Sian Burton, Marketing Strategist

Picture the scenario….you are the CEO of a successful SME, you’ve delivered year on year profit growth and have a market leading business. Then, out of nowhere, a competitor comes into the market, with a fresher and more nimble approach to business, your sales begin to fall and for the first time, that YOY profit you comfortably manage might be too much of a stretch this year…

What do you do, how can you fix this…. I believe the answer lies in smarter marketing!

So what does ‘smarter marketing’ really mean? Yes, it may sound like just another business buzz-term – but it could be the difference between winning and losing…

I’ve seen many cases where a once successful business has been all things to all people, and unfortunately, this translates into ‘generic’. When a competitor comes in and challenges your business, ‘generic’ isnt enough to maintain your position in the market. A successful company needs to be many things, but ‘generic’ is definitely not one of them.

If you find yourself in this position now is the time to implement ‘smarter marketing’ to fight back. For example, if your product delivery and customer service are market leading but other areas of your business need some work, then the ‘smart’ thing to do is to significantly ramp up how you communicate your strengths to your audiences. I’m not saying drop the ball with trying to make the other areas better, but just applying a tighter lens to your customer comms could make a world of difference.

Start by thinking about what your business is passionate about and the rest will naturally follow. A passionate brand is a differentiated brand in many customers’ eyes and this focus should open up a whole new market, where, if done properly, even your closest competitor will struggle to compete.

Secondly, it’s about tapping into and ‘smartly’ leveraging your database of loyal customers to increase their lifetime value. It’s well known that it takes significantly more time and money to acquire new customers, so getting your existing customers – who already know and trust your brand – to spend more, could unlock hidden value and drive results right where you need them the most, your bottom line!

This may sound easier said than done, but a happy customer will be more willing to shout about your business, so start by thinking of creative ways to ensure your customers are not just happy with your service, but absolutely delighted. The secret to this already exists within your own CRM and Data capability. Something as simple as giving every customer a birthday offer can make all the difference, or even putting in place an abandoned shopping basket reminder process could prompt more sales.

Finally, remember you are not Apple and trying to emulate the marketing strategy of a big brand simply won’t work on an SME scale! But, putting in place a few simple and focused techniques might just leave your new competitor running for the hills!

If you’re struggling to maintain your market position and would like support in applying smarter marketing, please feel free to drop me a message.