Why marketing is too hard for kiwi businesses

Updated: Jul 23, 2020

Marketing your business in godzone shouldn't feel as hard as it does. It can seem expensive. It can seem daunting. It can seem like there are boat loads of so-called ‘experts’ out there who will recommend you invest heavily in their services without taking much time to get to know how your business really works or what you want to achieve with it.

If you work at a large company of 100 or more employees, it’s likely you’ve got a marketing department or at least a Marketing Manager who is skilled at navigating all your options and optimising your marketing efforts (and spend) to get the best results they can. Businesses of this size have the budget to employ marketing staff.


According to Hays Recruitment, the average salary across New Zealand for a Marketing Executive is $70,000 and $100,000 for a Marketing Manager - unaffordable for most kiwi firms. This means that the majority of New Zealand companies don't have a dedicated marketing resource or if there is it’s very light. A Sales Manager might be given marketing to look after (even though they’re not trained in it) or the owner or GM could be putting the marketing hat on at times (along with many other hats that they’re constantly swapping out).

A ‘make-do’ approach is often employed because it appears to be the only one that’s financially viable.

Whilst this is totally understandable, it generally doesn't work very well. The focus and skills required to plan and execute effective marketing are usually greater than what a typical kiwi business can pull off by themselves. Starting to sound hard right?

What should you do?

Put simply – find some help. But be careful to find the right kind of help. There are some brilliant marketing companies out there (just Google ‘Marketing Support’ and you’ll find dozens), however you’ll need to be prepared for their fees and their expectation that you commit to a certain level of spend in order for them to engage. If you haven’t got quite that much wind in your sails yet, you might be better off with a consultant or independent individual who has the marketing nous to assist you but not the overheads of a bigger firm. Unfortunately there are fewer of these around and they can be difficult to find, however they can make a huge difference to your overall business capability.

In either case, be sure to make a distinction between hiring marketers and hiring a marketing services provider.

What’s the difference? In a nutshell, a marketer will instinctively want to develop either an overarching plan for your business or at least some clearly defined goals and then utilise a range of marketing services to achieve these. They’ll be interested in measurement and continuously improving any tactics as they want outcomes.

A marketing services provider will have experience and strong capability in one or more areas of execution and be somewhat hyper-focused on this (for example a website design firm). They’ll probably be very good at what they do but you’ll get the most out of them when you have some clearly defined objectives laid out and have considered how their work fits in with the whole marketing picture within your business.

If you haven’t spent much time on marketing to date, I would recommend finding a marketer first to help you develop some clear goals and then have them work with you on bringing in any marketing services required to achieve these. The cost of various marketing services can vary greatly, so they can expertly scope these for you based on what’s appropriate for your budget and business size.

With this kind of approach, marketing may still not be easy, but it will be just a little less hard.

About Xennial Marketing

Xennial is a marketing consultancy firm located in Auckland, with over 30 years combined experience in marketing across various industries.

Xennial is ideally suited to businesses who are either:

  • Looking to grow sales through sound planning and effective tactical marketing

  • Wanting to clarify their brand positioningNeeding creative services to refresh their branding and marketing materials

  • Looking for senior marketing advice and strategy direction

  • Wanting an ongoing marketing partner to support the business

  • Needing help with a marketing-related project

If you are looking to partner with a leading marketing consultancy contact us today and arrange an obligation free consultation.