Brilliant B2B: Big Brands Struggle to Understand SMB Market

Posted on by Beth Negus Viveiros

Two out of three big brands are planning to increase their investment in targeting small- to medium-sized customers over the next one to three years, but most don’t have a clear understanding of the SMB market, according to a new study.

The report, from the CMO Council and Penton, reported that 70% of marketers believe the SMB market is extremely important to their business. But only eight percent of those surveyed felt they had a complete view of the SMB customer. The problem is gaps in customer contact information and connecting with decision makers.

“Organizations must look to new partnerships and intelligence sources to gain a deeper understanding of the vertical market segments of their SMB customers, including life-stage needs and behavioral shifts,” said Donovan Neale-May, executive director of the CMO Council, in a statement.

Better integration of customer data is top of mind for 45% of respondents while 36% want to gain a deeper understanding of the SMB marketplace. A third of marketers have worked with IT, sales and channel groups to learn more about their customers in the last six months.

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Responses from more than 160 senior marketing executives selling to small businesses are included in the “Business Traction From Smarter SMB Interaction: Advancing Enterprise Excellence in SMB Marketing” study, along with one-on-one interviews with six senior executives from leading brands targeting the SMB sector. Thirty-nine percent of respondents represent organizations reaching more than $1 billion in annual revenue, and 60% allocate up to 40% of overall marketing expenditure on SMB-specific campaigns or programs.

Only five percent of marketers think the SMB market has a positive view of big business, even though one in four brands believe they have established and trusted brand recognition. Nearly half said they have a good relationship with their customers, but only six percent describe themselves as extremely effective at crafting and executing measurable campaigns targeting SMBs.

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