Tag Archives: SME

One step at a time…

One step at a time…

All industries have different problems facing them, and understanding this is key to successful marketing. How you market your engineering company will be different to how you market your creative business. However the tools and techniques that we use will all have a common basis.

In the Midlands there are many engineering firms, and often you will find SME supplying big businesses such as Jaguar LandRover. As the items required by the big firm are often very technical it can be necessary to spend quite some time working with the big business to show them what you are offering, For example you may have to start with a technical drawing followed by a prototype. Sometimes the company will then want to test the item for a prolonged period of time. All of which is fine if you are going to get the contract, but is not so good for your cash flow.

Small businesses often struggle with cash flow, especially in their infancy. Viable, good, profitable businesses are bought down more often by cash flow problems than anything else. Ensuring that your cash flow is resilient enough to withstand such an extended negotiating period is vital to the health and well-being of your company.

You may find that you have to work your way up to be able to put yourself in this position. Taking smaller steps over a few years towards your final goal may be more sensible than trying to launch yourself straight up to your desired end point. Steadily working up through the industry, and ensuring that you have good cash reserves before marketing yourself to the larger companies can be prudent.

Your marketing will need to adapt through the different steps that you take. Marketing yourself to the customers that you need to acquire now, as supposed to the customers you would like to have in three years time is important. With our marketing services we can develop a plan to help you to progress through your industry. Making sure that your marketing is targeting the correct people, in the right way.

If you would like to learn more about successful selling watch the video below.

If you are struggling to create an effective marketing message, why not contact us at Aardvark Marketing Consultants today? We have experience across a wide range of different businesses and industries. Call us now to arrange your face to face meeting on 0121 222 5743

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Aardvark Marketing | Big data

Big data – what should the average business know?

Big data – what should the average business know?

Analytics and Big Data – the terms are out there and run off the tongues of techno-geeks and many consultants very easily, but what are they and should the average small business be worrying about them?
Big Data is pretty well what it says on the tin – data and a lot of it.  Increasingly there are things around the house and office that generate big data – energy meters are a particularly good example.  However every time you access the internet and use something like Google or try booking a hotel, order a book off Amazon or download one onto your Kindle, you are creating data that is captured in one or more of the Big Data warehouses out there.  Your own website will also capture data, but I suspect that for most of us, the traffic will not be enough to call it Big.
Analytics is the term used to describe how that Big Data is used and interpreted, and has grown out of a number of disciplines including statistics, computer science, operational research, maths and heuristic development.  People might try to sell you analytics, but in many cases you are just getting some data presentation and a bit of statistical analysis, not the full fat Analytics that are helping corporations and Government organisations to sell you things.  You need a lot of traffic and a good dollop of cookies on your website to allow the sophisticated analysis and action that the big sites use.
For a small business, particularly one working with or selling to the public, you will generate data, and depending on your reach and your customer numbers, you may start to think of it as big.  For the most part, you can analyse that data using Excel yourself, because Big Data is also real time and really big.
To put this in context, I used to work a lot with the annual data set of all qualifications being studied at FE Colleges in England.  At a leading edge Analytics conference, I discussed it with a big data/analytics person, and she said that it was too old, too static (so not real time) and too small at a mere 15 million entries to really be considered alongside the work presented at that conference.  The analysis I did could not influence or change the behaviour of the data items (students) either.  That day they had the energy companies talking about smart meters and instant consumption data, and Hotels.com and booking data, and how these could affect power generation or inclinations to take a short break.  I felt very small and very passé.
I have kept up with the debate of course (despite continuing to feel small and a bit passé).  The next big thing in analytics is going to be text interpretation so that analytics results can predict the future and not just project the past.  It is not something I will ever use in my work however I will be looking out for evidence of it in my interactions with the big e-commerce sites and Google – and looking for a way to prove them wrong too!
Jane
Jane Holland is an Associate of MRE, a community interest company (CIC) offering ethical business support, advice, development and practical services in starting, running and building their business.
Jane is our guest blogger for November

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Aardvark Marketing | Why do prospects make 'bad' decisions?

Why do prospects make ‘bad’ decisions?

Why do prospects make ‘bad’ decisions?

Lots of small and medium sized businesses make really great products and offer first rate services.  In many cases they are better than the established big brands, and yet in their desire to challenge the market leaders, most run in to the same obstacle:
The prospect or potential customer makes a poor decision, sticking with the established supplier even though the product or service isn’t as good.
Many of the challenger brands are striving to become the new leader, the ‘default’ choice in their market.
So why do defaults persist, even in the face of ‘better’ options?  Here are four factors that help explain why customers stick with their established choices and don’t make ‘rational’ decisions:
Inertia – sticking with what we know usually requires the least effort on our part as customers. When we are in a hurry, it’s an easy solution.
Lack of expertise – in a situation where we feel unsure of ourselves and our ability to select the right option, the ‘default’ can be seen as representing advice from more knowledgeable customers.
Risk of change – while implicitly accepting that ‘the usual’ may not be the best choice, we know it well and what we might miss if we switch to an alternative.  Sometimes the known ‘loss’ can outweigh the potential ‘gain’.
Too difficult – our initial enthusiasm to find a better alternative can evaporate if we discover that comparisons are complex and drive us back to our regular option.
So, armed with this understanding, what can we do?
As a challenger, consider each of these potential barriers and find ways to reduce them or even remove them completely.  Can we make switching easier, can we give prospects the ‘expertise’ to make a better decision, can we mitigate the risks?
If we are already the ‘default’, we need to emphasise what our customers get from us, to reduce the risk of complacency, and highlight the risks of switching.  Oh, and keep an eye on the challengers too!
Chris.

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