The CMO Council’s new “Business Traction From Smarter SMB Interaction” report http://www.cmocouncil.org/download-center.php?id=273 nails many of the challenges that marketers face in selling into small and medium-sized business.
Cited are significant personnel turnover in SMB operations, not to mention the fact that the businesses come and go frequently.
Here is some of what is in the report, then I’ll get into what’s missing, and what we should do about it all.
· 70% of respondents say that the SMB market is extremely important to their businesses
· Only 8% reported having a complete view of the SMB customer
· Marketers tend to look at SMBs as one giant segment, and that is how they have tailored their messaging, Liz Miller, senior vice president of marketing for the CMO Council, told cmo.com http://www.cmo.com/articles/2014/1/22/marketers_have_incom.html. A small business with 100 employees in the agriculture sector, for example, is not viewed as having different needs because it is in a particular vertical, she says
· 63% are only moderately satisfied with their current strategies. Only 6 percent of marketers believe they are extremely effective at developing compelling messages and executing measurable campaigns for the SMB market
Many of my efforts in the past year have been focused on marketing to SMBs. Granted I have been selling technology and a new way for SMBs to market (via mobile devices), but I found the largest challenges were in effectively educating the business owners on a particular problem that they have (getting customers to come in more regularly) and more importantly how my solution fit the bill.
SMBs have a core job – providing a product or service to customers – that takes priority over new marketing initiatives.
When it comes to selling SMBs on mobile marketing and building permission-based databases that will result in customers coming back frequently, we believe that it’s a no-brainer.
But many SMBs haven’t the time nor background to learn how to market through a new technology.
So what do we do about it?
Marketers need to make it about the SMB. The solution proposition needs to be laser-focused, addressing the very needs and circumstances that the individual business finds itself in.
Cookie-cutter marketing to SMBs won’t cut it, even if you are looking to sell to the cookie maker on the corner.
We must do better at putting ourselves in the shoes of the SMB and addressing their particulars accordingly.
This post was brought to you by IBM for Midsize Business and opinions are my own. To read more on this topic, visit IBM's Midsize Insider. Dedicated to providing businesses with expertise, solutions and tools that are specific to small and midsized companies, the Midsize Business program provides businesses with the materials and knowledge they need to become engines of a smarter planet.