Friday, October 22, 2010

Marketing - Big Business vs. Small Business

Over my more than 25 years of marketing experience, I‘ve come to put customers in two distinctive camps, and for lack of better terms - I’ll call then small business and big business. Now this may be a bit simplistic but it will do for the purposes of my thoughts on this issue.

Big business has always had an advantage, and it is not what you might think. Sure they have bigger budgets more people, etc. but, the long term view is the most telling advantage that big business has over small business.  Big business by its nature has to plan long term and, budget for those plans. Small business on the other hand doesn’t always plan as well as it should... usually a product of making a living; but for those that do plan long term and think big the rewards are great … you get to become a big business!

Small business tends to plan short term and not think in a longer time frame or on a larger scale. This short term thinking includes clients who choose to try and keep much of their costs for marketing initiatives, internal and by internal we mean using internal staff and resources. Now to properly frame the discussion we need to understand what the term, marketing can include. It can encompass sales, promotions, franchising, customer service, data management, branding, advertising, etc….. as you can see a very important part of any business.

While most small businesses understand the need, they often pay lip service to planned marketing and as a result long term planning of marketing initiatives for small business fall by the way side or we hear the all too often, “we can handle it internally.” This usually means handing over the responsibility to someone in the organization who is already overloaded with work, and whose skills are remotely related to the demands of the marketing initiative. The result is incomplete, slow and short term implementation… all the things that small business is supposed to be better at than big business.

Our suggestion is to consult with professionals, put a long term plan together, think big and then put a practical plan together that makes the best use of your internal resources and qualified external resource to get the initiatives in place and effectively monitored for performance. Don’t short change your company with short term thinking.

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