Firstly, a Happy New Year to you all and here’s hoping that 2011 will be your best year of business ever! Interestingly, in the short time that we have been in this new year, I have had several conversations with business people along the lines that they’re are fed up with austerity measures and the “survivalist” mentality prevalent of economists, so they are determined that 2011 will be the year to “go for it”!
I know what they mean – like a lot of businesses, 2010 was not the most notable year for me personally or commercially – but this only serves to steel my determination to succeed. I work best to targets, so my big one for this year is to be able to book my first ever trip to Australia by the end of the year. It’ll be interesting to look back at this when I blog in January 2012 (hopefully from a friend’s computer down under!!). What will be your motivating factor to ‘go for it’ in 2011? Does size matter? Do you need one big goal to aim for or will a series of ever-increasing targets work best for you?
This train of thought triggered me to recall a very interesting conversation I had recently with a marketing colleague about whether size matters in marketing! We were discussing what difference does it make working as a marketer for a small business or as part of a large corporation. My career in marketing consultancy has been focused on the SME (Small and Medium sized Enterprise) sector, typically working with businesses between 5 and 25 people, although my previous working environment was within multi-nationals (both as employers and clients) when I was based in the south east. My colleague had worked their way up to being a marketing manager in a number of large corporations and was in the process of making the change into being a consultant in the south west, so we compared notes.
She gave me the impression that the largest aspect of a marketing manager’s role in large corporations these days is more to do with protectionism than creativity – the amount of time spent overseeing the brand to maintain the battle against the competition seemed to take up most of her diary. Of course, this was supported by multi-million £ budgets and – in theory anyway! – the need for accurate metrics to predict and confirm return on investment. Everything that can be measured is, but she mused that this does not mean that the right results were being obtained. As we have seen in social media in particular, the qualitative outcomes are the most difficult to measure but often the most telling when it comes to looking at a success story.
On the other hand, my experience of working with small businesses focuses mainly on getting as much impact as possible from the smallest available resource – and this is why I love my job so much! My clients and I get to be truly creative and resourceful because when there is a tiny budget to spend, you get very picky about where you spend your money (as you can only spend it once!). And it can be done – I’ve known that great feeling many a time when my client has received great media coverage or hit on a new market really quickly simply because we played clever with the little money that we had!
So for me and my clients, size DOES matter! The smaller the budget, the smaller the expected opportunities but this pushes us to be the most creative we can be – and it’s amazing the size of results you can get even when starting with a very small pot of gold!
What are your experiences of working with small enterprises or large corporations? Do my comments reflect your experience – let me know your thoughts below! And if you’d like to know my secret of how I can help your business grow into a mighty oak from a little acorn, just contact me and we’ll have a discussion!