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I have been working with the Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) segment in India for close to two years now. And I have seen that many companies in this space don’t have marketing departments. More often than not, their business comes from the founders’ extensive contacts, repeat business, or business from referrals. Consequently, while the businesses know their preferred areas of operation, grow well, and create wealth, they don’t have an identifiable positioning among their peers. The lack of positioning can impact:
- Business strategy
- Opportunity evaluation
- Business expansion
- Talent acquisition
- Brand recall
Enter Digital Marketing
Enter digital marketing. Today, SME owners know that digital marketing can help them find new customers outside their current business ecosystem. So, they are investing in digital marketing by hiring digital marketing agencies.
However, I see a gap here, and it looks like a huge one.
Most digital marketing agencies understand how to run campaigns, how to measure, and probably what works for a sector. However, many digital marketing agencies are not marketing firms or have an in-depth knowledge of marketing. Without a clear understanding of marketing and positioning, how can a digital marketing agency bring success (leads or conversions) to a business. (How can a digital marketing agency, for example, draw up a text ad that truly represents a product’s positioning?)
When I discussed this challenge with some of my friends in the digital marketing circles, they pretty much agreed that if they had good grounding in marketing, their digital marketing services would get better results for customers.
That brings me to make two conclusions about two important aspects: a). Training digital marketers. b) Selecting a digital marketing agency for SMEs.
Training Digital Marketers
There are many institutions training talent in digital marketing. These institutions must initiate students into the basic tenets of marketing. This step, in the long run, will benefit both the students and the businesses that hire the students.
Selecting a Digital Marketing Agency
For all the above reasons, when looking for a digital marketing partner, apart from other parameters, a business owner should assess if the agency understands marketing and positioning. Because, in due course, the agency can become the marketing department’s chief aide. And, in my opinion, that’s what it should be.