New digital technology is making the shift of marketing resources more apparent for small business owners. Particularly when it comes to future growth and reaching Millennials.
In podcast #42, John D. Verlin discusses 7 Things Small Business Owners Want From Marketing Technology.
These insights were summarized and commented on, originally published in April, 2015, from an interview in Streetfight Daily by Liz Taurasi and the vice president of public affairs for the National Small Business Administration, Molly Day.
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Marketing Your Business; 7 Things Small Business Owners Want From Marketing Technology, Podcast #42!
Host: John D. Verlin
Good afternoon, once again John Verlin with On Demand Advertising Solutions, Digital Marketing Update.
This is the 42nd podcast.
And today, a great, great article in Streetfight Daily, from April of 2015.
Actually, a couple of years old.
But it’s very pertinent today. If you own a small business, you’re going to want to hear this.
Liz Taurasi wrote this, she interviewed Molly Day, the vice president of public affairs for the National Small Business Association.
And she’s talking…basically she’s talking about seven things small business owners want from marketing technology.
And that stands to reason.
She says there’s over $50 billion being spent, two years ago in 2015 in local media.
Now, if you’re using local magazine, TV, radio or whatever, that’s what she’s talking about.
And small business contributes one out of every three dollars in local marketing.
Now, she’s talking to Molly Day about the still mixed relationship with the tech industry.
What they are looking for in marketing products, for small business merchants are looking for in the tech end.
The first question she asks is help us understand the psychographic, demographic shifts that are happening in the small business community.
Some argue that small business owners are getting younger as the older generation retire. Are you seeing this?
And Molly says it’s real similar to some things I’ve commented on She says, yes–we’re definitely seeing a drop off in entrepreneurship.and new small businesses.
There’s definitely newer, younger businesses coming in to the market.
With those baby boomers aging in place so to speak and step out of it.
But it’s not what we’ve seen previously. And that’s just based she says, on births and deaths. And that’s just in the past two years.
And as the economy has been growing, I’m sure we’re going to see younger millennial and younger people starting businesses.
I know i worked with a bank for small businesses, and we had a lot of different people age thirty, thirty-five starting checking accounts for small businesses.
The second question that she has, small business has had a mixed relationship with the marketing tech industry–and given your research, how has that relationship evolved over the last ten years?
What’s driving the criticisms with Facebook, Yelp and others? Molly says, she thinks it’s two-fold.
A lot of business owners look to those companies to help get the word out for expanding their customer base.
But today, the majority of small businesses, even ones a little older, not always tech saavy are overwhelmingly joining Linkedin and more and more, Facebook and Twitter.
I see that too.
I’m older, over fifty let’s say–two weeks ago I had a seventy-three year old relative talking about a new smartphone he was going to get. He’s got a dated smartphone.
And he was looking at some of the latest models, asking my opinion. A seventy-three year old man wanting to get a smartphone.
Nothing crazy about that, but I thought that was interesting. Although, he admitted his use was primarily texting grandkids, Facebook, searching…for things.
Amazon’s changed everything when it comes to shopping on their smartphone.
And I keep pointing this out on these podcasts–the technology has changed, of what people are doing with the technology.
And businesses, particularly small businesses need to be aware of this. That whole thing has shift. I call it the Millennial Shift.
Now, she–Molly also said that business owners were learning and that being engaged is really the best way to do this.
Perhaps if you get a negative review on Yelp or on Facebook, to respond back to that person.
She says I think learning if you’re going to be involved with these online tools on social media that you really have to commit to it.
You have to be all in or not at all. And I agree with that. That’s been my experience in talking to small businesses.
And a lot of them are just learning this, to be on social media.
Well, you’re either all in or all out.
But, what’s going to drive them to become all in?
I think it’s going to be the fact that customers are going to be saying something to them.
They’re saying, I couldn’t find you.
Or, I went to a Facebook page and you didn’t have one.
That again, comes down to the marketing platform we’ve talked about.
The perception, the brand perception.
All of the things I’ve been talking about on these podcasts. Talk about building that marketing platform and promoting it.
This is one of the major things. Particularly in getting future customers.
Millennial customers. They’re savvy to all of this. More savvy than I am. So this is why this all in on social media.
You need to rethink this if you’re not doing it.
Because it’s where it’s headed, it’s where it’s been going and it’s one way of insuring that you’ll have future customers.
The third question, small businesses evolve as buyers of technology and marketing tools.
And, she basically says it’s one of those areas where putting money into will make the business cost-effective.
But certainly putting money into it but not as much as hiring another person to do the marketing like they did twenty years ago.
She says this is another variant too. This is no different than using ecommerce, internet solutions, to expand their growth.
But, again this is one reason I started this business seeing that need for small businesses or businesses to expand or hire a marketing person just like they did twenty years ago.
It comes down to their experience, savvyiness with technology.
What I like to offer is to freelance it so they don’t have to commit to a long term plan unless they want to.
Because I can do that too.
That and one thing she said it is cost-effective if they’re considering various options, when it comes to the marketing, accounting, taxes.
What do small business owners want from technology? Is it easier to run their businesses? More customers? A better way to interact with their existing ones?
Molly basically indicates that bottom line total is important.
I think second is responsiveness, and that is a really key thing for small businesses.
Because they often don’t have people to take care of HR, somebody else for taxes, accounting.
It’s all on that one person, the business owner.
They want systems, they want responses that are quick and efficient, that doesn’t take a lot of their time.
As far as what is driving them to technology–yes, I think reaching out to their customers is certainly the biggest driver.
And again, this comes back to what I have been talking about. Getting involved in social media.
It’s, this is a whole new–you can see on my website on the bottom–Mr. Patel in Inc. magazine.
A quote from him saying that the customer experience is the new marketing. User experience, this is the new marketing.
Engagement of customers. This is the new marketing. I’ll repeat that. Customer engagement is the new marketing.
That’s what she’s talking about. You have to get engaged with your customers.
How are going to do that? Direct mail? Coupons? Social media?
This is why I’ve been talking about social media so much because this is where customers are engaged in.
You may have a neighborhood Facebook page.
My community has one. About 9000 members. And every day I’m seeing posts on Facebook about, I’ve lost my cat. I’m looking for a used mattress.
Used furniture. Or, has somebody tried the new Dairy Queen?
Or I want to shout out and thank, the Walmart locally for helping out when my car was stalled in the parking lot.
Whatever it is, is they’re engaging on my Facebook.
Good or bad and there have been some bad.
And some local businesses that if they had not known, and I know of a few, that were not engaged on that platform and there were some negative comments, which they found out about it after the fact.
You don’t want to be in that position.
So number five–do you believe technology in the internet has made small business more or less competitive to large brands from say a decade ago.
She says, technology has probably made small business brands more competitive, but it’s also made them more vulnerable.
Again, you’ve got one person doing HR, CEO, Accounting–all of that. It’s up to you that you assist with tech.
It’s kind of a middle ground with cyber security issues.
It’s made things a lot easier but again, it’s making sure that a cyber security investment is a good idea.
Number six, what are the biggest threats to the growth of small business today?
Well, she says the members of the Small Business Association says they’re most concerned with economic insecurity.
And this is two years ago.
Now, I doubt that’s changed.
There’s this looming fear based on the Great Recession that the economy could go that way again.
That biggest fear, some of it’s driven by policy makers, government shutdown. Whatever.
Lack of confidence in elected officials.
And she says that might have something to do with the economic insecurity.
There’s also the geopolitical situation. Today with China, it’s tied to elected officials. It’s also reality with trade. NAFTA, Pan Pacific trade agreement.
So, she says she’s seen some parallels a market drop off in new start ups, tax code is too complex. You get a tax break now. But two years from now it will go away.
Then it will pass retroactively. And you have two weeks to make a decision on a $25,000 purchase–and mountains of regulations.
It’s contributed to more hurdles which she thinks has contributed to the decline of startups.
Finally, the seventh question, the seventh thing that small business owners are wanting from marketing technology, what do you expect to see as contributing to small businesses in the next year or two?
She said, we’re going to see more and more small businesses looking to expand their social media interaction.
Right now, it’s about half that are actively engaged in social media, but we’re going to see an increase.
Plus, they’re going to focus on marketing to a younger generations.
Not only expand their customer base, but expand the continuity of that base.
As well as alternative financing options for small businesses to get loans.
Thirty-one percent cited they couldn’t get adequate financing, six months ago when this was taken.
I know the bank I worked at, they were starting to offer micro business loans for small businesses, for this very reason.
So, seven things that small business owners want to from marketing technology. I hope you’ve learned from that.
John Verlin, On Demand Advertising Solutions.com is the website.
Reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We’ll talk to you next week!
All podcasts are recorded by Verlin Studios / Gardner, Kansas
Copyright, John D. Verlin 2017