Marketing Trends & Small Businesses

I went to a networking function yesterday where a speaker was promoting his latest marketing book.  Boiled down, these were his main points from memory:

  • creating difference; not benchmarking
  • execution of strategy
  • delivering value
  • micro-targeting
  • epidemics
  • empowerment
  • relationship management

If you read marketing books & information in general, you might notice a number of terms that you’re familiar with.  There’s a reason why Sun Tzu’s Art of War is still being read to this day – there’s nothing new in strategy.  It’s just a different way of saying the same thing.

Not to say that there isn’t value in reassessing & reviewing things like this – it often triggers new ideas or reinforces old concepts that have fallen by the wayside.  Yet, one factor that frustrates me about so many marketing talks is the complete lack of focus for small businesses (especially existing small businesses).

The Difference of Small Business

More importantly – lack of capital, resources and economies of scale.  It’s fine and dandy to say split your customer base into a dozen segments, but if your customer base is only a thousand to begin with, you’re talking about market segments of less than a hundred.  Sounds good? After all, you can really meet each of their individual needs then.

Let’s say it takes me 2 hours to put together each monthly e-mail.   With a dozen segments, I’m looking at 24 hours just to write & code each e-mail.  That’s not even counting the time it takes to figure out (and make work) each individual promotion or value proposition for each of those segments.  Figure it takes 5 hours each total for that & the e-mail. That’s 60 hours a month, just dedicated to writing & coding an e-mail newsletter. If you figure about 176 hours a month available (8 hours a day * 22 days), that’s 35% of your time dealing with 1 aspect of your entire marketing plan taking up your time.  Not to mention the necessary resources in terms of software, segmentation & research required to just get those dozen segments.

If your micro-target here is 100 people, and your new newsletters convinces 10 people instead of 2 to purchase, you’re still only making an additional $800 in revenue per newsletter. That’s $9,600 in revenue for a dozen newsletters – or about $288 total profit (3% net margin).