With the prominent economic recessions, many companies have had to tighten their belts when it comes to marketing spend. One of the hardest hit entities are small businesses.
So how do small businesses begin to combat this?
The simple answer is with a strategic plan. Many people aren’t aware of this, but behind most pieces of communication there sits a Strategic Planner. A Strategic Planner is the person who decides what to say, who to say it to, when to say it, what medium to say it on and most importantly, how to position your brand competitively against other brands. A creative department will then take this and come up with the most appropriate, exciting and engaging way to deliver on the strategic plan. And get all the glory of course.
Win where you can
Most small businesses make the mistake of advertising for the sake of advertising, because it’s what you do, right? Wrong.
As a small business you have to choose your battles carefully and win where you can. If you are up against a large corporation, creating a radio commercial for a one week burst on an unpopular radio station is like throwing water into the wind. You are not going to win that battle because you are financially outmuscled.
Maybe that 100k is better spent sending direct mail to potential clients? Or maybe it is better spent adding an e-commerce platform to your site for online sales; or perhaps even better used for product development.
The point is that you need a plan
Maybe your strategic plan starts with a brand positioning? A competitive brand positioning is probably the most underrated and under-utilised marketing technique of all. Brands need to be more competitive and stop comparing themselves to others, but rather position themselves as a unique offering in the eyes of consumers.
How do you afford the resources as a small business?
The truth is that these days there are many places to find creative and strategic resources. Fortunately for small businesses, the South African creative industry is headed towards the outsourcing of creative freelancers. A local example of a service where you can access these skills would be www.creativeportal.co.za. This site can be used to fulfill any creative or strategic requirements you need as a small business without having to go through a traditional agency, which can be paralyzing or simply not viable for a small business due to the price tag.
So what must you take from this? Prepare for battle - have a strategic planner create a communication plan for your brand. This will inform what you say, how you say it, who you say it to and most importantly, how to win your brand battle.
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