Specific features of SMEs: the advantages over multinationals

Small companies have less money to spend on marketing. But with a little imagination, they can create a huge buzz.

No company can do without a marketing strategy. But this strategy will be very different depending on whether the promotion is for Coca-Cola or an SME’s products. Lack of a budget is the main obstacle for small companies and has three consequences:

  • Personnel. Large companies generally have a marketing director and a whole team of salespeople, advertising people and social network managers at their disposal. In an SME, however, the director is often the only one at the helm. He or she handles promotional activities along with all of his or her other work.
  • External agencies. A small company generally does not have the resources to hire an external advertising agency to handle its marketing. But it is worth delegating certain tasks to a professional – the graphic design for your posters or the design of your e-commerce website, for example – even if you have limited resources.
  • Image. Large companies can consider a promotional campaign aimed solely at strengthening the company's image, without even mentioning the product. This is not usually the case for an SME, which must make sure that every piece of advertising generates additional sales in order to cover costs.

The advantages of SMEs

However, small companies also have advantages over big companies:

  • Closer contact with the customer base. Multinationals often spend thousands of francs on customer polls and surveys. The director of an SME, who comes into contact with his or her buyers on a daily basis does not need this type of approach: he or she has access to the target market every day, free of charge.
  • Personalization. Modern consumers want a company to speak to them directly, be aware of their tastes and preferences and provide them with personalized goods or services. Here again, SMEs have an advantage to exploit.
  • Flexibility. The internet provides small companies with a unique opportunity to stand out. More flexible and less subject to pressure from an overly large management structure, they can make the very most of these tools (social networks, blogs, e-mails, etc.), usually at no cost.

Succeeding on a limited budget

The best marketing campaigns are not always the most expensive. With creativity, an SME can attract huge attention to its products. Here are some examples:

  • In 2006, a small American blender manufacturer, Blendtec, launched a series of videos on YouTube called “Will it Blend?”, showing the director of the company, Tom Dickson, blending a wide range of unusual objects (an iPhone, skis, a tennis shoe, etc.). To date, they have been viewed over 250 million times.
  • The French online footwear website Sarenza achieved worldwide visibility by organizing a national High Heel Race, copied in several countries.
  • The Valais ski resort Thyon 4 Vallées created a buzz by launching a competition to find a volunteer prepared to spend two weeks in an igloo. The “eskimo” experience was then filmed and posted on Facebook and YouTube.

Source: Small Business Marketing Kit For Dummies, Barbara Findlay Schenck, John Wiley & Sons, Inc, 2012.


Last modification 07.05.2021

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