The Five Biggest Marketing Challenges for SMEs

The five biggest marketing challenges for small and medium sized companies are:

1. Time

Marketing absorbs time. Many marketing channels are time-intensive such as:

  • Social Media
  • Web sites
  • Networking
  • Blogs
  • Information marketing
  • Brochures
  • Monthly newsletter

These all take time and any business needs to budget the time something takes as well as its cost.

2. Money

Money for marketing remains a constant challenge. We speak to a lot of businesses who say they have no marketing budget. This is the equivalent to saying I’m not planning to still be in business next year.

Even if you’re not marketing for new customers you need to work on your relationship with current and old ones and even then you’ll lose some of these. I recommend a minimum monthly spend of £100 on marketing. Any business can afford this and this really is the bare minimum.

Beware of cheap marketing though as this can do more harm than good.

3. Reaching Their Clients Effectively

This is always a challenge for SMEs.

How do they effectively reach their target market?  Many place adverts, build web sites and Twitter in vain.

Different markets respond to different marketing channels. You need to find out which your market responds to best and then focus on these.

Note: even within a closely defined target market prospects within it will respond to different channels. I have noticed that most business people are either phone or e-mail people; very few are both. So it pays to focus on a range of channels your target market responds to rather than just one.

4. Measuring the Return You Get

This is a challenge but it is something that every company must do for each campaign it runs. This is vital as it shows you what is working and what isn’t.

You would be surprised by the amount of money wasted by businesses in ineffective marketing.

Remember it is easier for someone to sell you marketing than it is for them to generate you a return.

5. Producing and Implementing an Effective Marketing Plan

This is, by far, the biggest challenge for most companies. The vast majority of marketing is sporadic and often reactive. It usually gets done because of one of the below scenarios:

  1. I have no customers so I best start marketing
  2. I have a marketing budget, I best spend it

Companies can reap major benefits by having and executing a consistent and tailored marketing plan.

Successful companies are those who have and work consistently on a marketing plan. The most successful companies are those who have worked out a marketing system that attracts and retains their MPM (Most Profitable Market).

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