prop airplane with an advertising banner flying behind it
PHOTO: Alexandru Panoiu

How do you out-market competitors who have bigger budgets and more resources? 

As marketers, we’re always striving to find the best approach to connect and create lasting relationships with customers. Only a few are capable (or willing) to spend the $5.6 million per 30 second ad to reach an audience during the Super Bowl though.

Spending millions on marketing doesn’t always correlate with success. In fact, some organizations with small marketing budgets are disrupting their industries. They’re puzzling their competition with their ability to foster true user loyalty. If you have don’t have that multi-million, or even thousands of dollars marketing budget, you can still create an effective marketing program.

Do the Best Job Speaking to Your Customer's Pain Point

A product is only as great the pain point it solves. If you’re not solving a problem, then you’re not going to be in business very long. Successful brands understand their users’ biggest pain point down to the minutest detail. They then effectively communicate how the consumer can solve it. If you’re solving problems, it’s doesn’t matter how dull the product might seem to outsiders.

It’s crucial to determine your users’ main pain point and understand it inside and out. That’s the only way your message is going to stand out among the rest of the noise.  

Related Article: How to Create Content With Purpose

Have an Authentic Brand Identity

All noteworthy brands (big and small) are known for their distinct identity or voice. Organizations know exactly who they are and who they aren’t. Developing a strong brand identity doesn’t require a big budget either.

It does require investing time to develop and maintain it. Organizations should document, communicate, and receive buy-in from the rest of their team on what their identity is. Consistency is key. Every interaction with your brand (website, blog post, sales collateral, financial documents, customer service) should embody that identity. When you’re consistent, users know exactly what to expect from your brand.

Related Article: How to Protect Brand Integrity in a Global Market

Do Content Marketing Right

While content marketing isn’t a new concept, many organizations still haven’t fully materialized their programs. It’s not enough to create blog posts, white papers, social media posts and call it strategic “content marketing.”

This approach is a long-term strategy. It takes time and effort to build an engaged audience. To do it right, you must fully invest in creating personas, mapping out customer journeys, and delivering valuable content at every step.

When done right, content marketing works for departments of any size. It doesn’t rely on paying for engagement. Instead, marketers focus on effective copywriting, keyword research, and SEO to drive better email marketing, blog posts, white papers, etc. These efforts don’t have to cost a fortune. Even a marketing team of one to three people can deliver a strategy that grows followers from zero to thousands over time. It works because content is valuable, consistent and solves buyer’s problems.  

Related Article: Content Marketing Strategy, Done Right

Use Your Small Size to Your Advantage

If you’re a small organization, it’s OK to communicate that to your buyers. It’s not always something to hide. In some cases, it can even be used to your advantage. Buyers want a personal touch. Let them know they aren’t customer number 567 out of 20,210. Instead, they’re customer 10 out of 80 and will receive the direct and personal communication that they need. It’s all about building relationships.

Related Article: Angling for Personalized Customer Relationships

Using Channel Partner Network

Despite all efforts, it’s sometimes best to “outsource” marketing or distribution to a network of partners to increase lead generation. Channel marketing isn’t new, but industries like SaaS or cloud-based software are turning to partner networks of agencies and other third-party vendors to refer, resell or white label their products.

For some organizations, there's a handful of partners who play a role throughout the buyer’s purchase process and influence decisions. If that’s the case, then investing in a partner channel program could be the right move.

Channel partner programs take time and coordination between multiple departments to be successful. While partner programs can require financial investment, it could be the best one for your organization.

Related Article: Want to Improve the Customer Experience? Remember the Partner Experience

Leverage Data to Your Advantage

Every organization has data about its users. The challenge is knowing what to do with it. When used intelligently, small organizations can benefit from their small data sets. Consider making data-driven decisions a true competency or differentiator of your organization. It doesn’t take a lot of data to find actionable insights that lead to big results.

All organizations can improve their marketing by getting to know their users better and communicating effectively. Luckily, it doesn’t always take thousands or millions of dollars to do just that.