Attracting customers and maintaining a positive reputation are two core goals of any size business. With large companies, the foundations to accomplish those two goals can be spread out amongst a host of department and functional teams. In small companies, often the team can be a team of one. Yet, customers expect anyone competing for their business to have a standard baseline of resources from which to work.
Here are five more common challenges that small businesses often face within marketing communications along with tips on how to mitigate these challenges. (See first five marketing challenges here.)
6. Limited Resources for Content Creation:
Producing high-quality content (blogs, videos, graphics) consistently is essential, but the businesses may lack the necessary resources or expertise to create compelling content — day in, day out. Today, there are so many free internet-based tools you can use to create content without breaking the bank. Free video editing (DaVinci), image design (Canva) and stock images (Pexels). All of them take time to learn, so pick a one in each category and go with it. Here is a good look at some free video editing tools.
7. Crisis Management
Unless there is a crisis management plan in place, businesses (no matter the size) will struggle with managing PR crises effectively, which can damage their reputation and customer trust if not handled properly. Put a crisis plan together, thinking through all the things that can go wrong, and include the necessary templates and forms. Key people to contact, key statements ready to send media, and so on. Here is a quick overview of crisis management from my blog, and an indepth look on how to prepare for a crisis.
8. Measuring ROI:
Determining the return on investment (ROI) of marketing and PR efforts can be challenging, making it difficult to assess which strategies are truly effective. So many times, it’s not just one thing that gets them to your store. It’s many things. The bag you place your merchandise in, the customer service person that handles issues or orders well, the search engine listing of yours, Facebook advertising, and so on. Try to boil them all down to a metric or two that you can use to compare. But don’t always let the numbers rule, else you discontinue something and later found out that communications channel was a major reason people ordered from you. Marketing Evolution has a great piece here on measuring outcomes from marketing.
As a business grows, maintaining effective marketing and PR strategies that are scalable can be challenging, especially without the right processes and tools in place. There are tools that let you harness your results, however, to perform in the advertising arena takes constant attention. The same goes with your organic growth in social media. If you have too many platforms, and spread yourself too thin, you will ignore the audiences you’ve tried to attract. How to scale strategy with marcom? Check out this primer here.
10. Lack of Expertise:
Small business owners often have to wear multiple hats, and they might lack the expertise in marketing and PR strategies required to execute successful campaigns. Having team members handle these functions allows the business owner to focus on the product or service, and on future growth. If the owner is doing it all (how that is even possible?), then the owner is not looking ahead and likely not growing, or differentiating, or improving. How do you choose who to work with? See how they measure up against these elements.
Addressing these challenges requires careful planning, creativity, and a willingness to adapt to changing circumstances. Small businesses can benefit from seeking outside assistance, such as hiring freelance professionals or agencies, to help them navigate these marketing communications and PR hurdles.