Small business marketers invariably have different challenges than large company marketers. Smaller budgets. Smaller teams. Less time for extensive, rigorous testing. To better understand how these unique challenges can lead to unanticipated mistakes, I turned to Kipp Bodnar, CMO of HubSpot, a leading growth platform.
Kimberly Whitler: Kipp, I know that you work with many with small and medium sized firms. These firms tend to have extremely constrained resources that can lead to different types of challenges—and problems—relative to large firms. What are the top mistakes that small company marketers make?
Kipp Bodnar: I actually see three big mistakes that are more common among smaller firms.
1. Losing Sight of Loyal Customers: For smaller companies, in particular, it’s critical to maintain the customers that you have and make sure they are happy and growing better. However, for many small companies, they either don’t have great insight into their most valuable customers or they don’t have the resources to develop stronger relationships. This comes down to a technology/systems challenge or a human resources one. Investing in the source of the problem (i.e., technology / systems or human resources) is the way to address this issue.
2. Not Being Able to Find New Customers: For small companies that aren’t yet popular household names, finding customers is not easy and shouldn’t be taken lightly. Sometimes, marketers focus on too many channels and the execution is poor. This can be because it is hard to figure out which channel to focus on and where to allocate resources. Finding customers starts with figuring how who your ideal customer actually is. For small company marketers, they should spend the appropriate amount of time building buyer personas. That’s the exact reason HubSpot created the ‘Make my Persona’ tool, which is free and has been used by 130,000 businesses.
3. Lead Generation: Lead generation is related to not being able to find new customers, but is more specific. Marketers need to generate enough leads to keep the sales team happy, especially in small B2B firms. Only 1 in 10 marketers feel their lead generation campaigns are effective. For all marketers (regardless of company size) your website is the most important tool for turning prospects into customers. It’s important for marketers to make sure the web pages guide visitors to take an action.
As Bodnar suggests, the toughest challenge for a new(er) business is to find and keep customers. There are a number of system challenges that make this even more difficult. Those firms that have better marketers (the right type of training, knowledge, and skill) and are focused on developing the right systems, tools, and techniques to find and keep customers should have an advantage.