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BIA/Kelsey Leading in Local: The ‘Blurry’ World of Local SMB Services

During his discussion, Patrick Barry, CMO of Demandforce (Intuit) talked about how local is inherently the domain of the small business. But they are some of the hardest customers to reach, reluctant to try new products and difficult to retain. On the National Federation of Independent Businesses’ (NFIB) list of the most important small business problems expressed by business owners, the top 3 are government regulations, taxes, and poor sales.

On the operations side, SMBs are consumed by running their business and advertising is not really at the forefront of their concerns. Demandforce’s strategy is to use products that help with back office operations to leverage other products. The oft neglected front office side in touching consumers is what local marketers are most concerned about which accentuates the divergent priorities between marketer and client. But the local marketer’s opportunity lies in filling that void, especially through the use of trusted advisors who can help with the front office side.

Patrick shared Demandforce’s view of the customer pyramid – at the bottom, the greatest volume and foundation of the small business is existing customers. In the middle is “referred” customers and at the top, the smallest segment, is new customers. So the most value to SMBs is in existing customers although most of the marketing cost is spent on direct acquisition of new customers. While businesses do need new customers for growth, since most of the value is in existing customers, in order to sustain the business, it’s important not to forget them in SMB marketing efforts.

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