For a small company, employing a full-time marketing director might be a luxury it can’t afford.
But getting access to the same level of expertise without facing the permanent overhead cost has paid off for software company, Silkmoth.
The firm, which does the “heavy lifting” or back-end building of websites to help companies market themselves and manage e-commerce, commissioned Matthew Goldsbrough of Goldsbrough Consulting in 2003 to do a small project. Three years later, the company had National Tyres as a client – now one of its biggest.
“That was the direct result of a specific marketing campaign Matthew put together and has been worth many thousands of pounds to us,” says Keith Jones, Silkmoth’s managing director.
Before Matthew got involved with Silkmoth the business – about half the size it is today – faced a challenge: “At that time we were concentrating on day-to-day activities and it was difficult to focus on how to present a credible story for winning new business,” Keith says.
“As well as trying to figure out how to show that what we did was different, we were also going after business that was – with hindsight – not quite right. As companies began to expect more functionality and value from their websites – plus immediate technical support – this was the arena we needed to be in and where we could outshine the “one-man band” website designers who don’t typically have the infrastructure to support customers properly.”
Structure, Strategy and Tactics
What Silkmoth needed to accelerate its business development was strategic thinking and establishing a clear market position; focusing on what it did well and pricing its services at the right level. “This was really Matthew’s principal experience and value for us,” says Keith.
“He was also valuable for tactical activities we needed, such as copywriting for our own website, along with direct and email marketing alongside developing a databases of prospects – all things we just didn’t have the time to do.”
“After seeing his work on that initial project, what we liked was his methodical approach; an ability to think clearly and direct others’ thoughts in a structured way. What he’s got is a well-defined system for working through marketing issues and producing good results.”
In time, Matthew’s role evolved into that of a freelance marketing director, complete with his own Silkmoth business cards. Keith explains: “He met clients, attended our board meetings in a non-executive role and provided the necessary marketing input, becoming an integral – albeit outsourced – part of the business.
“And, if we met a company that wasn’t quite ready to go down a particular route with its web presence, we would introduce Matthew to help them with their own marketing issues and that would, when it made sense, lead to business for us also.”
Partner Strategy Extends Silkmoth’s Reach
Today, Silkmoth works with a number of design partners to generate new business and has a much clearer idea of its strengths. “Matthew helped us to consider carefully and develop our key proposition for clients and partners, and that – in large part – is the way we continue to present our services now,” Keith says.
“With marketing and sales you can convince yourself you haven’t got the time to do it or, when running your own business, fall into the trap of believing you can do everything when, in reality, you don’t have the skills.
Focus and Direction
“So, getting an external view prompted us to think about our business in a different way and forced us to focus. Having regular, monthly meetings with Matthew meant there was always time allocated in the diary to discuss marketing and sales, which is vital to avoid the management team getting side-tracked by business-as-usual activity.
“Matthew’s approach is direct, but that’s part of the appeal. In business, I don’t have a problem with tough truths; if you are paying someone for their professional advice you’d be a fool not to listen to it! And if you can see some unfulfilled potential in your business it’s worth buying in the right advice to take it forward.”