TORONTO--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Results of a new Cargo study reveal that the needs of Canada’s small businesses are commonly ignored by the very companies that try to sell products and services to them. Cargo is North America’s leading authority on helping brands market to small businesses, providing B2SB marcomm guidance to global brands like Microsoft, Mercedes-Benz, Daimler and Freightliner.
“Because their business is a reflection of themselves, they consider poor customer service toward their business a personal affront.”
Among the Small Business Owners (SBOs) responding to the nationwide survey, 56 percent said that brands are not marketing to them effectively. Perhaps even more important is the degree to which companies fail to reach them on a personal level, the very level that is the psychological engine, motivation driver and competitive differentiator for this group.
- 44% say brands/companies do not understand their needs
- 48% say companies do not make an effort to understand their business
- 42% say companies try to sell to them versus talk to them
Conducted in summer 2013, the Cargo study marks the Canadian launch of a long-term research initiative called the “B-Side Marketing Project,” designed to bring a voice to the under-served small business owner (those operating in a commercial setting with at least one employee in addition to the owner). Started last year in the United States, the B-Side Marketing Project is thought to be the first of its kind to focus on the current state of small businesses and how brands market to them. A strong and growing buying force, SBO’s are often the neglected target audience within company and agency marketing plans — the so-called “B-side” of marketing. The study reveals SBO behaviors, attitudes and insights so brands can learn to better understand and ultimately better connect with this passionate, driven and loyal audience. This is the first of two planned waves of the study in Canada in 2013.
SMALL BUSINESS FRUSTRATIONS
The B-Side Marketing Project study found that the top three reasons Canadian small business owners changed brands were:
1. Bad previous experience - 22%
2. Better product/service support - 20%
3. Bad customer service - 18%
"Poor customer service is not only a pragmatic issue but also a dogma for how SBOs pride themselves in how they treat their own customers,” explains Cargo Managing Director Dan Gliatta. “Because their business is a reflection of themselves, they consider poor customer service toward their business a personal affront."
When it comes to SBO’s top frustrations with brands and marketers, lack of responsiveness, lack of responsiveness was cited as SBO’s top frustration with marketers (20 percent) followed by “poor customer service” (18 percent); “poor quality product/service” (16 percent); and “not understanding my business (10 percent).
HOW TO PLEASE SMALL BUSINESSES
The need for relevance is prevalent throughout the study findings. For instance, when asked what marketers can do to improve the way they market their goods/services to small businesses, nearly half (48 percent) of SBOs said, “Tell me how this is relevant to my business,” and 42 percent said, “Show me how the product benefits my company.”
Respondents also said that face-to-face meetings have the greatest impact on their purchasing decisions. Tradeshows and events were cited as the #1 way to influence the small business decision maker, followed by search engines, business magazines, television, media websites, online advertising, business blogs and social media, in that order.
“With all the focus that’s placed on technology and digital communications today,” says Gliatta, “it may come as a surprise to many B2SB marketers that ‘old school’ vehicles like events, magazines and TV still have a profound influence on small businesses. Cargo has taken a deep dive into these surface level findings to get to the core of small business decision making so we can help marketers maximize their investment toward this lucrative, but largely misunderstood, audience.”
HOW AND WHEN TO REACH SMALL BUSINESSES
Cargo’s B-Side Marketing Study also examined the best way to reach small business owners. While face-to-face opportunities have the most influence on making a purchase, technology plays a huge part in gaining initial access to the small business decision maker. Results of the study show that:
- 56 percent of SBOs use tablet or phone apps for business daily;
- 60 percent spend 1 to 3 hours checking/writing email daily;
- 28 percent spend more than 3 hours checking/writing email daily;
- Monday is by far the most active day of the week for online activity (52 percent with next highest being weekends at 18 percent);
- 2-5pm is the most active time of day for online usage;
- 64 percent spend 1-5 hours per day viewing/searching Internet for business purposes; 14 percent spend more than 5 hours per day on the Internet.
To download a full report of the Canadian B-Side Marketing Project, visit http://www.thecargoagency.ca/metrics/volume.
Established in 2006 with offices in Toronto and Greenville, S.C., Cargo is a new model marketing agency specializing in helping brands connect with small businesses, otherwise known as B2SB Marketing. Cargo’s client brands include such heavyweights as Mercedes-Benz, Daimler and Microsoft. To be a part the evolution of the B-Side Marketing Project, follow Cargo on Twitter @tweetcargo or visit http://www.thecargoagency.ca/metrics/join - 1.