What is the role of marketing in a small business?

Today we are going to look at the challenge of what is the role of marketing in small business, as a small business owner it’s a challenge to know what role to invest in next, and how to get a return from each individual.

What we will cover

All businesses have to carry out numerous marketing activities to keep a healthy flow of customers coming in, to present the ‘face’ of the company, ensuring maximum positive exposure for minimal cost.

As your small business gets to a certain size, it will need to hire marketing staff and set up a marketing department to take full control of this vital part of the business.

But what is the role of marketing in a small business? This article will help you to better understand the many different tasks and responsibilities involved.

For clarity, it can help to broadly divide these task areas into two parts: strategy and delivery even if they may be handled by the same person intially.

The Two Parts of a Marketing Service

Both the strategy and delivery sides of a marketing department require skill and experience but these skill sets are actually very different.

Developing a marketing strategy needs individuals who excel at creative thinking, idea generation and tapping into unexplored avenues. On the other hand, delivery requires a deep understanding of digital and online processes, data analysis and often specific expertise in tools and techniques.

A great strategist might come up with an amazing high-level plan but struggle to turn it into a measurable campaign.

Likewise, someone can live and breathe pay-per-click campaigns but fail to match their activity with the overall business goals.

Although there is some overlap, here are some examples of marketing tasks and how they can be broadly divided:

Marketing Strategy

  • Plan a marketing schedule
  • Define goals and objectives
  • Define and manage brand identity
  • Conduct customer and market research

Marketing Delivery

  • Ad campaign management – online and offline
  • Editing and producing brochures, leaflets and other physical marketing materials
  • Creating search-optimised content for websites or blogs
  • Monitor and manage social media
  • Internal communications
  • Public Relations to maximise positive exposure of the brand (although bigger companies will have a separate PR/media liaison department).

Wide skillset needed and overwhelmed staff

That is a lot of work, especially for a small team!

We have found that marketing individuals and teams vary in their strengths in each of the above areas. They often ‘get by’ until the company grows to a size where the overall workload or skills gap becomes too much. Then they struggle!

There may also be functions that they just can’t handle alone, it takes a marketer to define a strategy, design brain to produce artwork, technical brain to manage websites – there’s few individuals that can balance all this and they likely work for much bigger companies.

Asking for outside help

An overwhelmed marketing professional will look to offload some of these activities and activity areas to outside vendors and/or agencies. This can work but it can also be a disaster if roles and responsibilities arent well divided, and as a business owner you end up paying over the odds than if you just offloaded to the external agency yourself.

Another major role – and one which marketing departments often fall down on – is overseeing the performance of these outsourced functions. When outsourcing the role of marketing in a small business, how do you ensure a positive marketing ROI while ensuring the brand message is consistent?

If businesses are too gung-ho about their outsourcing they can shoot themselves in the foot. For example, an SEO ‘content specialist’ could use out of date techniques which both annoy Google and your customers (you really don’t want to get on the wrong side of either!)

How the Vu Tribe can Help

We quickly realised that this was an area we could help with. After all, we were already supporting existing clients with their ongoing digital marketing needs.

Since we had built websites for our local clients, we already had a strong understanding of their brand and priorities. With no learning curve or settling in time to worry about, we could hit the ground running and start adding value straight away.

We created the Vu Tribe to fill in the gaps in marketing strategy and delivery for businesses of various sizes. We limit this service to a small number of companies and tailor the content to their specific needs.

We provide high quality training, helping marketing personnel to fully understand their roles, while also taking on those tasks and functions that the team don’t want or don’t feel comfortable with.

We hope this has helped you find clarity around what is the role of marketing in a small business, for more information about the Vu Tribe network and services, get in touch today.

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The Vu Tribe is a monthly subscription to help small businesses generate more sales. It brings together brand development, storytelling, digital strategy, delivery & training. Every aspect of what we deliver is measured and is reported each month.

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We work mostly with small businesses but carry a portfolio of nonprofit, charity, SME and agency partners. With each sector, needs and priorities can vary but we’d like you to feel confident we understand what’s important to you.

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Vu is a Devon digital marketing agency delivering positive change for organisations and small businesses. We prioritise good work, people, sustainable business and environment because we choose to.