Marketing Eye
By Nick Nichols, Business Editor

Picture of CEO, Mellissah Smith:
‘We need to be a bit smarter about what we do’

THE global financial crisis may have many business owners running scared but, according to marketing dynamo Mellissah Smith, it could cost them dearly.

Ms Smith, founder and chief executive of Marketing Eye, said defensive strategies in these troubled times were gifting valuable customers to more aggressive competitors.

The rapidly changing business environment required an equally rapid response, she said.

“I think the current global downturn creates opportunities for lateral-thinking business owners.”

Ms Smith agreed businesses needed to trim the fat from expenses.

“Cutbacks in this environment are inevitable, and marketing staff are always on the firing line.”

But Ms Smith warned that ill conceived cutbacks could prove costly in the long term.

“We need to be a bit smarter about what we do.”

Ms Smith said, rather than cutbacks, companies needed to ‘revisit their marketing strategies’.

“The strategies they had last year are not going to work over the next 12 months and companies that fail to do this will find there is a large shortfall in outcomes.”

Ms Smith began her own marketing start-up, Insomnia, when aged just 25.

While she still operates the advertising and creative agency, in 2004 Ms Smith established Marketing Eye, a comprehensive consultancy targeting small and medium enterprises.

As Ms Smith’s expertise is rooted in the technology field, it is little wonder she advocates the web as one of the most effective tools available to businesses.

“Everyone is going web,” she said.

“The focus now is on using websites as a marketing tool to drive leads, to brand the firm and to show online testimonials.”

Ms Smith disagreed with the notion that the internet had become too competitive for businesses to make their mark effectively.

“A lot of our clients may be two-man bands, but if they build their websites correctly they (can be) among the top five on search engines.”

She said businesses using the same web page they designed 10 years ago had fallen off the radar in search engines and this was a key factor in the failure of those websites to gain traction.

“It doesn’t matter what size of business you are, you can still be number one over your larger counterparts.”

Ms Smith, who has just moved back to the Gold Coast and has headquartered her businesses at Southport, said a sharp rise in turnover at Marketing Eye in recent months was a clear sign of the growing need for marketing services in the current environment.

“Our Sydney and Melbourne offices in the last three months have doubled our turnover,” she said.

One of the key drivers of that growth is a rising trend by businesses to outsource their marketing services.

Marketing Eye Atlanta offers in-house marketing managers to small companies with slender budgets.

Ms Smith said outsourcing marketing services would become more commonplace in the tightening economic environment.