How do SMEs achieve strategic brand management with limited resources?

When it comes to executing the marketing function, small and medium businesses experience a number of challenges. Without the budget of a larger organisation, it’s not possible to hire a marketing team covering all the skills to fulfil all the different marketing needs that the business has. The demands of marketing are many and diverse. At the senior level, the marketing function needs to be able to develop and present thought-leading and accountable brand and marketing strategies and business cases and confidently persuade top management and the board of the merits of marketing initiatives. While at the mid and junior levels, marketing needs strong operational, project management and execution skills in a variety of disciplines: lead acquisition and nurture, content creation, campaigns, social, digital, events, SEO/SEM, advertising, media, CRM and more.

These are two quite different skills sets, and often, small and medium businesses (SMEs) have a single marketing person who cannot span both. They often have a more junior marketer who can execute the day-to-day marketing tasks and initiatives but is not experienced enough to develop marketing strategy - and there is no-one in the business who can coach and mentor them to grow and develop. At BrandMatters, we see this challenge particularly in mid-tier professional services businesses including accounting, financial services, legal and investment management firms, as they just don’t have the budget to hire the senior marketers that they really need. Or they may have a single, mid-level marketer who simply does not have the bandwidth to undertake all the marketing initiatives required for the business to grow.

Added to that is the reality that there is typically a low tenure rate for marketers. This turnover is a constant frustration – and a hefty expense - for businesses. The churn leads to disruption in the execution of marketing plans, lower confidence rates in marketing within the organisation, significant time spent searching for, interviewing and onboarding new recruits, and high recruitment costs, often at 20% of salary.

For start-ups and small businesses, it’s a big leap to employ their first marketing person, as it will take time for the marketing they undertake to start to generate sales and income for the business and hence pay for that marketing resource.

So how do SMEs develop a best-in-class marketing function, despite these challenges? How do they access all the different marketing skills they need, increase their marketing capacity, mentor and develop junior marketers, maintain stability and consistency, and reduce marketing recruitment costs? And how do they do this in an accountable and sustainable way?

The team at BrandMatters has been asking the same questions, and in response, we’ve developed BM Inside to remove the obstacles to best-in-class marketing for SMEs.

The BM Inside service places a BrandMatters marketer inside a business for as many days per week as they need, for as long a period as they need. It could be two days per week for three months, five days a week for 6 months or any other combination – the business decides what’s right for them. Best of all the service is completely flexible and can be started, stopped, and dialled up and down in line with requirements.

BrandMatters assigns an appropriate marketer according to the skill level that the business requires, and the business pays no recruitment costs. The resource can be up and running very quickly. The marketer becomes a seamless part of the client’s team – but at the same time remains a member of the BrandMatters team, with access to BrandMatters’ deep brand and marketing expertise. They can tap into the BrandMatters senior team members’ experience at any time, and their briefing, performance management and professional development is managed by us. In addition, BrandMatters maintains oversight of the ongoing execution of client deliverables and quality control, making the service completely accountable.

BM Inside creates immediate marketing momentum. BrandMatters’ knowledge of the client’s business combined with the practical experience and know-how of the marketer means the typical three-month ramp-up time of a new employee is eliminated.

BM Inside allows small businesses to bring on their first marketing resource in a right-sized, cost-effective way, so they can start to generate marketing returns before the business commits to a full-time employee. It allows medium businesses to bring on an additional, perhaps more senior, marketing resource to develop strategic marketing plans and coach and mentor junior marketers. And it allows resource-challenged organisations to bring on an extra pair of marketing hands quickly and cost-effectively as required.

As an added bonus, the BM Inside resource and the client have seamless access to BrandMatters’ design studio, making the management of marketing assets and execution of campaigns easy.

BM Inside has been created to take the pain of managing the marketing function away from SMEs, allowing them to concentrate on running and growing their businesses.

If your business could benefit from BM Inside, or you would like to find out more, or review one of our BM Inside successful case studies, please contact us.