Small Business Saturday & the State of SMB Marketing

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, over the past 15 years SMBs have been responsible for more than 60% of all job growth in the US. Small businesses are the lifeblood of the US economy and a new survey shows that consumers are doing more to support these businesses.

Now, in its fifth year, the “#shopsmall” movement has officially taken hold. According to the Small Business Saturday Consumer Insights Survey, 55% of U.S. consumers said they are aware of Small Business Saturday, which is the highest figure yet.

Taking place Saturday, November 28, Small Business Saturday is a chance for consumers around the country to support their community and local economy by shopping at small, local businesses. More importantly, the awareness the initiative has built among the general consumer population has resulted in broader support of local business.

The NFIB and American Express survey found that 83% of consumers say Small Business Saturday inspires them to shop at small businesses all year long. After five years, what started as an American Express campaign, now appears to be more of an American movement not fixed to dates on the calendar.

The initiative has helped drive the “support local” mentality among consumers, but for the business owners, building local awareness requires more than just a desire to shop locally. The path to purchase has become far more complex, increasingly influenced by digital channels. According to a recent xAd study, 87% of consumers find digital devices (desktop, smartphone, tablet) to be the most important tools for researching purchase information.

As an industry of media companies, agencies and technology providers who help businesses market to local consumers, it is our job to help these SMBs succeed. There is a clear appetite among consumers to shop locally, and armed with our expertise, we can help turn this desire into actions.

The majority of purchases still take place at brick and mortar locations, and connecting local consumers with nearby businesses is why LSA and our members exist. The rapidly evolving digital landscape continues to introduce new tactics for engaging these local consumers, and the complexity has solidified a need for help in this area.

With Small Business Saturday in just a few days, now is a great time to reflect on the state of the SMB marketing space and identify how our industry can better support these businesses. Here are the top five SMB-related articles from our blog this year:

Common themes in the posts above are trust and satisfaction. In fact, frustration and dissatisfaction may be fueling a growing DIY trend among SMBs. Yet SMBs still need a great deal of education and support to succeed.

As we head towards the end of the year, now is the time to reflect and plan for 2016. I look forward to working with LSA members and others in the local segment that serve this critical population and collaborating on how we can be more effective in 2016.

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