Top 3 Marketing Issues for Small Businesses and How to Solve them

I am writing this blog post with the help of Chat GPT…

Cucumber has been in the industry since 2008, which makes me sound old and almost ancient. Well, I felt ancient this morning when a barista asked me at a coffee shop if I do marketing workshops.

Let me rewind the conversation a bit to give you some colour. I usually don’t drink coffee. Physiologically, I think I am not a coffee type. If you know me, you can tell if I had coffee in the morning. I am just that extra; when I have coffee, ask my husband.

Anyways, this morning, I felt like I needed coffee. I haven’t had coffee in at least six months, I think. I don’t remember when I had it last time. But this morning, I felt like I needed it. See, I am writing a book. About business, marketing and my overall experience of running a digital marketing agency, Cucumber Marketing. When I started writing it, I was so excited; the ideas flowed. 10,000 of them. 10,000 words, that is. I need at least 40,000 words for my book, and now after writing for a few months, I feel like I have none left in me…

What’s happening? Where did my initial excitement go?

I remember when I first started writing and shared how excited I was with my friends and colleagues who had written a book in the past; they would smile at me nervously and say, “Enjoy this state, as it will go away soon.” I didn’t appreciate this type of “encouragement” and unnecessary honesty, but deep down, I knew they were right.

Anyhow, this morning, I thought I needed coffee because I was tired of this lukewarm limbo of “writer’s block,” and I knew for sure that coffee would give me a bit of a kickstart.

So, the barista.

When I told him that I was writing a book, he said that it must be hard to write a book from the perspective of someone who’s been in the marketing industry for 19 years, as there have been many changes in the industry and there’s so much to write about it could be overwhelming.

He was right, and it was refreshing to actually put the words out in the air, for my brain to grab on to the reason why I have this “writer’s block” in the first place. Of course! That’s it (I can hear my brain telling me) – I have too much on my mind (19 years of marketing things) – it’s overwhelming.

Anyway, the barista asked me if I do marketing workshops, and I said I used to. My workshops were about social media. My topic was how important social media was, that it is not a fad and that it is here to stay.

This is what made me feel ancient. As I said it, I realized how far we’ve come in the last 10+ years. No one needs to be convinced to use social media anymore. If anything, when I present at seminars these days, I try to convince people of the opposite – to use social media less (no, you don’t have to be on all social media platforms). The obvious suspect for marketing suspicion nowadays is not social media – it’s AI. Chat GPT.

So, I thought I would write a blog post with the help of chat GPT to demonstrate how it could be helpful for marketers.

First of all, none of the content above was provided to me by AI. How I used AI was to get some ideas. I asked what the most common business issues small businesses faced today were. I then used what Chat GPT found for me and expanded on it (as seen below.) Again, I am not copying anything from AI; I am just using it to give me ideas to help me get past my “writer’s block.”

1. Competition

I agree with Chat GPT that competition has always been one of the factors for businesses to keep in mind when scaling a business. I find it especially true today in the post-COVID world, where the barrier to entry of many industries is washed away. It’s just easier to start a business than ever before. With the help of technology and AI, it’s much easier to write a business or marketing plan. It’s much easier to develop ideas for what type of business to start and what steps to take to launch a business. Starting with these basic aids, many people are pursuing the entrepreneurial dream of their path to so-called freedom. This, naturally, is a growing level of competition in many industries.

So, if you are in a customer service business or any business that doesn’t require a significant investment, like inventory businesses, for example, you can be sure that your competition is growing too.

What to do about it:

Be clear on your differentiators. Hint: it’s all about the massive value you provide your customers. Articulate your unique selling proposition and use it in your marketing clearly and consistently to build a memorable brand for your customers to turn to when they have a problem only you can solve.

2. Digital Marketing

Digital marketing is moving so fast. As ancient as I felt this morning, speaking with the barista about the times I was trying to persuade people that social media is here to stay, this is true – digital marketing is moving fast, and we, as marketers, don’t need to persuade anyone about this anymore. This is not an opinion – this is just a fact you can accept or ignore. Digital marketing is changing, and if you want to grow your business, you 1) have to be online and have to be doing digital marketing and 2) you must evolve along with it; otherwise (read point 1 above), your competition will leave you in the dust.

I am being dramatic here, but you know it’s true. And listen, I am in the same boat as you are regarding digital marketing. Gone are the days when we, as a digital marketing agency, could solely rely on word of mouth and our SEO for new clients. Anyone with a social media account can call themselves a marketer these days. Naturally, there’s more to it than just posting on Social Media, but the barrier to entry is so low that the digital marketing industry has exploded in the last 5-7 years, so much so that I see a higher search volume for “marketing jobs” related searches than “marketing services.” That’s a bit of a problem, I’d say, for those who are in the digital marketing industry like us. So, when I write these marketing blogs, I also write them as a reminder for myself.

What to do about it:

Be consistent with your marketing. Tell people about your experience and expertise on social media, run brand awareness campaigns, and remarket to your past and existing customers. Ensure you consistently tell people about your services to stay on their minds.

3. Consumer Behaviour

Digital marketing is changing, but it’s not the only thing changing rapidly. As consumers of digital marketing, and all the progress around technology and overall other social changes happening in our society and the global economy – we as humans are changing too. That means your customers are changing. How we consume information, pay attention to it, and react to its changes, and the change is happening very quickly. Being able to adapt to change is what will make a difference for today’s businesses.

I think it’s true for almost anything in life – it’s much easier to start something, it’s much easier to get interested in something, it’s much easier to come up with an idea of something, but it’s much harder to keep it, to grow it, to nurture it and to mature it. This applies to business and marketing in particular. And this is actually very good news! Sure, competition is growing, but will everyone be able to continue to prove that massive value to customers? Will all those starting people be able to push through all the changes in business and consumer behaviour? Time will tell!

What to do about it.

Keep diversifying your marketing. Keep trying new platforms, campaigns, and new ways to reach your customers. Marketing is fun! Keep it fun! Don’t take it too seriously. Experiment and be authentic in how you use marketing platforms (and especially social media) to communicate the massive value you provide to your customers.

In Conclusion

There you have it! My first blog post with the help of AI. And if you are curious about what exactly AI told me, here is the copy/paste from it below. AI was an excellent way to get my brain thinking in the desired direction. I didn’t need it to write the blog per se, but it was an excellent companion to get me thinking and writing, so I think it’s pretty cool.

What I typed in Chat GPT:

What are the top three marketing issues business owners are experiencing today?

What Chat GPT gave me:

As an AI language model, I don’t have access to real-time data on current market trends. However, based on historical data and the current state of the economy, here are three common marketing issues that business owners have faced:

  1. Competition: With the increase in the number of businesses in almost all industries, competition has become more intense. Business owners struggle to differentiate themselves from their competitors and stand out in the market.
  2. Digital Marketing: In today’s digital age, businesses are expected to have a strong online presence. However, the fast-paced nature of digital marketing can be overwhelming, and businesses may struggle to keep up with the latest trends and technologies.
  3. Consumer behavior: The way consumers make purchasing decisions is constantly changing. With the rise of social media, online reviews, and word-of-mouth marketing, business owners need to stay up-to-date with these changing consumer behaviors to create successful marketing strategies
Helen Stepchuk, CEO

What marketing challenges are you experiencing right now? What are your thoughts on using Chat GPT? Share with me on LinkedIn or on our Instagram account here.

  • This blog was inspired by Chat GPT 
  • It was edited by Grammarly