Today’s eMarketer newsletter is amply titled “Small Businesses Strapped for Time, Cash Seek Marketing Efficiency”. I could not agree more – both as a small business owner – I own Board Advisors – and as an analyst who has covered the SMB or SBO (small business owner) market for nearly 2 decades. I have said many times that SMBs are not at all interested in becoming marketing analysts – they prefer to practice what they’ve been trained to do – fix pipes, fix teeth, fix problems. The newsletter cites a number interesting statistics. For instance according to a Bank of America survey SMBs claimed that direct mail or email was increasing in its effectiveness along side social media and B2B networking. Not really surprising at all – more and more consumers are engaging with business and friends via email.
What I found most interesting was further down in the article where according to Inc. Magazine and Cargo, “B-Side Marketing Project” – SMBs do not believe that companies that market to them (SMBs) are doing a very good job of basic fact finding and account preparation. Some 46 percent believe companies are trying to sell to them vs. talk to them and 45 percent believe companies don’t make an effort to understand “their” business.
This data confirms the “trust” gap that is out there which I have pointed executives to for a number of years. Some years back Joe Walsh, then CEO of Yellowbook as me pointedly what would it take to “get the trust back”. I said it would take a methodical process of demonstrating to SMBs that the sales rep was authentic in their account preparation and recommendation. In some cases, I said this would mean telling the SMB that print Yellow Pages was no a viable advertising option for their particular business.
That discussion was October 2010. Since then, we’ve seen some progress. vSplash’s BuzzBoard tool is certainly one path toward returning the local media sales rep to the “trusted” advisor. It is increasingly clear from the market experience that BuzzBoard enables a local media sales rep to gain much needed credibility. Here’s a verbatim from a rep currently using the tool. “I think it’s a tool that we should be using to review potential customers and what their needs are. This tool is a 3rd party telling them that their website isn’t up to par. It’s not just a “sales person”
We’ll be sharing some success stories at the Borrell conference next Tuesday in NY – hope to see you there.