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#LSA18: The New Market for SMB Services

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The New Market for SMB Services panel featured a great mix of perspectives from leaders in the solution market with a cohesive message. Consumers are driving the change and demanding personalization. SMBs need to navigate and offer the same level of engagement with consumers as the Amazons of the world. It’s up to technology and solution providers to bridge some gaps to make that easier for them.

Panelists moderated by Neal Polachek:
Louise Lachmann, CEO & Co-Founder of Mono Solutions
Sandy Lohr, CEO of Matchcraft
Josh Melick, CEO & Founder of Broadly
Allyson Van Houten, Senior Marketing Manager at MailChimp

Consumers Are Driving The Shift

Neal asked if it’s the mobile experience that is shifting business to the cloud and the consensus was, well yes, but ultimately it’s the consumer that is driving the shift.  Sandy Lohr made the blanket statement that there is “no debate” about the importance and significance of mobile. She mentioned her recent trip to Brazil and how the majority of small businesses have went straight to mobile. No longer mobile-first, there it might be mobile only.

Josh candidly noted, “We all want to help the little guy, but if it’s too much work, I’m just going to Amazon.” So the discussion really needs to be how do we help these small businesses navigate this and engage with their consumers via mobile while simultaneously running their business, also via their mobile device.

Helping The Small Business Navigate

Data and engagement go hand in hand. Websites can no longer be static and they need to provide meaningful experiences on mobile. Louise mentioned the importance of data in the digital landscape and the role it plays in helping SMBs perform across channels and how the website acts as a hub for this data. Josh followed up saying it’s more than a data hub, it’s a communication hub. This is where the small business needs to engage with their customers if they are to compete.

Mailchimp has a huge focus understanding the needs and challenges facing their SMB customers. Allyson mentioned that they regularly invite customers in to hear their stories to bring real transparency into their day-to-day to ultimately drive better product development. She noted the consumer demand for personalization, and that small businesses know it exists and it stresses them out. “To add value we need to help small businesses understand where to start and why.”

What Is The Future?

“It’s about integrations.” Louise offered her European perspective and experience to highlight that the demand across markets can be fragmented so integrations are the only way to create the best package to help SMBs for an individual market, vertical or whatever the segmentation may be. Josh said there is more consolidation to be done in the market while Allyson hinted that GDPR is making it’s way to America. Data, while powerful, needs to treated correctly in order to provide value and the recent events of Facebook make it clear that some regulation may be needed.

There Is Consensus 

The panel came to a general consensus that small businesses have their work cut out but they absolutely need to provide the same enterprise-level customer experiences with the same budget in a more complex landscape. It’s up to technology companies to work closer together with digital service providers to make that easier and affordable.

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