Obstacles to small business adoption of strategic marketing practices

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Summary: small businesses rarely adopt strategic marketing practices, mainly due to 3 reasons: 1. lack of expertise; 2. high cost of professional services; and 3. uncertainty of outcomes. Conclusion: removing these obstacles will help small business succeed.     

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Business_plans_strategy_resize_thumbRecently, I stumbled onto an excellent article by Greg Head, CMO of InFusionSoft, an internet platform for small business marketing management: 5 Keys to a Great Small Business Marketing Strategy. In his article, the author argued elegantly that small businesses must have clearly articulated marketing strategies in order to be successful. Although I totally agree to the author’s point of views,  I also found intriguing why small business owners have been going (almost) the opposite direction – few of them are thinking/planning strategically about their marketing. When discussing marketing strategies, most owners seem to focus more on tactical issues such as website designs, Facebook/Instagram pages and search engine optimization.

 

There must be obstacles between the reality of small business world and the proven benefits, time-tested business doctrine & well-accepted professional advice. Here are my top three:

  1. obstacleLack of expertise to craft and execute marketing strategies – I conducted a non-scientific survey in central New Jersey in early 2015, and found about 5% of business owners, mostly young and college-educated, are willing and capable of crafting their strategies and pursuing related activities to put strategies in action.

    To majority of business owners, such a lack of expertise goes beyond inability of crafting their own strategies. One home remodeler explained that his social network did not have many people who are qualified to do the job, making it difficult to identify/retain a competent consultant for the job. After he was introduced to a business consultant, he frequently found difficulties of communicating with the her. Eventually, he gave up the project due to difficulty of providing accurate  customer purchase history as requested by the consultant.

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  3. High cost of professional consulting services — Strategic planning is not cheap. Various estimates put the costs between a few thousand dollars to tens of thousand dollars, depending on the scope of work and business requirements. In addition, most of costs are upfront, i.e. substantial investments by business owners. Business consultants rarely sign retainers which are results-based, such as revenue sharing.

    On top of financial investment, businesses must also make substantial time-commitment to the project, from setting goals and requirements of the project; identifying and retaining suitable professionals; retrieving & sanitizing operational data to consultants; to understanding and signing off the final deliverables of the project.  

  4. Uncertainty of outcomes – For those who are willing to invest, satisfying outcomes are still not guaranteed. There is no warranties, no guaranteed ROI, and retainers are rarely result-based. Sometimes, it is even difficult to delineate responsibilities when results are not optimal.

    “How do I know this will work?” is often the question in owners mind when they have everything from their retained strategy planners. This uncertainty, lays on top of the upfront investment the business has to make for the strategy work, can easily outweigh any, however significant, perceived benefits from strategic planning.

 

Removing These Obstacles Will Help Small Businesses Succeed

In one of my earlier postings, I discussed Packaged Marketing Solutions which are designed to address each of these three obstacles. To summarize, this is how Liquibil Packaged Marketing Solutions address these obstacles:

  1. Lack of expertise: everything needed to implement the marketing strategy is included, e.g. in a lot cases, solutions even include lists of potential customers in the buyers’ service territories: the only thing the buyers need to do is to “turn the key to start”;
  2. High cost: Liquibil’s business is to replicate marketing solutions to as large geographical areas as possible. This business model will drive down the solution costs significantly;
  3. Uncertainties: Liquibil only package and market marketing solutions which were deployed successfully in the past for the same industry. This brings testimonial for the solutions’ effectiveness; In addition, buyers can start with a small geographical area, e.g. one zip code, in order to see the outcome before making further investments;

Please check this out to see if you agree.

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Who Need The Packaged Business Solutions?

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These solutions are developed for small businesses who plan their long-term growth based on establishing advantages  with carefully designed and developed services and products for selected customers. Of course, this certainly does not mean these businesses should confine themselves to the niches they created.

  1. Young and growing companies
  2. Companies in competitive industries
  3. Companies who are planning for long-term growth and successes while competing for businesses and customers on a daily basis.

 

roofer-banner Learn more about Packaged Business Solutions at http://www.liquibil.com, or review sample solutions for roofers, landscapers and home remodelers at http://liquibil.com/solutions.html, or call 908-448-2187 for more information.

Why Packaged Business Solutions?

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The Packaged Business Solutions are designed to provide small businesses accesses  to effective strategies, for their long-term and sustained growth.

Then, why is this a problem worth solving?

  1. Studies after studies have shown that small business owners must think and act strategically, in marketing, in sales, in resource management, all aspects of their businesses, in order to maintain business longevity
  2. However, the reality is that only very small percentage of small businesses can afford and possess know-how to obtain and to implement effective strategies;

In other words, small businesses are extremely under served by professional consultants and the industry they represent. According to a non-scientific survey of small business owners by Liquibil founders, only 5% owners have developed and carried out their own marketing strategies. Another 10% or so owners sought professional helps . The other 85 mainly rely on generic advertising, such as yellow pages, direct mass-mailing, newspaper/radio commercials, and other means of reaching general public. This  type of efforts usually bring in business name recognition, and associated sales. They rarely promote specific products/services to a selected segments of customers with a carefully tailored messaging.

The Packaged Business Solutions promote the practice of developing products and services for a carefully selected group of customers, with a special messaging about the values of the products/services to the target customers. It is known such a strategic approach generally produces better results: increased sales, closer customer relationships and more loyal customers. Furthermore, such an approach also helps businesses find their niches thus establishing them as authorities in selected business areas.

The Packaged Business Solutions address three major issues which small businesses are facing when they think and perform strategically:

Major issues facing small businesses Packaged Business Solutions
How effective is a strategy for the business’ situation and objectives?

Business strategies behind these solutions were all successfully used by similar companies (size, revenue, geographic locations, etc.) for the same objectives.

How and where to acquire professional help to accomplish it?

The solutions include all materials which require professional help to produce.

What is the cost and ROI?

There are two ways Liquibil contains the cost of solutions to buyers:

  1. Solutions are structured in such a way that they allow only limited manual customization.

  2. Businesses can “sample” solutions by applying them first to a small group of target customers, then broaden it to more customers if the initial results are satisfactory.

Read more about these solutions and their values to small businesses at www.liquibil.com. or njrooferleads.com.

What Are Packaged Business Solutions

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Business_plans_strategy_resizeEvery business solution solves a business problem or achieve a business objective. Such an objective can be grandiose on the company level such as “increasing total revenue by 25%”; “improving customer satisfaction”, or it could be more tactical such as “selling more contracts in this county”; or “selling more to existing customers whose annual spending is below average”; or “acquiring more residential buyers”.

At Liquibil, the concept of “business solutions” goes one step further, it not only describes how to achieve stated objectives, but also provides necessary artifacts so that users will not need to create their own in order to carry out the steps prescribed by the solutions. This is where the word “Packaged” comes from: the solutions from Liquibil has everything packaged in the boxes already. The only thing users need do is to unwrap and GO.

Here are a few examples  which Liquibil has  brought to the market. Each of them has a stated objective: either to increase contract-based revenue (tree service contracts for landscapers), or to establish a long-term relationship with potential buyers (the home-remodeler info-marketing) or both (the one for roofing contractors). Each solution also has a definitive description on who are the potential buyers by including a list of residents in a given geographical area. Thirdly, each example contains the necessary materials which are to be shared with the potential customers to promote the company and/or its products/services.

Explaining Packaged Business Solutions

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Over the course of last two months, I have been repeatedly challenged by my colleagues and friends to state clearly what is "Packaged Business Solutions", what are their values to small businesses and how are they different from other types of "business solutions" which are abundantly available both on and off the Internet. Therefore, I would like to gradually clarify, in the subsequent blogs, these three questions:

  1. What are Packaged Business Solutions and whom are they for?
  2. What are the values to their consumers? and
  3. How are they different from other types of business solutions?