7 Ways Small Business Can Catch Up Using Marketing Automation

5 min

Turning the tables on the big, established operators in your field can seem like an insurmountable task. But it needn’t be.

Marketing automation helps us to level the playing fields, giving our small business a fighting chance against the industry titans, and helping us to make up some serious ground. Here’s how…

Effortless resource coverage

For a small business to compete with the big hitters in the market, what are the options?

A: The small business attracts additional funding and spends millions developing its resources to reach the same level as its more established competitors.

B: The small business focuses on short term moves towards long term success, utilizing the resources it currently has in ever more effective ways.

Of course, the long-term goal might be to achieve option A, but in reality we can only work with what we have at our immediate disposal. In many cases, this means spreading our resources ever thinner as we aim to keep up with the industry leaders across an expanding array of channels.

With marketing automation, it need not be so difficult to achieve this. Instead of spreading ourselves too thinly, simply tap into the crafty marketer who exists within us all and take some of the pressure off with an automated system. With this in place, it becomes easier to make up the ground.

Streamlined cash flow

In the early days of business, reliable cash flow is vital. It is this flow of revenue which supports our strategies as we target growth, makes us a feel a little more confident about our business idea taking off, and gives us an additional element of security.

Automated processes can trim the fat from our lead nurturing strategies and clear the way for good, low level cash flow in the formative years of business. It helps us to optimize our conversion channels, reducing the time from first contact to full conversion.

When a business is established, spending more time nurturing prospects of potentially extremely high value is certainly worth the time and effort spent, but – particularly at the start – short term cash flow needs to be supported. The efficiency and simplification of processes provided by marketing automation make this possible.

Boosted capability

It is not only the speed and efficiency of our processes which can be augmented by good quality marketing automation; we will suddenly find ourselves far more capable as well.

This is because marketing automation makes a little go a long way. Perhaps you only have a small team of staff, limited capital to draw upon, a slim number of business contacts, and only one or two lead generation channels. Marketing automation helps you to get the very best out of these resources.

So what does this mean in real terms? It means that, those strategies you have been dreaming of rolling out, those targets you’ve fantasized about hitting, they aren’t so far away. In fact, your business if far more capable than you had initially considered.

catch up using marketing automation

Strategic knowledge

So, our scope has suddenly broadened; we have found that our business was better positioned to achieve great things than we had first thought, so what now? We need to plan our next strategic steps.

But, our business is still young, it is not yet established, it lacks the robustness and structural integrity to weather any serious financial storms. With this in mind, can we mitigate the risks in our future strategy?

Marketing automation gives us data, and from that data comes knowledge; both of our business and of the market we operate in. This knowledge is what we need to make sure that the strategic moves we make are the right ones. Small businesses can ill afford to make mistakes; marketing automation means they don’t have to.

Be everywhere, without the hassle

Omni-channel, omni-channel, omni-channel; this is the mantra of the moment, the marketing zeitgeist of 2016, but it is far more than just a buzzword. Customers are engaging with our businesses in so many different ways, often switching between multiple platforms during a single transaction. It is up to us meet them, wherever they are.

It is simple math; utilizing the same amount of resources across an increasing number of channels means less resources per channel and a dip in performance across each. But what if we add marketing automation to the equation?

By implementing marketing automation, businesses suddenly find themselves able to interact with and support leads and customers effortlessly across all channels. Much of what makes omni-channel such a drain on resources can be automated anyway, and it pays to take advantage of this.

Understand demand

So, we are meeting the needs of prospects and leads across different channels, we are making the right moves to take us forward in the future, we are supporting our efforts with cash flow, and we are managing our resources well. What else can we do?

To go even further, we must understand the demand for our products and services. What are our customers interested in? What can we provide for them in the future? How can we augment their total lifetime value?

Data derived from marketing automation platforms will give us the answer to these questions, helping us to get to grips with what the customer wants and how we can provide this to them. We can’t know what moves to make unless we have an insight into the psychology of our customers; gain this insight and make up yet more ground on the industry leaders.

Proactivity, not reactivity

We don’t need to let things happen to us, we need to be the influencers, the movers and shakers, the organizations disrupting the markets we operate in. This requires a proactive, not a reactive approach; this requires us to understand the market and to predict its future developments.

To do this we need data; data which is provided to us by marketing automation systems. Analyze trends, observe fluctuations and changes, examine the actions of more established model-companies, and apply all of this to business.

Over time, the result is a keen understanding; a distinct knowledge of market behaviors and how to influence them. The building blocks are all in place and growth will surely follow; those breathing the rarefied air at the top better watch out, because we are coming for them!

Michael Brenner
Michael Brenner
Michael Brenner is CEO of Marketing Insider Group, co-author of the best-selling book The Content Formula, and one of the leading voices in Marketing today. Follow Michael on Twitter @BrennerMichael and connect with him on LinkedIn.