Marketing Insights for SMBs
SMBs owners, in the realm of small business owners, it’s no secret that many wear multiple hats, and among the most crucial is being the head of marketing. During the nascent days of a business, marketing is everything. It aids in establishing proof of concept for your product or service, integrates into your business projects, and without it, progress becomes an uphill battle.
Yet, what intrigues me most about marketing through small and medium-sized businesses(SMBs) is how their brand embodies the passion they hold for their products or services. The potency, dedication, and innovations of SMBs are incredibly impactful, breathing life into every interaction with consumers, especially in their approach to branding and marketing.
I’ve traversed my career within marketing—both within agencies and within prominent brands. However, the most profound lessons I’ve imbibed in marketing were during the years I owned and operated my small business.
What I’ve learned and witnessed daily in serving SMB is that creating a formidable brand doesn’t always necessitate extensive budgets, large teams, or global presence. In fact, almost half of SMBs handle their marketing efforts entirely on their own. How do they do it? What’s the secret behind establishing a robust, authentic brand?
Why Small Businesses Excel in Marketing?
Here are three things that, in my opinion, truly exemplify the efficiency of SMBs when it comes to branding and marketing;
1. SMBs Prioritize Strong Customer Relationships
No one understands their customers better than an SMB owner—not only because they are passionate about their company but also because their customers, often friends and members of their community, provide invaluable feedback. This relationship goes beyond transactions, allowing SMBs to grasp new needs, listen to feedback, and empower what’s working.
I’ve seen this firsthand working with a client, Generation Teach, a nonprofit organization dedicated to creating communities that eliminate generational inequity and educational disparities by educating, empowering, and developing future leaders.
They support hundreds of teaching fellows every year, but their aid surpasses mere funds. Ben Nims, Chief Operating Officer, personally visits Generation Teach sites, fostering relationships with students and teachers. As Ben says, “When I’m with my students, teaching fellows, fellow educators, and families, they can see me as a colorful person, someone relatable, and they feel comfortable.” This presence helps him understand better and serve his community.
What I know most about the most successful small businesses is their preference for proximity to their customers. Among the natural advantages compared to big companies is their ability to forge enduring, trustworthy relationships, better serving their consumers.
2. SMBs Authentically Share Stories
When I launched my small business selling kids’ items, I realized I needed to embody branding and marketing wisdom that transcended beyond me as a business owner. Promoting my products, engaging with customers, and activating the scale of my business demanded a practical understanding of brand and marketing.
Understanding the backdrop of my marketing and finding the most effective ways to awaken interest among my target audience wasn’t straightforward! Determining the most impactful and engaging way to communicate my objectives to listeners took numerous trials and errors. It was essential to refine my own worth proposition—why should someone buy from me over an alternative? Fortunately, I had daily focus groups (yes, I was actually talking to customers!) that provided invaluable insights for adjustment and learning.
However, this dynamism isn’t unique to me. SMBs excel in marketing because they invest deeply and passionately in their businesses. Starting any business and investing your time, energy, and resources doesn’t matter until you’re genuinely committed. This authenticity often translates into SMB brands and marketing, and it’s truly powerful.
3. SMBs Always Innovate and Prepare Their Brand
Successful SMBs never stagnate—they can’t afford to. They are at the forefront in their local communities and markets, knowing what makes their products or services distinct and valuable. This agility means standing apart from the crowd, constantly preparing and innovating to maintain their competitive edge.
An exemplary elevation comes from a customer like Dagne Dover, a mission-driven company designing “problem-solving bags” for women. The company, rooted in women’s empowerment, opened its first bricks-and-mortar store in March 2020 in New York City, only to be hit by a pandemic. Co-founders Deepa Gandhi, Jessy Dover, and Melissa Mash swiftly pivoted to include a special feature for check-out donations for communities and groups most affected later. They also adjusted their product line, initiating travel kits that carried masks, sanitizers, and bottles for the store’s immediate travel.
In a time when customers felt financial strain and had to scrutinize purchases, Dagne Dover stood capable of creating something valuable for their consumers: a moment of relational connection from a company that understood who their customers were. This integrity breeds customer loyalty and business success that’s on the rise.
All businesses, like SMBs, may not move swiftly or aggressively, but every business can learn from their determination to value and loyalty. The attention to value and loyalty often reflects in how they market their products and, ultimately, how adept they become at branding. And for that reason alone, the brands that create some of the strongest, freshest, and most enduring that I’ve seen. That’s why I’ll always champion SMBs.
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