What if the key to unlocking business success was not a hidden secret but a strategic approach to your marketing activities? For SMEs, the pursuit of effective marketing can often be clouded by a lack of clarity on the underlying purpose of their efforts. While we all recognise the need for marketing to support our businesses, the challenge lies in understanding what we want our marketing to achieve beyond merely maintaining visibility and attractiveness to potential customers.
Our latest research report, The Vision Advantage: A Guide to Driving Business Growth revealed that despite 92% of businesses claiming to have crystal clear goals and objectives for their business growth, only 36% had a marketing strategy that is completely aligned with these business goals.
It is vital businesses get this right if they want their marketing to amount to tangible results. Far too often, we see businesses adopt a one-size-fits-all approach to campaigns, risking not only their time and effort but also their hard-earned money.
What is an aligned marketing strategy?
An aligned marketing strategy refers to marketing efforts specifically designed to support the achievement of your business goals. It necessitates a holistic approach that also considers team alignment, problem-solving capabilities, and the strategic use of data to yield superior results.
The secret to goal attainment with marketing
Within SMEs, limited time and resources often shift focus away from the strategic, deep thinking needed to align marketing with company goals, onto the daily tasks that demand more immediate attention.
Achieving alignment in marketing requires a shift in priorities. However, SMEs might be weary of investing time in seemingly intangible work. Our research revealed a lot of scepticism surrounding the direct link between marketing efforts and goal achievement, with only 7% of respondents firmly agreeing that “achieving their business goals is directly linked to their marketing.”
Contrary to this scepticism, our research also showed businesses with a marketing strategy aligned with their goals excel in business performance, achieving higher profit and revenue growth. We found that businesses whose marketing is fully aligned consistently achieve their business goals each year. In contrast, those mostly or slightly aligned marketing report success two-thirds of the time, and those not aligned only achieve their goals a third of the time.
Despite this, still, just over a third of surveyed SMEs report strong alignment between their goals and marketing. For ambitious and goal-driven SMEs, this reveals an opportunity to outpace the competition by refocusing their own marketing with a more strategic approach and driving business goals at an advanced level compared to their peers.
Several challenges can hinder the creation of alignment in marketing strategies. Budget constraints top the list of reasons (reported by 46%), but other factors like being too busy with day-to-day tasks (reported by 38%) and lack of communication between departments (reported by 31%) also pose significant challenges.
SMEs should consider streamlining processes to free up time for strategic alignment and create an efficient top-down communication channel. This can help facilitate marketing teams in consistently aligning with business objectives and adapting to market changes. Additionally, thoughtful allocation of the budget, focusing on initiatives directly contributing to overarching business goals, is crucial.
For more detailed insights on creating an aligned marketing strategy and actionable tips for overcoming challenges, grab your copy of our new research report.