November 9, 2012

Small Business Marketing is Consumer Marketing

Recently I saw Megan Totka's article on Marketing to Small Businesses and just had to applaud her point that "business to business (B2B) marketing to a small business can be much like business to consumer (B2C) marketing".

Of course it is!!

Data shows that the majority of US firms are sole proprietors and less than 10 employees. The people running and working in these businesses are the very same people when they are working and when they are not. And while I don't have research stats handy as evidence of this, I expect that for these business owners, their line between work and not-work is very, very blurred. They think about work during their "non-work" hours and they think about non-work during their "work" hours.

So why would we think these people turn into new, strange, alien creatures just because it's a service for their business?  

There isn't a "small business buyer" - there is just the person purchasing something s/he will use in his/her business.  Most are comfortable using consumer technology at work, so let's start acknowledging that our marketing of business services needs to reflect consumer marketing sensibilities.

Marketing always begins with understanding the customer.  The more that we can remember that it is people in these small businesses, the more successful every small business marketer will be in engaging and converting them into profitable customers.