In a recent article about the Facebook IPO flop, I made the argument that there are distinct advantages to being a small business. Our start-up driven business culture has given businesses of all sizes IPO and acquisition envy. But this focus on the big bucks for some can lead others to lose focus on the advantages of small or medium sized businesses.
For employees, large companies certainly have as many (if not more!) drawbacks as they do advantages. If you’ve never had to sit through a three hour staff meeting or wait for your manager’s manager’s manager’s approval for a project, you have been spared just a few of the less glamorous parts of the large company life. Smaller companies can definitely have their advantages for employees, like providing opportunities to create unique company cultures.
Life can be much better in an SMB from a marketer’s perspective, too. We have the advantage of being incredibly agile, personable and innovation-driven.
While large companies are hindered by overly complex, often inefficient internal approval processes, smaller companies have the ability to make decisions quickly and act upon them immediately.
In a marketing environment with such rapidly changing tools and technologies, the company that is the most agile will be the company that capitalizes on the most opportunities. Can you imagine the internal decision process that goes into a large company like Coke setting up an account on Pinterest? Whew. No thank you.
As we move even further into the age of empowered consumers, it pays to have personality. Many large companies are struggling to truly connect with their customers and overcome the resentment many people feel for large, faceless corporations.
Personality is certainly a competitive advantage for SMBs. You can create marketing that embraces the qualities that make you unique: write your email campaigns in a format and voice that is consistent with your personality, or set up an instagram account to show what’s happening behind the scenes at your company. The more you can connect with your audience on a personal level, the more long-term, successful relationships you will build.
One reason we have seen such a rise in successful start-ups over the past few years is their ability to innovate past their more established competitors. Being able to pivot, and embrace new tools and technologies is crucial to a modern company’s survival.
Adopting a valuable new technology like marketing automation is a tough decision for larger companies with ingrained operational methods.Smaller companies are able to embrace these new technologies and flourish as they incorporate these new tools into their arsenal.
The next time you feel yourself having size envy of a larger competitor, remember that small can be powerful. Especially as a marketer, working at a SMB opens up a whole world of opportunities not accessible at larger companies. It’s time to embrace your size and the opportunities it affords you, rather than dwelling on any drawbacks.