When it comes to marketing, these preconceptions are very common amongst business leaders. Especially in the small and medium sized business (SMB) space.
But I want to show you a new side to quality and what it could mean for your business – and its positive (yes positive!) impact on your marketing budget – and in fact the bottom line of your business.
So if you’re a SMB business leader putting together your B2B marketing budget recommendation for 2017 open your mind to a new perspective on quality.
Scale-up B2B marketing budget recommendation = lean
It’s not surprising that you may equate quality with high costs.
You’ve made it beyond the first two painful start-up years on a shoe-string marketing budget. However, during the scale-up years that follow it’s likely you’ll still need to generate demand with careful investment.
Business comes in via referrals and you use your contacts to generate those early results. Marketing may also be in the mix using your website to generate leads, possibly some Google Adwords campaigns, and email marketing. It’s not perfect and you suspect that some of it is a waste of money but times are good and you are busy.
Using this ad hoc, tactical approach to marketing you manage to keep demand coming in at a reasonable pace, whilst keeping up with the demands of actually running the business. The business has expanded and headcount is growing – yet marketing costs are still minimal. Happy days you think.
Then one day you hit the plateau. Demand is not growing exponentially anymore and you come to the realisation that if the business is to continue to grow you need to get serious and strategic about marketing.
SME B2B marketing budget recommendation = quality
At this point you have a choice to make about marketing. A kind of crossroads. (One day you may even look back and wonder what would have happened if you had chosen the other path.)
- You can choose to remain in start-up mode.
- Or you can make the shift towards the quality of marketing your SMB now needs.
The point here is not the cost of either path but its effectiveness in generating incremental revenue.
If an activity is not costing much but is not bringing in leads then this low quality marketing activity has a high cost to the business – and vice versa.
The impact of quality on….
From the outset, marketing activity should be the product of a clear strategy. A strategy that supports the business objectives and drives towards achieving longer term goals.
Marketing strategy definition is not a skill that every business has in-house. It’s more common than you think. But recognising the need for help may save the business thousands in wasted ad hoc marketing tactics that produce no tangible results.
Every business needs quality leads that convert. Good quality marketing means that targeting is accurate and that leads generated are a good use of time for marketing to nurture and sales to follow up on.
Content says everything about your business. Through content your prospects form an opinion about your products and services, your company intellect, your integrity and thought leadership, your influence and reputation in the market.
Content drives that wheel of marketing activity so there will always be a huge demand for new, valuable, unique content to fuel it. Quality vs not-so-great content? It’s a big risk to take when the opportunity to elevate the business is open to you. Here’s some tools that will help you to get started.
The customer journey
What does a customer experience when they interact with your business? What touchpoints do you have and how do you make these better? The quality of the customer journey impacts on customer perceptions about how easy it is to deal with you and your reaction times in response to their needs.
Design quality pays dividends. Every piece of your company’s visual identity is involved in how the outside world forms a picture of your brand. And in how it makes assumptions about your worth and professionalism. From websites to exhibition stands, emails to brochures, printed manuals to case studies. This is an area where quality is of paramount importance.
Allocating very little or nothing to your B2B marketing budget recommendation for PR for the year may seem like an obvious place to save money. Perhaps you plan to send out a few press releases yourself. However the power of a short, sharp high quality campaign and a well targeted piece of PR is not to be under estimated. And it may actually cost less than continual, plodding PR activity.
PR can save reputations, take an idea viral or hit a nerve within the industry that sees your firm as the expert in a given situation. Just the growth hack you’re looking for.
Time is short to generate demand. The competition are snapping at your heels and there’s always a new market entrant waiting to snatch your customers. It’s certainly too short to lose on managing junior marketers who lack experience and poor suppliers who don’t deliver what you need, when you need it.
Inject quality resources into your organisation and fast results and incremental revenue will be the prize.
Quality marketing means choosing to spend your budget in a way that will produce best results for your business. It means having a big picture of how you are going to achieve your goals and then using money in a smart way to carry out supporting activities.
Quality is reputation enhancing
Quality is taking pride in appearances
Quality is quite simply your B2B marketing budget’s best friend.
For more ideas, check out our five recommended ways to invest your B2B marketing budget. Or to assess how well your current marketing efforts are performing sign up for a Marketing Capabilities Review.