When going it alone, or on a small scale, it can be tempting to dismiss marketing and other such expenses as out of your league. Could you really afford the costs of marketing, and would it reap rewards sufficient enough to make it all worthwhile?
One small family business has exceeded all expectations, thanks to the involvement of a marketing specialist. Leicester-based company MiaFleur, which specialises in quirky, handmade garden and homeware, is operated by Jacqui Brooks and her daughters Hollie and Amelia, and has recently achieved doubled turnover and profit within 12 months of partnering a marketing expert.
Having reached a point in their business journey at which the trio wondered what more they could do without bringing in some help. As the person in charge of marketing, Hollie looked into what benefits could be brought about by the services of marketing specialists.
What Can Marketing Do?
The decision to bring in help with marketing is not as simple as business + marketing = success. It is not a just-add-water solution that’s certain to double your business income overnight. You must look at it as a longer-term arrangement. Hollie decided on a structured 12-month programme over adhoc consultancy. For her this was about keeping up the momentum, and feeling confident in the process being used.
It is all about looking at your business, and the way it operates, in a way that you find understandable. This allows you to identify problems or successes. In some ways, a marketing specialist can form something of a marriage counsellor between you and your business, exploring ways in which you can understand each other, and get the most from your arrangement.
Hollie puts the excellent relationship and results with their outsourced advisor down to a lack of “jargon”, and willingness to put things into terms that could be understood. “Coming from a non-marketing background, it just clicked for me and I knew what I should be doing,” she said.
Steps Toward a Better Business
Not only will the whole picture be much clearer to you with the help of marketing specialists, but you’ll have a far better idea of how the future of your company breaks down too. Hollie feels that the structured programme was particularly good at scheduling your focuses and putting together clear to-do lists, your journey is easier to navigate and your objectives easier to keep track of.
By putting in place a plan that is legible to all involved, you can gain a better understanding of your business from an impartial perspective – after all, it is very easy to become too close to see things critically.
For example, MiaFleur found that their struggles were largely rooted in unnecessary expenditures and lots of adhoc one-off initiatives rather than an integrated set of marketing activities. But, it wasn’t all about pointing out the weaknesses, their marketing consultant also pointed out strengths they had yet to play to. For MiaFleur this was primarily their family-run status. Making this a clear part of their personality and using it as the springboard for creative personal touches, such as personalised stamps and ‘thank-you’ flyers. Having a thorough understanding of these strengths and weaknesses allowed them to properly plan for the future of their business.
It may be an expense; it may be daunting. But bringing in experts who have a really thorough understanding of marketing and a clear and structured process should be of key consideration for even the smallest of businesses. The ladies at MiaFleur say that, by far, the biggest improvement is to the “confidence in what we are doing.”
By Bryony Thomas, Watertight Marketing