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3 Ways Marketing Drives Business Growth for SMEs

As a CEO, you think long-term. You see the big picture. You are not in the business of a short-term success but a long-term success. Of course, short-term results need to be there for you to continue your journey but the ultimate goal is not a short-term profit.

This way of thinking should be applied to your marketing as well. While generating short-term results is necessary to justify a continuous investment, its objective should be enabling a sustainable, long-term business growth. And this has to be reflected in the KPIs of your marketing initiatives and staff.

Here are three specific ways marketing drives growth and long-term success of your business:

  • Building the Brand

  • Creating Competitive Advantage

  • Putting Customer Experience First

Building the Brand

Branding is all about establishing desirable perception about your business. When you hear "Apple", "Nike", or "Tesla", do you have a distinct image and feeling that immediately come to your mind? That’s their brand. That's your perception about those companies. That separates them from their competitors.

According to Jim Collins and Jerry Porras in their book, Built to Last, those companies that do last several decades are clear on their core values and core purpose. In other words, they have a distinct brand. In his New York Times best selling book, Start with Why, Simon Sinek emphasizes that knowing your “why” is critical for your business’s success because people buy from your “why”.

Marketing contributes to the growth of your business by creating desirable perception about your company which influences your target audience’s purchase decision now and in the future.

Creating Competitive Advantage

There were 31.7 million small businesses in the United States in 2020. The number grew by 3.15% from the previous year and grew by 7.09% over the three-year period from 2017 (Source: Oberlo). What makes you stand out in the extremely crowded market? What differentiates you from your competitors and what makes you more desirable? I’m sure what you offer (products or services) is excellent. I’m sure many of your competitors’ offers are excellent too.

To stand out in the crowded market, according to Michael Hyatt in his book, Platform: Get Noticed in a Noisy World, you need both a compelling product and a significant platform. And these two are what your business requires to create a competitive advantage in today’s hyper competitive environment. Product/offer development and platform building are marketing’s responsibility and how marketing contributes to the business growth.

Platform here means your own “place” where you can communicate and connect with your target audience and stand out from the crowd. A website and social media are basic platforms most businesses have. Creating a platform (such as creating a website and social media accounts) is easier than ever before. But because of that very fact, building and and managing a “significant” platform is becoming harder. Here are two tips:

Tip 1. Use the 6PM (6-Pillar Marketing) Framework to figure out the most effective and efficient ways to build your significant platform. Some of the ways you can build that significant platform are content marketing, SEO, and event marketing. Refer to this blog to learn more about the 6PM Framework: The 6PM (6-Pillar Marketing) Framework: the What, Who, and Why.

Tip 2. As your marketing matures, I recommend imagining a signature platform for your business. Let me elaborate it with my own story. ProServeIT, a company where I lead a marketing department, hosts an annual virtual conference for nonprofits in North America called #Empower. It has attracted over 4,000 people every year. This annual conference is the significant platform for us. When we started the annual conference few years ago, a virtual conference wasn’t as common (it was before COVID) and it was a perfect way to serve the charity sector which represents a large percentage of our customer base and we have had support from Microsoft, our partner. Investing in this platform has been aligned well with various other business objectives. I share this example to help you imagine and envision your own signature platform as your marketing matures. It is definitely not something you’d undertake in year one of your marketing journey.

Putting Customer Experience First

Another way marketing contributes to the growth of your business is by putting customer experience first. Customer experience should be part of marketing’s responsibility and it should be an important one. People expect a great buying experience. When marketing owns customer experience, your business can make sure a coherent experience from the first moment they are introduced to your brand to the purchase and post-purchase stages.

A great experience matters in the beginning of the customer journey because you have just few seconds before you lose your target audience’s attention. People’s attention span is less than 8 seconds these days.

A great experience matters in the middle of the buying journey because most of the education and evaluation stages of the buying journey is done without talking to a sales person. While they go through their buying journey, they compare the experience with your brand to that with your competitors. If you aren’t providing the experience that your target audience is looking for, somebody definitely is.

A great experience matters at the end of buying journey because there never is an end. Providing a great experience to your existing customers leads to more business earned from them and referrals from the happy customers.


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