Marketing Growth Whitepaper
An expert analysis of the UK business landscape and opportunities for marketing growth. Learn how to increase your business growth with Think Beyond.
Thank you for taking your precious time to read our first whitepaper on marketing growth. The Think Beyond team and I are energised by our cause to illuminate marketing change. We help businesses to accelerate their potential with professional marketing advice. Built on an ethos of ethics and a philosophy of partnership, we are with you every step of the way.
Founder and Managing Director
1. Introduction to marketing growth
Firstly, Think Beyond’s mission is “To partner with you to help your team think differently and accelerate your business potential through marketing”. Driven by a genuine passion to help others grow and with a proven track record in increasing revenue, Think Beyond works with businesses of all sizes and sectors. We created this whitepaper to delve deeper into why growth is important and how marketing growth can be achieved.
Think Beyond provides professional marketing advice with CIM Chartered Marketers. We are Cheshire marketing consultants based in Wilmslow and Alderley Edge. With business expertise in SME and ‘blue chip’, we have a broad perspective. We advise on marketing strategy, design bespoke solutions and measure the results of your investment. Inspired by philosopher Plato’s allegory of the cave, we aim to illuminate change and have a passion for learning that led us to offer training courses. Also, we recently turned one-year old and look forward to delivering more marketing growth to our clients.
As a marketing consultancy, we have qualifications and expertise in marketing backed by a substantial network of trusted partners. These cover creative, digital marketing, data science, media and automation.
With clients from Cheshire to Barcelona, we are proud to help businesses and teams reach their potential. Our approach is called PSR, which stands for Philosophy, Science and ROI. We partner with you, leverage marketing science and data to give you results that can be measured.
What do all businesses want? Growth. A drive towards improvement and value add that inspires us.
According to the Office for National Statistics (ONS), UK gross domestic product (GDP) grew by 0.3% in the three months to August 2019. The imperative of growth and improved living standards as demanded by the electorate avoids political, economic and social unrest.
Research by the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) found that despite a majority SME-driven business landscape, only a few are ‘high growth SMEs’ with above average growth rates.
What makes the difference between a moderate growth SME and a high growth SME?
- Leadership articulating a purpose and vision
- Formal management and governance structures
- Developing the management team
- Successful insights from data
- Receptiveness to external advice to improve the business
When you consider that there were 5.7m SMEs (under 250 employees) at the end of 2018 comprising 99% of all UK businesses, the political, economic and social importance is clear. Of these businesses, 1.4m have employees and around 10% of these are in our region, the North West.
The father of marketing, Philip Kotler, defined marketing strategy as the marketing logic by which a business unit expects to achieve its marketing objectives.
If people don’t understand why you do what you do and you have not identified marketing activities for marketing growth, you may miss out on significant opportunities. Worse still, you invest your hard-earned money in the wrong places. Are you promoting products and/or services that your customers don’t need or failing to recognise a competitor doing it better? What if your growth rate lags behind competitors and the market? Are you communicating your differentiators?
As an entrepreneur, you may be no stranger to taking calculated business risks, but what if you didn’t have to with your marketing budget?
The Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM) states that a marketing strategy provides a marketing department, and others within an organisation, with direction and focus. Planning is vital to the successful planning, implementation and management of all activities.
This sounds simple enough. Agree on an informed strategy, plan your activities, deploy them and evaluate success before going around the loop again. However, according to Forbes, nearly 50% of businesses don’t have a clearly defined digital strategy, potentially meaning that half of businesses don’t have a marketing strategy either. That’s where professional marketing advice from an expert on marketing strategy can help.
According to Marketing Quotes, there are 25,000 marketing companies in the UK, ranging from marketing agencies to full outsourced marketing businesses. If we extrapolate the ONS statistics and assume 25% have employees, then there are c6,000 companies offering marketing services.
Prospects.ac.uk, the UK’s largest graduate careers website with over 2.3m monthly impressions, published in September 2018 that there are c153,000 people employed in marketing and advertising. Furthermore, 70% are graduates, many of which lack experience in business.
The Chartered Institute of Marketing
The world’s leading marketing body (founded in 1911), CIM has 28,000 members worldwide of which just 3,000 are Chartered Marketers .
“Chartered Marketer status recognises those marketers achieving the highest level in our profession. It demonstrates commitment to keeping up-to-date and is awarded on a combination of experience and qualifications. In 1998, The Queen’s Privy Council granted us the authority to award Chartered Marketer status – the mark of an up-to-date, experienced and qualified marketing professional.”
Our founder, Mercè Cozens, is one of the 3,000 who have achieved the highest level in the profession and you can verify this with CIM via their Chartered Marketer Directory.
Assuming that two thirds of CIM members are in the UK, there are 2,000 Chartered Marketers within the 153,000 people in our industry, or just 1.3%. Considering that Chartered Marketers progress to Marketing Director, CMO or VP of Marketing in the private sector, few of those 2,000 are available.
Why do you need a Chartered Marketer? You can protect your marketing investment with expert advice and insight from 1 in every 100 marketing professionals.
We can all point to subjective macro-economic trends such as Brexit-uncertainty, individualism, micro-purchases, fast fashion, online shopping, electric cars, vegan diets etc. How many of us know where we stand in our industry, what our customers need, who we should target with what and when?
A marketing strategy and a winning strategic marketing plan are based on market research and data-driven insights. It may help to bring in third party advice to assist with this analysis to ensure quality. Well-known tools such as PESTLE and SWOT analysis help you understand your environment and competitive advantage. This enables you to build a value proposition that maximises return.
The Journal of Marketing found that having a marketing expert on your board added an average of 8% to revenue versus boards without anybody from a marketing background. Think Beyond offers Marketing Director as a Service (MDaaS) to enhance your marketing and increase Marketing Return on Investment (MROI).
Is your business ready for a consultant to help accelerate your marketing growth? It can be a cost-effective investment without hiring a full-time senior marketer.
Marketing growth done right
There is no silver bullet to growth, a sure-fire quick win that negates the need for market research, planning and evaluation. In an ultra-competitive marketplace, do you have the digital marketing skills to stand out? Have you considered marketing automation to engage a larger audience without hiring more people? Are you spending a lot on Pay Per Click but not making more profit?
There is no simple answer but access to a Chartered Marketer with career expertise and clients in multiple industries, both B2B and B2C, gives you a framework to work within. We offer a marketing audit to assess your marketing performance. A marketing health check gives you a roadmap for marketing change you can deliver yourself or with our support. In summary, the choice is yours.
Given that 49% of businesses do not have a digital strategy, who is to say 50% are not losing out to their competitors who are digital marketing experts? There are multiple channels, approaches and skills needed with investment in people through to affiliate marketing, mobile app development, display advertising etc.
Even relatively simple channels such as YouTube need careful planning. Who are you trying to engage? What customer needs are you addressing? Is there demand for this content? Does the quality reflect well on the brand? Is the message and brand standing out? Are we tracking the results? How much time and cost am I putting into producing this content?
Generation Z and lighthouse customers
Early adopters and millennials may prefer voice search, which is a channel still in its infancy. As an SME, though you may use voice assistants every day e.g. Alexa, Google, Siri or Cortana, deploying it may be too complex and expensive if your customers don’t use it.
Search engines are almost a discipline all of their own. Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) specialists usually have a relevant degree, knowledge of coding languages but may lack experience in marketing. A few have a Professional Certificate in SEO and PPC from the Institute of Direct Marketing. An expert inbound marketing consultant can take some of the jargon out of digital marketing and help get you results, quickly.
If we remind ourselves of the definition of marketing strategy, it is the marketing logic for how we achieve our marketing objectives. There are many different types of business and a simple sales strategy might be:
- Owners with a strong network and generating leads within their social circle
- Sales teams searching for opportunities and converting them independently
- Businesses without any marketing relying on historic contract wins
- Good people and/or a great product/service that are growing in an expanding market
- Marketing teams that focus on brand/content/collateral creation (marcoms)
Each of these generic examples may be profitable businesses or exhibiting some growth every year. However, each of these examples may be sub-optimal. A limited network, a sales team cold calling new customers, not attracting new business, referrals and word of mouth growth or marketing not generating ROI.
Additionally, consider a fast-growing retail business with a large marketing function that spends heavily on customer acquisition via paid keyword searches. An over-resourced marketing team can almost be as damaging as an under-resourced team. Multiple marketing and digital agencies and burning through cash with Pay-Per-Click (PPC) is not uncommon.
High growth SMEs for a reason
A high-growth SME has more developed management and governance structures. They have processes to sign off marketing spend, review marketing KPIs and evaluate performance. Your profit could vanish without data and analytics to review marketing performance and financial control around marketing investment.
Forbes believes that every $1 spent on AdWords generates $2 in additional benefit. This sounds great to most business owners but there is some debate as to what this really means. The 2:1 ratio generally refers to revenue and even Google’s own definition muddles the term ‘profit’ with incremental revenue.
Many marketers like PPC because it requires less time and effort than SEO. However, burning £10,000 per month cash and receiving £20,000 per month revenue might not stack up at a 30% margin. Properly planned and managed, PPC can complement SEO and a social media strategy but it is far from the only tool for lead generation, especially in B2B.
External advice can keep you ahead of the competition or, at the very least, set you on the right course.
An expert marketing consultant can be cost-effective. If you were looking to recruit a head of marketing or marketing director on a permanent basis, it could cost six figures. A short project with a third party, professional marketing guidance or tailored training could all have lasting benefits long after the external advisor has moved on.
If your sales and marketing is out of alignment, you are missing opportunity. If marketing manages the external brand and sales don’t receive any marketing leads, an expert can help show both sides what good looks like and how to row in the same direction. This is also known as ‘Smarketing’.
Organisational goal number one
There is a wonderful quote from Marketo that states, “No matter how the CRM industry evolves, getting the sales and marketing teams to synergise is organisational goal number one.” When marketing and sales teams unite around a single revenue cycle, they dramatically improve MROI, sales productivity, and, most importantly, top-line growth.
According to SiriusDecisions, cross-functional alignment among sales, marketing, and product organisations can help companies achieve up to 19% faster revenue growth and 15% higher profitability.
Think Beyond knows sales enablement and the latest marketing techniques to get your teams performing better together and improve sales. Hubspot defines sales enablement as the technology, processes and content that empower sales teams to sell efficiently at a higher velocity.
Lead generation a win-win
Lead generation combined with lead scoring to supercharge sales, lead nurturing to increase lead quality and sales funnel optimisation work best with sales and marketing alignment. Imagine your marketing team feeding your sales team with leads that are already warm and qualified. It may only need a simple call to convert the lead to a sale. Account Based Marketing (ABM) increases sales productivity and earned commissions from higher deal values. Best of all, marketing can demonstrate its increased value add. In summary, a win-win scenario.
Is faster marketing growth as simple as screaming for an external advisor? It is one ingredient to accelerate your potential and could prove to be a smart, long-term investment in strategy and expertise.
Many small businesses are becoming more open to external advice, particularly from small consultancy firms, due to the cost and complexity of dealing with larger consultancy businesses.
Look for a Chartered Marketer
Finally, not all marketers are created equal. With only 1 in 100 marketing professionals in the UK being a Chartered Marketer, you know you are in good hands. An ethos based on ethics and a philosophy of partnership means we approach our business dealings from a position of integrity. In conclusion, we work with you and your teams for success.
For a free initial consultation and to see how a marketing expert can boost your marketing growth, contact us below or follow us online.
References:  ONS – Growth Statistics  ACCA Report – SME Growth  House of Commons – Business Statistics  Forbes – Why everyone needs a digital marketing plan  Marketing Quotes – UK Marketing Companies  Prospects – Marketing, advertising and PR  CIM – Membership Statistics  CIM – Chartered Marketer  Chartered Marketer Directory  Journal of Marketing – Marketing Expert on Board  Institute of Direct Marketing – SEO and PPC  Forbes – Google value to economy  Marketo – Sales and marketing alignment  SiriusDecisions – Sales and marketing alignment economics  Hubspot – Sales enablement definition