Company management faces the same competitive pressures in both big and small firms. There are some advantages of being small, but when it comes to marketing, small companies never seem to have the time or the manpower because they are working like crazy to get the work done to satisfy their customers and there is no time, personnel, or budget left to do the marketing.
They are “putting out fires” or “out in the field” or “checking in a delivery” and of course, these activities are very important. The problem is that they must compete every day against companies with dedicated marketing, advertising, and sales departments whose mission is to grab all the business. To a large extent the larger companies and the behemoths are succeeding, not because they produce a superior product or service, but because they have a much better marketing department (or they actually do have a marketing department, while the small company has either a very small (usually one person wearing many hats) marketing effort or none).
A very small, two-person firm made it their goal to start marketing better this year and formed a “Marketing Department.” Yes, it’s just the same two people who do everything else at the company, but now, instead of trying to squeeze time for this important company function while in the midst of doing other tasks, they have dedicated a specific, regular lump of time to this one function. They dedicated one hour every Tuesday morning for a breakfast meeting at a local restaurant, to this task.
Since they don’t have any real marketing experience, they started by doing some research on the web and by borrowing some books from the library and digging in, both to breakfast and to marketing. Their goal is to write a Marketing Plan with budgets, projects, and promotions, then to implement the Plan as soon as they have their projects planned for the next month.
This weekly, dedicated breakfast meeting concept is taking hold, and now they have dedicated specific times to different tasks:
- The Wednesday afternoon “Production Planning” coffee break
- The Thursday “Financial Planning” lunch
- The Friday late afternoon “Happy Hour” (got to take a break sometime or you’ll burn out!)
Of course, they talk to each other all the time to encourage and support each other, but they’ve found that having these dedicated meeting times is different than chatting – these meetings have a specific purpose, and they take active steps to work on keeping this mini-business growing into a real enterprise.
It’s a good start!