The Small/Medium Sized Business (SMB) Challenge
Most surveyed SMB owners agreed on common themes when asked about problems they face in trying to grow the marketing activities.
The need to keep costs down is an especially common theme for SMB owners. Professional Marketing agencies are typically geared towards working with larger customers as that is where the majority of marketing budgets reside. As such the agency structures are designed to work with such customers. It is common to have multiple layers of account management, diverse and complex team structures and as a result high touch, costly service. It is very difficult for Small Business to engage with a Professional Marketing agency due to this and frequently SMBs are not able to afford the level of service provided by such agencies.
Finding and dealing with multiple small vendors is an alternative to a one stop shop agency. The challenge with small marketing vendors is that they typically specialize in a particular aspect of marketing and lack the automation tools to structure the work in a way that is easy to manage. This typically leave the customer without centralized tracking and archiving. A SMB employee must also typically deal with multiple small firms for various aspects such as graphic design, email management, search engine marketing. In the end the experience is disjointed and the ownership of process management and critically tracking and archiving is left on the SMB which typically does not have the tools to do it effectively.
Large companies have the funds to invest in full service agencies or the employee power to develop in house expertise. With the addition of strong brand recognition relatively small investments yield meaningful results. Small companies find themselves competing for the customer base, used to professional, pleasing almost organic content while having much smaller budgets and brands that are typically not recognized outside of niche markets. In the SMB space there is simply lack of scale and each investment must be strategic and cost effective.
Building out expertise is a lengthy and costly process. Small businesses find themselves competing in new markets with new media and the fast moving digital space where marketing tools and vehicles change frequently. Relying on external expertise becomes key. We hire and screen for best candidates and create small agile teams to work with customers on a variety of marketing projects.
It is difficult to find and trust new vendors. Large agencies usually do not target small companies and small agencies do not have an easily accessible track record. As such it is a challenge to identify marketing firms and ensure they have delivered good output in the past.