Three simple things small B2B businesses can do to help grow.
Business and brand growth is difficult to achieve. A Brand’s success depends on lots of people who don’t know you very well, don’t think about you that much, and don’t buy you very often. So, it’s important to base your marketing decision making on sound insight, support that with challenging ideas and distinctive creative, and then measure the results of your activity.
Think insight, idea, and impact! Firstly, identify your winning human insight and the problem you are going to solve in a way that is better than any of your competitors. Secondly, identify your marketing idea, the thing that will make you memorable and recognisable and stand out from the crowd. Then test that it works hone the best delivery to get the right form of messaging and quickest understanding that results in the desired action you want from your customers. Thirdly, you will have identified the desired outcomes you want to achieve from the work (the impact you wish to make) and so you must measure the impact is has and continue to refine its delivery.
Insight: Small businesses often think that obtaining insight can only be done through expensive qualitative or quantitative studies. Smaller businesses often say: ‘I don’t have the budget and don’t have the time. I don’t have access to customers, and I don’t know how to recruit them’. You’ve simply got to be market orientated but, rather than just going into externally sourced research mode, visit two or three customers or potential customers in your key target group. Have a one-to-one conversation over a coffee you will be surprised how open and honest people can be when you are asking them about their insights experience frustrations and needs. Aim to find out: ‘Who really is this customer? Do they fit the portrait you have in their heads? What do they want, and why can’t they get it in the way they want it? What do they currently buy and why? What are the most important buying sequences?’ You will be amazed by the useful insight and consistent themes you can identify in understanding who the competition is directly from the customer and what they want and need from you. Once you have the insight(s), you can set your objectives and get on with developing your ideas on how to communicate it in the most appropriate way to your key audience.
There is a very helpful article by Michaela Jefferson that can help with your thinking.
‘Expensive isn’t always better’: How marketers can produce quality insight on a slim budget
Idea: Small businesses are always asking themselves – How do I break into the market with the established big boys when I don’t have the funds to compete? The answer is to think differently and be bravely creatively. Most businesses are quite happy following the established codes of the market, say and doing the same things as everyone else does. So be bold in your attitude, take on the role of the challenger to the bigger brands and be combative. People like to support the ‘underdog’, and a new and upcoming business can be an attractive prospect for your customers as it gives them something to beat the big boys over the head with a challenge for them not to rest on their laurels. If you can reassure customers that small is beautiful and because you’re not number one, you’ll be better, more agile and work harder you can turn everything on its head and play size to your advantage. When you take up a challenger position you can benefit in several ways. In positioning yourself directly against a big player you can piggyback on the hard work that the dominant brands have put into developing the market and borrow some of that salience for yourself. Having let them do all the groundwork you can now work out how to eat their dinner. You know where the big boy sits, and you can pick on the elements of weakness the bigger brands have and contrast them to areas of strength you have. The best bit is only small challenger brands can do this and it’s a win win scenario. A big brand challenging a smaller one directly would appear to be a bully. So, they have to hold back and not respond, because, if they do respond, all that happens is you win anyway.
It also helps to appeal to the human nature. Everyone was given their first chance at some point and if you can appeal to people on that human level they often like to give people a leg up as they feel better themselves. So, think creatively be disruptive challenge and engage in an emotive and simple and direct way
Having established your stance you can then generate the ideas you feel may work to deliver this and test and hone the messaging to establish what works best and then continue to craft and develop. This is one of the main reasons we developed SenseCheck.com because often you are the worst person to judge your own marketing ideas and messaging and an independent objective perspective can be really insightful and help you avoid simple pitfalls that you may not be able to see.
Impact: Don’t pull back from measuring the impact of your marketing. It is the only way you will learn and get better at what you do. There is no simple playbook of does and don’ts that guarantees success. So, adopt a test learn and test again mentality in honing what works for you accept it is a continuous journey and process of sharpening learning and going again. But do stop marking your own homework it won’t help in the long run.