QT Creative's Claire Quartermaine focuses on marketing activities

SINCE times are still uncertain – despite latest reports that spending on advertising is up dramatically – what about those with less cash?

SINCE times are still uncertain – despite latest reports that spending on advertising is up dramatically – what about those with less cash? What is the smaller business doing?

If you’re a large business with plenty of cash, marketing is about being more prominent than your competitors, it’s about stats and demographics and numbers – resulting in a tendency to get too fixated on the science of marketing, forgetting the art (and often the heart) that truly helps people know, like, trust and buy.

Smaller businesses have less cash to spend, but are less “removed” from their marketing activities because, basically, they have to do most of it themselves!

They may engage an agency for an aspect of it – be it some initial design or web development, but they need it to be a platform to enable them to progress it for themselves.

So when I read all the latest marketing reports, magazines and business news in order to gather my thoughts, it occurs to me how much of it is only relevant to blue chip or larger organisations.

If more than two thirds of businesses registered in the UK are counted as SMEs, then I ask what are they doing and why?

2010 was almost certainly the year of social media and the scramble to get on top of it.

The big cost on Twitter and Facebook? Your time – thank God for my smart phone or I’d never leave a computer screen. But the smart phone is only going to grow in popularity.

I’d advise all businesses to ensure their website is smart phone compatible. With web on the move, if a site won’t load due to technology, you’re out on a limb.

So what’s it going to be for 2011?

Many marketers have hailed a “back to basics” approach – going back to investment – a strong brand with the focus on good old-fashioned customer service (something small businesses can easily beat the big boys over).

They will market more with an emphasis on value – helping people to buy, trust and like.

If this is the case, we’ll see more organisations being vocal about their values and talking more about social responsibility.

The use of social media (which is here to stay) will evolve – with SMEs developing their personas in more conversational ways.

Using this forum to serve the customer rather than just sell to them – using it to boost and build business and most importantly, build relationships with their customers.

A kind of courtship if you like!

Perhaps we’ll see a better quality of social media content? One can only hope.

I think SMEs can stand up to the big brands on this one.

 
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