There were just as many lessons for SMBs as megabrands at the recent CEO/CMO Summit http://www.mmaglobal.com/events/ceosummit/2014/agenda staged by the Mobile Marketing Association.
Sure, there was discussion that was irrelevant to small businesses, such as Hilton’s mission of trying six mobile tactics over the course of a year knowing that “three or four things will work. One will be OK. One will be a learning.”
I don’t know even one SMB that is doing six things in mobile. And that's a good thing.
Andrew Flack, Hilton Worldwide’s Vice President Product Marketing & Customer Insights made a comment about mobile that is true for businesses of all sizes -- “be prepared to not be perfect.” Rather, savvy SMBs are integrating mobile to make their operations more efficient.
Manish Gupta, Executive Vice President and General Manager, OPEN Products at American Express, said that SMBs should focus on “incremental benefits” that mobile brings to their businesses. An example was a photo-taking tool that enables SMBs to save time by easily building expense reports tied to QuickBooks.
Gupta reminded the audience that some small business owners are slow to adopt, and that it’s important to “think of consumer behavior and not just do mobile for mobile’s sake.” While computer penetration is short of 100 percent, 98 percent of SMBs use some sort of mobile technology.
“Almost two-thirds think of it as an imperative,” he remarked. These companies view mobile as an “equalizer”, and a “traffic driver”, even when employing the least “sexy” mobile product – text messaging.
Two companies, Perry Ellis and Cosi, spoke of the success of SMS programs. In fact, Perry Ellis believe so much in building a database via text that it has sales associates proactively going down store aisles to ask shoppers to opt-in for offers and other information.
Justin Roisman, Head of Mobile Strategies, Perry Ellis, said that it often takes 8-10 emails for a customer to convert.
“It’s a much shorter time with text,” he told the audience.
Cosi, primarily a sandwich shop, uses SMS to get people to come into the locations at times when business is slow, including mid-afternoons.
Marc Lapides, Cosi Director of Marketing, shared that the next phase of growth is in segmentation. When applied, Lapides said that Cosi would no longer send an SMS offer to a consumer who already was going to buy lunch there. Instead, deals would go to those who are visit infrequently.
SMBs have all sorts of ways to get into text messaging. Often the easiest is to work with a radio station to reach listeners and to use the station’s short code which saves them time and money. As mobile evolves, the adaption of mobile practices, particularly for SMBs, expands with it.
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