the services they are offering and you are requesting.   Consider the collective marketing experience and level of responsibility for results as well as accomplishments. Serious Red Flags: No previous work experience within one or more marketing departments or agencies Only one prior position in a marketing department and/or agency, especially if for a limited period of time, before going independent No recommendations directly related to marketing work or positions More Causes for Concern: Recommendations not related to the type of marketing services you are seeking The website links provided are broken or point to parked or expired domains A summary lists evidence of leadership and experience but no former positions (with dates) are provided as support No prior companies listed except the current marketing business A summary that provides ambiguous company goals All prior experience in an industry other than marketing Profile cites age and/or founding a company as an indicator of marketing expertise No actual marketing results/outcomes provided in recommendations or work detail If you have had experience with evaluating expertise using LinkedIn or another professional network profile, please share your stories.   (Future posts to address other criteria and evaluation methods; stay...

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