Small business owners wear many hats. One day they can be the salesperson. The next, the bookkeeper. But one thing they always are is the marketing manager.
Even if they have outsourced the day-to-day marketing functions or have a staff member to manage them, the small business owner is always responsible for the marketing of their business.
However, as a business grows and employees start to come on board, marketing becomes everyone’s role. This can be hard when employees have specific tasks and don’t understand the role marketing plays in business success.
You must create a marketing culture
To ensure your marketing remains on track as you grow, it is important to create a marketing culture within your business. So what is a marketing culture? It is a culture where all staff members understand the importance of marketing to the business. This might sound easy, but it’s hard to achieve. It takes time and structure to get it right, so here is a guide to creating a marketing culture that can work in any business.
Educate staff on basic marketing principles
To buy into marketing, staff must understand the core principles of marketing, and that is the process the business uses to attract customers. From there, they must learn what role they play in this process.
I give the example of a receptionist: in many cases, the receptionist is the first contact a client or prospect has with your brand. The receptionist must understand the importance of branding and providing a consistent approach when they deal with customers.
Include staff in the marketing planning process
A powerful way to create a marketing culture is to engage staff in the marketing planning process. Where possible, try to give them a voice in the marketing plan. Ask for their opinions, present them with progress reports and you will get their buy-in from the beginning.
Use your brand values to guide behaviour
Branding can be a hard concept to understand for many employees. However, most can understand the concept of brand values. To explain brand values, ask your staff ‘If your brand was a person, how would it behave? How would it interact with customers?’
If you can get employees to understand your brand values and how you expect your brand to behave, then you can use this to guide staff behaviour within your business.
Make the customer the centre of your market research
Often the simplest marketing research is the best. A key question you should always ask is ‘how did your customer find you?’ It will tell you a lot about your marketing and give insight into what’s working and what isn’t. Make customer insights the centre of your research, and your staff will understand how important the customer is to your business.
The challenge with any business is getting a consistent approach to marketing. And, as you grow, you will need a marketing culture to ensure your marketing stays on track. If you educate your staff, include them in the process, live your brand values and make the customer your research focus, you will be well on the way to creating a great marketing culture within your business.
Chris Dale is a certified practising marketer and the managing director of marketing consultancy, MarketingHQ.