Brilliant Ideas Better Than Big Budgets for SME Marketers

Article date: Tue, 05 Feb 2013 12:30 GMT

Richard Hall

Small, brilliant ideas are the key to great marketing, according to a panel of marketing experts; giving SMEs a beacon of hope to compete in a world where huge stunts dominate the marketing sphere.

The panel of leading marketing experts offered a lifeline for SMEs struggling to make their firms stand out in a world where marketing stunts including freefalling from the edge of space are now possible; reminding them that marketing is about truth and relevance not huge stunts.

Richard Hall director at Richard Hall and Associates explained that SMEs should not become bogged down in trying to find a big idea but focus on the smaller scale.

He said: "I don't think marketing is about big ideas or ever has been. It's about small ideas brilliantly expressed. Increasingly big ideas tend to be related to business structures, rather than marketing. I think marketing is about brilliant, small ideas."

Tom Ollerton marketing director at We Are Social agreed, explaining that big brand exposure like Red Bull's stunts and Heinz's recent social successes are a perfect catalyst to spark brilliant ideas from small firms.

He said: "Red Bull is one of those wonderful brands that everyone wants to be a part of, especially in social. Most of the brands that approach us have big budgets for huge stunts which raises an interesting discussion for me: how do Red Bull's competitors start to counteract the effect of these stunts? A £20 million budget can make anything happen but how do smaller brands make a small idea go further?"

Lawrence Jones, CEO of cloud and colocation firm UKFast who held the debate, said: "When you're small you have time to experiment, you're nimble enough to back-track if you do something wrong and mistakes often go unnoticed. When big businesses make mistakes, they are front page news and there is no place to hide now with social media. I think this is why smaller businesses get to evolve quicker and become more creative."

"Ironically a lot of small businesses copy big businesses assuming this is a quick fix to rapid success. There is increasing evidence to demonstrate that innovation comes from smaller businesses and gets replicated by larger firms later down the line."

Danyl Bosomworth marketing director at Smart Insights said: "There is an issue of context. The context for Red Bull is that it is an enormous global brand with deep pockets, however if you are a small local business the context is different - you don't need to educate the whole world about your beliefs.

"You might only need to inspire a few thousand people locally, the context shifts. This is an interesting angle on the big idea - influencing 3,000 people is different to gaining awareness from a third of the planet."

Jenni Lloyd, strategy director at NixonMcInnes, described how in many respects small businesses have an advantage. She said: "SMEs are more in contact with their purpose, meaning and values. The bigger the company the easier it might be to become divorced from what the company is and what it stands for.

"In terms of resonating with customers, small businesses should have a sense of why a customer should choose them and why they should care about the product or service being promoted.

"It's also important to think about how a customer experiences that product and identifying if you are connecting a consumer's experience with the company values."

Hall summed up the discussion describing how being a start-up is often the best position to be in in marketing terms.

"The great thing about the world in which we live is that small is beautiful. If you're a start-up you have more chance of succeeding that you've ever had. There are more places you can sell your products, there are more places you can reach out to people and it all depends on one thing - being interesting. We don't live in a world where boring stuff is enjoyed or shared," he said.

"Be interesting, have attitude, be true to your values and have fun. Marketing isn't all that serious."

Print this article print this article.Return to Press Releases

Share with: