Communication Styles & Differences within Small versus Medium Size Companies by Jonathan Pearson – CEO, BluZinc

How do small business owners or entrepreneurs communicate? What is their style when talking to team members and peers in the company? What is their style when emailing team members and peers in the company? What do customers like about small companies? Bearing in mind the previous questions, what are the main behavioural differences for a Chief Marketing Officer who works for a small $20MM revenue company versus a medium size $100MM company?

In the USA companies are classified as:

  • Startup : Less than 3 years old
  • Small : over 3 years old and under $50MM revenue with less than 500 employees
  • Medium : over $50MM to $1B revenue with 500 to 999 employees
  • Large :Ā  over $1B revenue and more than 1000 employees

Small business owners or entrepreneurs typically communicate in a direct and hands-on manner. They often have close-knit teams and prefer open and transparent communication. Here are some common styles of communication for small business owners:

  1. Personal approach: Small business owners often have a more personal and informal communication style. They build relationships with team members and peers, creating a friendly and collaborative work environment.
  2. Direct and concise: Due to limited resources and time constraints, small business owners value efficiency. They tend to communicate in a direct and concise manner, getting to the point quickly and avoiding excessive formalities.
  3. Hands-on involvement: Small business owners are typically heavily involved in day-to-day operations. They communicate by being actively engaged with their team, providing guidance, feedback, and troubleshooting issues directly.
  4. Open-door policy: Small business owners often have an open-door policy, encouraging team members to approach them with questions, concerns, or ideas. They value open communication and are receptive to input from their team.

When it comes to email communication, small business owners often maintain a similar style:

  1. Informal tone: Small business owners may use a more informal tone in emails, especially when communicating with team members and peers. This fosters a sense of approachability and camaraderie.
  2. Clear and concise messages: Just like in verbal communication, small business owners prefer emails that are straightforward and to the point. They may use bullet points or numbered lists to ensure clarity and ease of reading.
  3. Prompt response: Small business owners often prioritize prompt email responses, recognizing the importance of timely communication for the smooth functioning of the business.

Customers appreciate several aspects of small companies, including:

  1. Personalized service: Small businesses often have the advantage of offering personalized attention to customers. They can develop closer relationships and provide a more customized experience, catering to individual needs and preferences.
  2. Flexibility and adaptability: Small businesses are often more agile and able to adapt quickly to changes. This allows them to be more responsive to customer requests and provide tailored solutions.
  3. Attention to detail: Small businesses tend to pay meticulous attention to detail, ensuring a high level of quality in their products or services. This commitment to excellence can create a positive impression on customers.

For a Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) working in a small $20MM revenue company compared to a medium-sized $100MM company, there may be some behavioral differences:

  1. Focus on growth: In the small company, the CMO may be more focused on driving rapid growth and gaining market share. They may need to be more hands-on, wearing multiple hats and overseeing various marketing functions.
  2. Close collaboration: In a smaller company, the CMO is likely to work more closely with the CEO and other stakeholders. The decision-making process may be more direct and collaborative, requiring the CMO to communicate and align strategies with senior management frequently.
  3. Limited resources: The CMO of a small company may need to work within tighter budget constraints compared to their counterpart in a medium-sized company. They must be resourceful and creative in their marketing strategies to achieve maximum impact with limited resources.
  4. Niche marketing focus: With a smaller customer base, the CMO of a small company may need to focus on targeted and niche marketing approaches to reach their specific audience effectively.
  5. Agility and adaptability: Similar to small business owners, the CMO in a small company needs to be agile and adaptable to changing market conditions. They must be able to quickly pivot marketing strategies and respond to emerging opportunities or challenges.

In contrast, a CMO in a medium-sized $100MM company may have access to larger marketing budgets, a broader team, and a more established market presence. They may have a greater emphasis on managing marketing campaigns, analyzing data and metrics, and overseeing:

  1. Scalable strategies: In a medium-sized company with a higher revenue, the CMO may focus on developing scalable marketing strategies that can be implemented across different regions or customer segments. They may invest in more sophisticated marketing tools and technologies to streamline processes and optimize performance.
  2. Team management: With a larger marketing team, the CMO in a medium-sized company may spend more time on team management and development. They may have the responsibility of hiring and training new team members, delegating tasks, and fostering a collaborative work environment.
  3. Brand management: As the company grows, brand management becomes increasingly important. The CMO in a medium-sized company may dedicate more efforts to brand development, positioning, and maintaining consistency across various marketing channels.
  4. Strategic partnerships: With a larger revenue and market presence, the CMO of a medium-sized company may have more opportunities to establish strategic partnerships and collaborations with other businesses or influencers. This can help expand the company’s reach and enhance its brand image.
  5. Data-driven decision-making: In a medium-sized company, the CMO may have access to more comprehensive data and analytics resources. They can leverage this data to make informed marketing decisions, optimize campaigns, and measure the effectiveness of marketing efforts.

Overall, while both the CMO in a small $20MM revenue company and a medium-sized $100MM company share similar responsibilities in driving marketing strategies, the scale, resources, and focus of their work may differ due to the size and growth stage of their respective organizations.