Once upon a time, in a land far, far away, there was a technology firm that had it all together. They had a strong sales team and two marketing managers, a website based on a modern, up-to-date platform, and a year poised for success – they would grow from a $4 million firm to a $5.25 million firm.
But in a blink of an eye, it all changed. A salesperson and one of the marketing managers quit, leaving the remaining staff overwhelmed and forcing the owners back to working IN the business instead of ON the business.
This company needed a small business marketing consultant, and if this situation hits home for you, you could benefit from one too. Unlike an ad agency, website shop, or marketing tactic fulfillment vendor (that is, someone who manages email, pay per click, etc.), a small business marketing consulting firm does it all; they can tell you how to get it all done – not just a limited scope of things.
A good small business marketing consultant might start your work together with an in-depth workshop covering your company’s strategy, how you talk about yourself, your short- and long-term goals, and, most importantly, your customer buying process.
And then it’s time to hit the trenches.
Let’s take the aforementioned technology firm that had it all together. When the salesperson and marketing manager left, the owners were forced to put many of their plans on the back burner because their resources had abruptly disappeared; a small business marketing consultant would step in and work with the remaining marketing staff to keep those plans on the front burner. The consultant would also help with a website redesign and website content edits as well as the updating of company literature. Changes would be made based on analytics and customer interviews.
Small Business Development Has Changed
The reality is that business development has fundamentally shifted. The internet is driving initial prospect contact; when it’s not online, it’s your referral network – and often, it’s both. A marketing consulting firm that specializes in small businesses will focus on finding new clients, helping with things like branding and images, and, most importantly, will look at your customer acquisition process holistically – that is, how the internet, social media, inbound marketing, outbound marketing, and referral marketing work together within your customers’ buying process.
You’d be hard pressed to find all the necessary skills in a single individual – you need resources to help with strategy, tactical execution, content creation, and using the technology that drives it all.
Maybe you’re the marketing manager – heck, maybe you’re the whole marketing team. A good small business marketing consulting organization will foster new skills and teach you better ways to get things done so you can work smarter, not harder. In addition to improving your business, these activities will make your job more secure.
Or, maybe you’re the business owner/director, in which case the small business marketing consultant will let you focus your energy on doing the things that are necessary to improve your skills in such a way that you can then grow your geography or profitability.
Ask yourself these four questions:
- Are there opportunities or openings in the market I’d like to take advantage of but can’t because I don’t have enough or the right people to do so?
- Do I feel like reaching out to current customers, creating and executing strategies for finding new customers, and building alliances/partnerships is a juggling act in which I could drop the balls at any time?
- Am I failing to use technology to help me find new business?
- Are my issues primarily due to time and staff constraints versus financial constraints?
If you said yes to all four, you could benefit from a small business marketing consultant.