What is marketing's role for an SME?
Enabling business growth. Building a brand. Creating competitive advantage. Various responsibilities and roles an SME's marketing team has can be grouped into these three buckets. And among the three responsibilities, enabling business growth is and should be the top responsibility. Building a distinct brand and creating competitive advantage are to eventually enable a sustainable yet exponential growth of the company. Here are three steps to lay the foundation for your marketing team to perform the important role of growth enabler.
3 Steps to turn marketing into a growth enabler for your SME
Step 1. Recognize that marketing is an investment.
First thing first, recognize that marketing is an investment. It is an investment, not a cost, because what you spend will and should bring you a return.
In a way, investing in marketing is like investing in a property. When you rent a place, the monthly rent you pay is a cost. There is no financial return. You simply exchange your cash with a place to live. When you buy a house, on the other hand, your monthly mortgage payment is not a cost but an investment. At the moment of having a monthly mortgage payment leave your bank account, it may feel like an expense but you will earn a profit when you sell the house. Of course, you want to invest in the right property that will appreciate its value over time. Marketing is the same. At the moment of spending your hard-earned revenue on marketing initiatives, it may feel like it's an expense. But when you invest in the right marketing initiatives, you will see a return on investment.
Step 2. Use the 6PM (6-Pillar Marketing) Framework to know which marketing initiatives are the right ones to invest in.
There is no one-size-fits-all formula. As every business is different and their business objectives are different, the marketing initiatives they undertake should also be different. There is one universal truth though when it comes to marketing investment: the importance of having a plan before jumping right in.
Just the way you do your homework, clarify your financial goals, and create a financial plan before you purchase a property if you were to make the best possible investment decisions, you want to do your homework, clarify your business goals, and create a marketing plan before you invest in marketing.
The 6PM (6-Pillar Marketing) Framework is one tool that an SME can utilize to create a balanced, comprehensive marketing plan. A balanced plan is necessary for you to see a healthy return. Focusing heavily on one aspect of marketing without taking other aspects into consideration is a costly mistake.
Take a look at this scenario. You want to focus heavily on social media because it seems that everyone is using it. So you do spend resources on social media. What do you want people to do after they see your social media posts? You want them to take actions that will bring you a business outcome - whether that is registering for your webinar or signing up for a free trial. If you don't invest in your website, for example, where people will visit after seeing your social media posts to sign up for that webinar or free trial, there is a slim chance they turn into a lead or a prospect. If your website doesn't provide the experience they were expecting, they will leave your website without taking the action you want them to take. And if so, what did you invest in social media for?
The 6PM Framework helps you thoroughly examine your customers' journey with your business from the start to the end and create a balanced marketing plan so that your investment in one area of marketing can support the investment in the other areas.
Step 3. Create your own 6PM Framework
The 6PM Framework visualizes the six key aspects of your marketing plan. No matter how small your marketing team and budget are, you want to consider all six aspects to create a plan that suits your business and that brings you a return.
The image below shows some example activities and initiatives that belong to each of the pillars. Depending on where you are in your marketing journey, each pillar of your 6PM Framework may have one or several elements in it.
The 5Q marketing strategy template below (click here to download a pdf version) can help you ask yourself the right questions to come up with the appropriate elements for each of the pillars.
To learn more details about how to use the template, watch a workshop recording below or contact me at 6PM@mihaeahn.com to create your own 6PM Framework together.