At VMS we’re constantly working with SMEs who want to increase turnover and profitability, need help with business and marketing strategy BUT don’t know where to turn.


To begin with these businesses are often in survive mode. Ticking along, chasing their tail, coasting whist competitors advance. But to thrive they need to think differently, and the first step is the creation of a clear marketing strategy.

Not so easy, if like so many you are a small business owner caught up in the day to day. But before you get side-tracked by the tactics (email marketing, social media posting, direct mail, advertising, website etc) first put in place a solid marketing strategy foundation. You’ll be astonished by how much more effective it makes your business.


Here’s our #5 fundamentals to creating a marketing strategy; that works

  • Define your audience. Ask yourself who is your target customer, and distil the answer down as far as possible.
  • Define your business category. In as short a sentence as possible describe your business, for example ‘photography for dance schools’.
  • Ask what is unique about your offering. This is not about your product (widget A does this, widget B does that). Think about the tangible & emotional benefits you bring to your target audience.
  • Discover who is your real competition. Do plenty of research considering online and offline, national and local and even DIY options. Every possible way your target customer could achieve the end result. Then pinpoint the key 2 or 3 competitors who you are most likely to go head to head with.
  • Be sure of how you different from your competitors. Once you’ve decided who your main competitors are carry out a SWOT (strength, weakness, opportunity, threat) analysis on each of them, and then do the same analysis on your own business. 2 or 3 clear differentiators should become apparent. These are the key messages to lead your marketing campaigns.


Marketing tactics, without a roadmap (A.K.A your marketing strategy) can never be wholly effective. And, quite simply there’s no point tweeting, emailing, blogging, leafleting or advertising until you have your marketing strategy nailed.

As Paul Wood, Creative Director at VMS says, “It all starts with a strategy, whether you’re a small business or a much larger one.  Define what you’re trying to sell, to who, where and when, and then work out how best to get to that target with the budget you have available.”

A recent study found that SMEs across the UK could create an extra £43 billion* in additional sales if they became more marketing effective. The research, carried out with the Centre for Economics and Business Research (Cebr), also found an alarming disconnect between marketing plans, and what actually takes place.

When asked what’s holding them back, SME owners cited time and money – the acknowledged challenges for SMEs, but prioritisation was also a clear issue.


57% of UK SMEs believe a marketing boost would help them achieve their full potential* Are you one of them?

We’re here to help. If you’re the owner of a business with £300k-3m turnover get in touch – you could qualify for a free-pass to our Marketing Strategy session, worth £560.


If you have the desire to make changes within your business to achieve your overall goals, clear your diary for half a day and let’s get started… 

Sign up for our marketing strategy workshop; and cover off…

  • Your overall business strategy
  • A review of your current marketing activity
  • Quick fixes and immediate improvements
  • How VMS can help you achieve your objectives

Bring along your co-owners or senior team members too, and remember a notepad or laptop. That’s it.

To discover more, and chat about how our marketing strategy workshop can help your business get in touch on 01245 258 689 or




  • *57% of SMEs believe they could benefit from a marketing boost for their business – read more here
  • *The Guardian says marketing for small businesses needs to be carefully thought through, and often requires a multi-pronged approach. Read more here
  • *Read more about the Cebr SME study


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