Use a Consultant to Overcome Small Business Marketing Challenges

20 04 2013

When you are starting, revamping, adding a new product line, or rebranding your company, there often comes a time when you look at your marketing strategy and wonder, “Is this right? “Have I looked at all possible options”?  These questions do not arise because of lack of experience or education in marketing. In fact, many small business owners do have either a business background or higher education in the subject.  According to a poll done by the National Federation of Independent Business nearly half of all small business owners possess at least a bachelors degree, with nearly half of those having majored in business.  Having an education in business or even a background in marketing is a strength, and can provide you as a business owner with some advantages.

However, whether or not you have a business degree or background in marketing, as a small business owner you will still have several common challenges to successfully implementing a marketing strategy for your business. These challenges are why it is imperative to either contract a marketing consultant for their expertise and specialization, or hire a full time marketing director.  The most common challenges are: Time, perspective, research, current marketing trends, and implementation.

  • Time is the biggest obstacle to many small business owners. With so many parts of a business to run, trying to handle all aspects of it on your own is very overwhelming. Unless you can honestly dedicate the necessary time to your marketing effort, without hampering other functions of your business, you need a marketing consultant.
  • Perspective is an often overlooked challenge in the marketing field. Typically business owners look at a product and how it will be branded, promoted, priced, and placed through what we want, not as how the consumer desires or needs it. Having an expert in marketing who is in touch with the needs of your target market is critical to optimizing the ‘four P’s’: Product, Promotion, Pricing, and Placement.Marketing Mix
  • Research is a critical measure to undertake to understand exactly who you are targeting, what methods of marketing work best to reach them (do you use traditional, social, video, word of mouth, or some combination of these advertising components), and who your competition is.  This is important whether you are a start-up or an established small business expanding locations or product line.
  • Marketing Trends are similar to perspective, however the difference in marketing trends is in planning for future events. A good marketing strategy will use a SWOT analysis to measure your companies strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats to help with forecasting various internal and external trends that will affect your business. For example, if you are in the roofing business, your market depends on many factors: the building industry, the environment and climate changes, economy, and government regulations. A good marketing consultant will help you to plan for most foreseeable events, so you can have a contingency for best or worst case scenarios. If there is a market trend that shows a shifting from shingles to Spanish tile in your area, you want to be prepared for that, and know who your potential suppliers could be. Or maybe there is an increased interest in PV solar installations, so you would be wise to co-market and work with a solar contractor for additional opportunities in that industry.
  • Implementation. OK, so you finally have taken the time, done the necessary marketing research, looked at marketing trends, and have gained an outside perspective on your customers needs and wants. Now what? Now, you need to formulate a marketing strategy and implement it into your daily business operations. This is where it gets hard, because this is where the time factor really comes into play.  You have done all this work and to not use it is not just wasteful, it can ruin your business.  A marketing consultant will help you draft your marketing strategy, and then if you desire, they can either implement it for you, or find the right person to do it.  Implement your Strategy

The goal of any marketing plan is to do two things: Increase your brand awareness and increase your conversions. If you are simply getting the word out about your product, but not gaining more customers, there may be an issue with pricing, placement, or even the product itself. Your conversions are great but you find that they are mostly repeat clients or you are not reaching the percentage of the target market you desire, you may need to alter your promotional methods. Again, working with a marketing consultant can help you achieve this, but there is one final piece of advice to offer. Make sure whomever you work with as a consultant is a willing team-member and has a buy in to your product.  If they cannot empathize with your passion and share in your desire to be successful, then you may want to look elsewhere. They may be a great consultant, but perhaps your particular industry is just not the right one for them to consult on. Do your due diligence and find your success!

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6 05 2013
Absolutely Terrifying Marketing | Tayloe Marketing & Consulting

[…] more of a challenge to put a comprehensive marketing strategy together.  As we have mentioned in other blogs, using a consultant is a great way to gain knowledge and put forth a plan of action to better serve […]

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