Why Is Strategic Marketing Important For SMBs?
Small and mid-size businesses, otherwise known as SMBs, generally have smaller budgets and limited resources for marketing compared to larger companies. However, with the right marketing strategy, SMBs can compete with the top dogs—no problem! Strategic marketing allows brands to allocate resources efficiently and use practical approaches to grow their brand and develop customer loyalty.
Brooke Chapman, a marketing strategist and Executive Director at ThreeBy3 and 9Boxes, shares her insight on how her team created a successful and easily repeatable marketing strategy. In this blog, Hollywood Branded discusses why creating a systemized approach when it comes to marketing is critical for your brand.
A Little More About Brooke
Brooke Chapman is the Executive Director for ThreeBy3 and 9Boxes, where she works to help small and medium-sized businesses around the world achieve sustainable, repeatable success in marketing. With a proven track record of delivering strong commercial results for large organizations in the professional services and not-for-profit sectors, Brooke is skilled in marketing strategy and business growth, customer experience, brand development, and team development & optimization.
Interview Transcript Highlights
Question: How did you get here today? What made you this marketing Guru who is now leading the charge for SMBs all over?
Answer: Well, to tell you the truth, Stacy, I'm a little bit of a reluctant marketer. I was a little late to the party. I'm the daughter of a marketer, my dad was an advertising executive, and he spent my childhood and my early adulthood telling me that I was a marketer, and I did everything I could to fight against it. I was a journalist. I worked in public relations. But guess what? I ended up working in marketing. But at the time, you know, I was just finding my lane, and I was desperate for it to be something new and original in my family, at least. In the end, I had to admit that I am a marketer; I absolutely loved it. I love the challenge of looking at a market, understanding it, customers' unique problems, how we can solve it, and how we can really get traction with audiences through marketing. So I do love it; I fully embraced it now.
I've got experience, as you say in my bio, across professional services, across not-for-profit, and the care sector. Now, I'm working with SMBs in terms of really giving them access to corporate-level strategy and corporate-level thinking, which there has been a huge gap in our industry, in my opinion.
Question: Can you share a little bit more about the systemized approach your team created on how SMBs should be tackling marketing?
Answer: We have put together a repeatable, very transparent framework for how you can attack marketing strategy. Because what we find is that, particularly in the SMB space, it's really unknown what strategic marketing is. A lot of business leaders think marketing is their logo, it's their Facebook page, it's the ads that they're running through online sources. And it is all of those things, but that's really the window dressing at the front end. There's so much more in the back end that you need to do in terms of building strategic foundations to set your marketing up for success.
So the directors of our business were all former CMOs of large multinationals, and we saw that there was a gap in the market with SMBs. They just didn't have access to strategic marketing. It was really, you know, going to agencies and engaging with tactics without the strategy to back it up. And that's why it's so hit-and-miss for these multimedia businesses when they spend money on marketing. So we developed the 9boxes, which is a framework for a business of any size, any industry, any geography, and any agent stage to really look at the nine core areas of marketing and sales to benchmark their performance using our online diagnostic tool, and then you can engage with our services to improve your score and to become fit for purpose in a marketing sense.
We have three core areas: there's the Find boxes, which are around your market position, around the capability of your marketing team, and also around your channel mix. Then we have the Convert boxes, which are around mapping the buyer's journey and also around your communication—that's where the brand comes in and all of your touchpoints. And then also starting conversations, so how sales and marketing work together, what that handover process looks like. And then, lastly, we've got the Deliver boxes, which are all around making sure you've got the right products and services, making sure that your client management is really strong—so knowing your good customers and also knowing your bad customers—and then, finally, client service. So, making sure that you're always working to secure more investment from your existing customers and that you're building lifetime value. It's always easier to serve or to sell to an existing customer than to attract a new one.
Question: What are the challenges or things that keep SMBs from thinking that they need your nine steps or that they need to build a strategy?
Answer: I think that it is a lack of understanding as to what strategic marketing actually is, and what it delivers to the business. So often, we have conversations with business leaders, and we explain to them the work that we do and how we would partner with them, and they will come back to us and say, I just didn't realize that that was marketing. There's a real mindset that marketing is your ads, it's your brochures, it's your videos, and that that's just really the front end. The back end is so important.
Having a seat at the table at product development, business planning, setting targets. Marketing really needs to be a part of that. Marketing helps you to size your market; to validate that. Just that clarity on customer, that is so central to any organization's growth. I think that if business leaders can understand that a little bit better around how critical marketing is and what strategic marketing actually looks like, that would really help us to change some of those concepts.
Question: What are other mistakes that you see people make when it comes to marketing and strategy?
Answer: I would say that there are really four key aspects that businesses miss. First of all, it's not reviewing position. So, everything flows from the position. Sometimes we will have clients come to us and say, "yeah, look, my strategy would be good, but I really just need a website, or I just need a new video. Can you just do that for me?" And you know we say, "look, if your position is wrong, everything else is kind of scattered. It's hard to get right." So yeah, let's look at your position. Let's make sure that we review that and that it's clear internally and externally. Because every message, every website, every video that you do flows from that positioning, and it has to really land with clients. So reviewing position is the first thing.
The second thing is not doing customer insights. This is a critical one for us. We do this with all of our clients because, in our view, if you're not speaking to customers and doing research on a regular basis, you're just another marketer with an opinion, and we really want to elevate ourselves out of that space. We do customer insights; sometimes they're very small projects, sometimes they're quite large, depending on how many markets, and the scale of business, and the problems we need to solve the gaps that close. But doing customer insights is incredibly valuable for businesses to really understand what's going on with their customers and to be able to build a marketing strategy around it. So not doing that is a pretty critical mistake.
Next would be not mapping the customer journey. So it's really important, once you understand your customer, to really map the pathway to purchase. And then that's where you can design a channel mix to match all of those points along the way, all of those key milestones, and how you need to influence those key milestones in those moments that matter throughout the pathway to purchase. So yeah, not mapping the customer journey is a mistake.
And then, you know, basing your channel mix on that customer journey is another thing that we see clients doing just picking channels or picking tactics rather than being strategic and really thinking about where their customers are present and want to have a conversation with you.
Check Out The Podcast!
Brooke has so much great information from her experience assisting SMBs all over the world in achieving sustainable, repeatable marketing strategies that are successful. Check out the podcast below to learn more about creating great visuals!
Every week we have a marketing professional on our show to share their tips, tricks, and lessons learned from their professional experience. Check out some of our other podcast blogs from earlier this year:
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