Monday, 27 July 2009

Marketing to Independent/Growing/Privately-Owned Businesses - A Manifesto - Part Two

Here’s my list of thought bubbles I would like to send to the big corporate who claims to have had a Damascus moment and now wants to work with the small business community:-

  1. I am not an “SME”. I am a small, or owner-managed, or independent, or growing, or self-employed, or new, or young, or boutique business. But I am not an SME (pronounced S.M.E.)

    Only corporate people have the smug arrogance and ignorance to use such a phrase. When I go to a party I do not say "Hi, I am an S.M.E.” And as for the “Smeeee” word – what is that all about? I never ever call myself a “smeeee”. Excuse me!!

  2. I am not part of a homogenous mass of some four million similar sales prospects.

  3. I am not an immature/undeveloped/under-developed big business.

  4. I am not a second-class citizen who you see as a market opportunity only after you have exhausted the blue chip big ticket spenders, to maximise your investment.

  5. I want you to sell to me with an entirely fresh approach, not merely a scaled-down version of the methods used with big corporates.

  6. I do not want to be patronised.

  7. All marketers are liars; salesmen are worse. Your research is meaningless sophistry. You don’t need focus groups if you are close to your customer. Think about it!

  8. I know you don’t really care (in words or in actions). If people talked to you the way that corporates spoke to small business people you would punch them on the nose.

  9. I am not another target towards your year-end sales goals.

  10. I have a less formal, faster buying cycle than a corporate so create faster systems to match how I buy and not the other way around. I am not interested in your processes; they are for your benefit only.

  11. I want my supplier to understand me.

  12. I want my supplier to understand business.

  13. I want my supplier to understand my business.

  14. I want my supplier to understand me. (Yes, I have repeated myself)

  15. I want swift action.

  16. I want to know what I am paying for and how and when I am paying.

  17. I do not want to be bamboozled with science: keep it simple stupid.

  18. I am the customer; remember who I am… I am the customer.

  19. I don’t want my time wasted; be short and sweet.

  20. I want you to make it easy for me to order and to buy from you; win my trust ‘cos I don’t have to buy from you today or ever.

  21. I beg you to make sure your service delights me; show me how you can help, show me the benefits.

  22. I ask that you customise your products and service for me.

  23. I would be happiest if you could be more of a trusted adviser and not a numbers jockey.

  24. I am not a number.

The days of Interruption Marketing are over.

You just don’t get it.

You corporates can’t talk my language.


A quick summary:
  • Small businesses are a real business opportunity. They buy lotsa stuff
  • Small and big businesses are very different
  • Big businesses are (still?) in control so they think, and are totally, hopelessly, clueless about small businesses
  • Not enough ’stuff’ is designed for small businesses or communicated in a way that appeals to them
  • Most marketing to small businesses is, to be frank, pretty patronising.

This is not a small business/big business thing but a straight-down-the-line business/commercial argument. The small business market is not a niche, a speciality group or a minority – they have wallets, and for many corporates, small businesses with their specific needs hold the key to future success.

The field is wide open.
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