Running a small business is not easy. Clients and customers can be fickle with their demands, ruining your long-term business plans. New laws and regulations will leave you scrambling to get the necessary papers, or face fines. Employees might suddenly decide to bail, leaving you understaffed at crucial moments.
There is no corporate reserve fund to get you out of trouble when times get tough. Equipment breaks down or becomes obsolete, bringing work to a standstill.
And then there is marketing.
Not having enough of it will leave your company dead in the water on the market. Having too much risks upsetting your customers. Having the wrong kind is equal to throwing money in the dumpster. And this is only the tip of the iceberg.
There are numerous practical marketing challenges which your company has to deal with on a daily basis, just so it can operate properly. In the rest of this article, we will take a look at five of the latter ones in order to highlight the issues all small business face from time to time.
1. Insufficient Resources
The most common issue marketing-related issue for small business is a lack of resources. Usually this boils down to budget constraints.
In order to create marketing content, a company either has pay someone internally to do it, or outsource it to a marketing firm. Both of these approaches can be costly, especially when you take into account that you might not even get a return on your investment. Occasionally, even if the budget allows for the creation of marketing content, there might not be suitable talent at hand, leaving you without a way to promote your effectively company.
While time is not a resource in the strict sense of the word, it is still available in limited quantities, which can be a problem. Everything related to marketing takes time, from developing a marketing strategy, to creating content, to finding out whether it is efficient. The worst part is that each of these activities can vary widely in duration, even on a yearly basis. This throws planning out of the window, leaving the fate of the company to chance. Even if everything goes well with marketing, the company might suffer other setbacks in the meantime, rendering your efforts pointless.
3. Choosing The Right Strategy
Time and resources come into play only after you have devised a marketing strategy. But in no way is the process anything near straightforward. As cursory search for “marketing” on Google will show you, there are so many approaches to take in marketing, that it becomes nigh impossible to find the right strategy without expert assistance.
On its own, digital marketing probably has more variants than the rest of marketing combined. To add insult to injury, a lot of supposedly “100% effective” marketing methods online are scams in the best of situations, and gross violations of consumer rights in the worst.
4. Finding The Right Audience
Not only is finding the right marketing strategy problematic, but finding the right audience can be as difficult, if not more. If you misjudge who your customers are, your top of the line, expert-certified marketing campaign can end up completely backfiring. Moreover, it’s tempting to think that your ideal consumer will buy your product or service immediately after being exposed to marketing, but in reality, you have to make a concentrated effort to convert even a small subset of your potential consumer-base. In other words, you can do everything right in terms of marketing, but customers might still seek out your competition, leaving you with nothing to show for your efforts.
In a perfect world, once you have figured out a marketing strategy that seems to work for your company, your job would be done. Unfortunately, the world of marketing is in constant turmoil. Techniques get deprecated, and new ones take their place, often employing cutting-edge tech.
It can be very hard for small business to keep up in this race.
For starters, it takes continuous investing just to stay in the game, and success is never guaranteed. And unlike old equipment, there is nothing you can do with marketing strategies once they become obsolete.
There are very few marketing strategies that managed to stay relevant over longer periods of time. For example, while business cards and sticker printing is still effective, SMS ads are already being phased out in favor of other digital marketing methods.
Finding a marketing approach that works is a great challenge for small businesses. With so many pitfalls to watch out for, it is sometimes comes as a surprise when certain companies manage to succeed despite the unfavorable odds.
Nevertheless, with enough dedication, creativity and planning, even small business can create a marketing campaign that will make customers line-up in front of their proverbial door.