Marketing Advice for an Australian SMEs: I have been reading posts in various groups from different owners looking for marketing help and have noticed a growing trend amongst SMEs. I am writing this post to hopefully help a few of you understand how you can choose the marketing that is best suited for your business.

To briefly share my credibility in this field without boasting, I am a marketing strategist of 15 years, own my own agency with a large specialised crew, working with businesses up to $200mil and have a 96% success rate with our executed strategies.

To start with, marketing and its objectives can be divided into categories, by understanding the different variations of marketing styles, you could be able to understand which styles may be effective for your business and which may not be very effective even when executed well and at top dollar.

Active Vs Passive Marketing:

Active marketing is deliberate and is about approaching an audience. Active marketing is where you are trying to create a buying signal through an active marketing method prior to the customer having an idea to buy the product or service. All active marketing has a ‘call to action’ in which the business goal is met by the recipient doing a specific action that the business wants e.g. A phone call, email, letter, visit, telling a friend, clicking a button, sharing a post etc.

Types of Active marketing:

  • Printed media ads
  • Digital media ads
  • Holding Seminars/workshops
  • Cold calling
  • Cold emailing
  • Door knocking etc.

Benefits of Active methods: Immediate short-term results, limitless campaign size, controlled call to action.

Drawbacks: Results fade quickly, a campaign can deliver no result, every platform is trying to win your business, a customer is less likely to purchase, price/discount methods destroy margins for SMEs.

Passive Marketing on the other hand, is about position and strategy, it is putting the business in front of the customer when they are ready to make a buying decision. Now to be clear, passive marketing adapts and changes with each generation, from needing a brick and mortar store, to having big yellow pages ad, to being on page 1 of Google. Every 20 years or so, passive marketing evolves incorporating the next widely adopted and accepted innovation, currently the king is the Internet (Google) search results through mobile technology.

Types of Passive Marketing

  • Brick and mortar locations
  • Websites
  • SEO
  • Adwords
  • Passive referrals (Word of Mouth)
  • Retention systems etc

Benefits of Passive methods: Long-term results, high ROI, the customer is more open to buying, no need to discount or reduce margins.

Drawbacks: Slow to take effect, limited campaign sizes, call to action is difficult to control.

Depending on the goals of the entity, various strategies and marketing types may be required to achieve the business objectives. However, every business should have a form of controllable, scalable passive marketing as the foundation to the marketing for the business. Passive marketing enhances the impact of active marketing and is active 24/7/365. Active marketing is needed for every business to drive a specific goal that can be measured clearly and create a trackable action for the business e.g. Create ‘X’ sales for service ‘Y’ from audience ‘Z’ in the town of “Examplefield”.

When a business does not have strong passive marketing and they release a strong active campaign, often the results are not as effective as they could have been. The reason they are not as effective is best explained with a scenario:

A company places an advert in the local newspaper, however, they aren’t ranking 1st for their business niche in their local area on Google. A newspaper reader sees the advert and is interested in the service but continues reading the paper as a part of their ritual. Later in the day the reader no longer remembers which company was advertising in the paper but remembers they wanted the advertised service. So, the reader decides to do research on businesses that can provide the service.

Where will the person likely go to do the research?

And whilst the original idea was formulated from the advertisement, who will reap the reward?

The answer is complex, however, data suggests that 91% of Australians will use Google to source phone numbers, research a business and make calls. Now depending on where the business is positioned on Google and a few other factors, the advertising business may win the lead, or the competition will.

So now, let’s pretend that your competition was placing the ad in the paper, and you rank 1st in Google for your industry. Do you believe you could grow your business from the marketing of your competition? I am here to tell you…Of course.

Ask yourself this question, the last time I needed a mechanic, a florist, a lawyer, a local doctor, a new hairdresser, a restaurant’s phone number or anything for that matter, did you go to the yellow pages or Google? Did you ask someone for the phone number or did you ask Google? How many times a day do you “Google” something?

To be clear, this is not a one-size fits all methodology, it works for many businesses, however, it won’t work as well for some depending on unique circumstances. For example; If you are a car dealership selling a new model car, let’s say, the new Mazda, passive marketing won’t work as effectively as it would for a specialist service such as a lawyer or medical practitioner (e.g. Dentist).

If you are looking to grow your business, when shopping around for a marketing agency/person be sure to do your homework. Trust, knowledge, and experience are crucial for any symbiotic professional relationship. The marketing industry can have some shifty, inexperienced lambs dressed as wolves, so before you commit your hard earned cash, try asking your marketer for these three things.

  1. A proven track record with two verifiable references – after all, this person could break your business, so you need to do your checks.
  2. What are the trackable numbers/metrics that will directly lead to increased revenue? – Distracting metrics such as ‘Likes’ on Facebook, ‘Impressions’ on an ad, ‘reader counts’ in newspapers and other numbers do not always equate to increased revenue for an entity. You need to know how they will get you to your goal.
  3. Ask them for an active and passive marketing strategy and have them explain how it works in your industry, be very careful with marketers, most think their platform will work with any business type in every location – Newspaper ads in the Sydney Morning Herald for a Melbourne Dentist, Snapchat advertising hearing aids for seniors, Facebook advertising for national corporate civil contractors…painful.

Best of luck guys, if you have questions, PM me, happy to help.