small business marketing

Sorry, guys. Size matters in small business marketing.

Making sure your marketing consultant understands the difference between small business marketing and big business marketing is important, as many consultants -caught in the zeal of trying to rank on Google- select long-tail keywords that can cause confusion for clients and end up trying to service a customer base they aren’t ready for.

The skill set needed for small business marketing is fundamentally different from big business marketing. The dynamics between demands, personalities, market forces, and logistics are massive for both market sizes. While it can be tough running a small business, you don’t have to deal with nearly the same kind of stresses that large brands such as Google, Coke, Ford, or Nike have to manage.

Conversely, if you’re a large business, you have no idea how difficult it can be making marketing work on limited budgets and resources.

So here are four reasons why small business marketing is fundamentally different from big business marketing, and why you should keep these in mind when choosing a marketing consultant.


1. Budget sizes matter

This one comes as no surprise to anyone. Budgets have a massive impact on the size, scope, and scale of a marketing strategy. Small businesses just cannot afford an extensive marketing plan. Most importantly, small businesses often cannot afford to do test campaigns, which in my opinion, are often critical to long-term marketing success.

Enterprise marketing usually has the luxury of a test budget where marketing agencies can experiment different strategies, tactics, and mediums to see what works. Their budgets often allow them to get a solid understanding of how to scale up successfully.

Small businesses, on the other hand, often suffer from anemic budgets. They can’t afford to test and -even worse- they can’t afford to fail. Making sure your marketing consultant craft a strategy that makes sense to your works is essential for your bottom line.


2. Human Resources

Take a look at any org chart of any large corporation, and you’ll immediately see a critical difference between big and small businesses. Big businesses have more hands on deck. What’s more, they have more specialists on staff. They have department heads, directors, vice-presidents, team heads, projects leads… it’s almost endless.

By comparison, small companies have staff that wear many hats. The president is also the CEO, VP of advertising, VP of sales, CFO… it can be exhausting.

What this means is that small businesses lack team members with specializations. They don’t have the skill-set to initiate or manage projects themselves. This means they become highly reliant on outside help -and often are at the mercy of the consultant or agency providing them accurate and honest advice.

The result is that small firms are highly susceptible to marketing and advertising scams because they don’t know any better. So choosing a marketing consultant that has a proven track record of integrity and honesty should be a high priority for your start-up or small business.


3. The Luxury of Creativity

Large corporations and businesses have the luxury of being truly creative with their advertising. They can afford -both regarding brand equity and budget- to take considerable risks in their advertising and marketing strategies.

This is why most award-winning creative campaigns come from large brands. They can indulge themselves.

Small businesses don’t have that option. Often, the urgency to generate revenue is crippling to the creative process, forcing small businesses to adopt more conservative messaging and strategies. They create the perfect trap for their brand, constricting any chance it has to take off.

These strategies usually lead to minimal gains -at best-, which can frustrate small business owners. The key is understanding that greatness often requires great thinking and solutions, and sometimes you have to gamble.

Selecting a Toronto marketing consultant that can help you take bigger, strategic risks should be a significant driver when choosing whom to work with. Small businesses, much more than larger firms, need to be pushed out of their comfort zones if they want to thrive.


Why Hire a Marketing Consultant?

It’s a Consultant’s Life for Me. I’ve had the pleasure of being a marketing executive for the last twenty years. Last year, I decided to walk away from the marketing agency I formed fifteen-years ago, to start a new life as a marketing consultant. For me, becoming a consultant allows me the …



4. The Technology is Lopsided

Increasingly, technology is playing a larger and more significant role in marketing strategies for big business. However, technology isn’t cheap, or easy to deploy often. It requires significant time, resources, manpower, and technical knowledge to make it work.

Technology changes the terrain of marketing. It makes it faster to deploy campaigns, helps automate much of the labour, provides detailed analytics and can even use machine learning to make changes on the fly.

The result can be seeing sales sore and campaign prices crash.

Small businesses can’t compete in this category. Often, enterprise marketing applications are incredibly price-prohibitive for small companies to consider using. They are stuck doing things a lot more manually and absorbing the cost of those inefficiencies. Scaling up marketing campaigns becomes more challenging and costly.

What small businesses marketing success needs is to find a marketing consultant with experience in these kinds of massive technology campaigns, who can bring with them the know-how and savvy to help mitigate the frustrations for them. A savvy consultant can help you skip steps, and implement enterprise quality strategies, with small business marketing technologies.


Choosing the right small business marketing consultant is difficult. Make sure you select the right one for your size of business by keeping these four points in mind.