Calling UK SMEs – the world could be your oyster post Brexit

How to navigate the marketing dilemma when every penny counts

In this blog we examine how UK SMEs can expand into promising new markets after Brexit. Stay tuned as the series will next look into how the world can take advantage of the opportunities offered by post-Brexit Britain.

Managing budgets against ambitious growth plans is a dilemma every small and medium sized B2B organization is familiar with. Now, more so than ever, these organizations might be forgiven for feeling compelled to re-think their place in the post-Brexit world and resign to the possibility that limited budgets will thwart their expansion plans.

But surely not. Having weathered the storm that is COVID-19, B2B organizations have proved their resilience and can now look to the future with optimism. Taking full control of the tools within their power and expanding their global footprint will not be more difficult to manage in a post-Brexit world than it was before, in fact it could be easier. One thing the pandemic did was make us realize the world is smaller than we think – with Zoom-type interactions becoming the norm.

With the right approach to global PR, businesses can save costs and still flexibly scale their marketing efforts to new markets and geographies.

Reality check: Brexit impact on SMEs

Brexit will no doubt pack some punches for the British economy over the next decade. A no-deal Brexit could cost the UK GDP losses of around 1.2 to 4.5 percent and the uncertainty surrounding the negotiations are already felt. But the government seems to be making headway to agree trade deals with Australia and New Zealand, and negotiations push on for the UK’s accession to the Comprehensive and Progressive Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP). Combined, these agreements would open up free trade to 13 new countries including Canada, Mexico and Japan – without a political union element that many criticized in the EU.

Small and medium-sized-enterprises, or SMEs – nicknamed the ‘backbone of the British economy’ as they account for 99 percent of all UK private sector firms – are particularly exposed to the outcome of these deals. A 2020 study by the British Business Bank shows a third of SMEs have the desire to grow but feel a lack of available funding is curbing their ambitions.

Yet the sector continues to fuel innovation, job creation and economic growth. In 2019 alone, 200,000 new SMEs entered the market and one only has to look at the London Stock Exchange Group’s annual ‘1,000 Companies to Inspire Britain’ list to find shining examples of world-class expertise and grit. As the potential of post-Brexit prosperity begins to take shape, SMEs have no time to waste.

The world can become your oyster

These businesses are fully aware of the opportunities available to them on the wider global stage – especially across the Atlantic. A recent survey by the Federation of Small Businesses found that the U.S. is considered as the most important individual country market for small firm exports over the next three years, with over 30,00 SMEs already involved in export activities. In fact, SMEs that focus on exporting to markets outside the EU grow faster than those exporting to the bloc – the 2019 YouGov research found businesses that drew more than a quarter of their revenue from non-EU exports reported annual growth of 13 percent.

Go ‘old school’ marketing, and you will go home!

Managing shifting budgets in the face of ambitious international expansion is a task many B2B marketers will be familiar with. But now more than ever, marketing and PR budgets will need to be revisited to chart a profitable way forward. Certainly, those organizations that do not look beyond the geographically-focused, big-retainer, big-name agencies may find that compromising on global expansion is inevitable in order to keep basic marketing activity going. And that’s how all hard-earned profits and untapped potential goes down the drain!

The single biggest force holding these businesses back will be their expectation that in order to gain brand awareness they must employ PR agencies in every new geography, creating an organizational nightmare where valuable content assets, sales leads and press opportunities go to die. Location-based PR is big business for ‘old school’, inflexible agencies that boast smart offices in high-rise buildings and equally sky-high fees – with a three-month launch campaign costing anywhere between €6,000 and €11,000 per month. Instead of employing high-cost agencies in every new market or geography, B2B organizations can now choose to be savvy with their resources.

The no-compromise alternative: The Global Outreach Hub

A single-hub, scalable and low-cost approach to B2B PR helps SMEs drive their global marketing campaigns forward even on a limited budget. How?

  1. One team, multiple geographies

The hub delivers compelling thought leadership, social media and influencer programs to put your brand front and center in new markets and geographies and win new business. Geography-specific content is localized centrally, translations are managed through the agency and all communication is routed via a single point of contact, providing accountability and streamlined, frequent, metrics-based reporting.

  1. Extract the full value of thought leadership content centrally – then outreach it globally

Your ever-growing asset library will offer boundless possibilities to create media touchpoints. Content is created by a journalistically trained team within the hub or repurposed from existing material. This will then be Pitched & Placed in Tier One media targets in your chosen geographies – guaranteeing multiple placements for each piece of content. Your prospects will find their way to your subject matter experts and website, no matter where they are in the world.

  1. Cutting unnecessary costs – goodbye to the wire service!

The press release is a hugely powerful tool for establishing presence and building credibility in a new market or geography. Many organizations will spend endless cycles on getting it right, only to pass the release on to newswire services that plaster it on websites your prospects may have not even heard of – let alone read! This ‘spray and pray’ approach is not only ineffective but also unnecessarily expensive. With the IBA Global Outreach Hub, your press release goes straight into the inboxes of your most influential target journalists to ensure it is read by the right people at the right time.

Fortune favors the bold

Small and medium-sized B2B organizations are there because of their bravery. Brexit should not hold them back from their ambitious plans – and neither should their PR agency!

The simple fact is you do not need to pay the price of employing an agency in every new geography you want to target. The single-source, low-cost and scalable international PR model of the IBA Global Outreach Hub offers an affordable and proven method to establish brands as field leaders, no matter how close or far they venture from the Greenwich meridian.

Check out some of the markets where we have already unlocked growth for our clients, read more about how our model earns media without paying for it or get in touch to see how we can help lift your brand up to new heights.

Simon Woolley is Account Manager at IBA International.

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