Get outsized results by showing SMBs that you care.
I recently listened to a podcast from Seth Godin about pizza. What could this possibly have to do with marketing and selling to small and midsize businesses (SMBs)? Read on.
Godin suggested, as others have, that your taste in pizza comes from where you first ate it. Often, this is where you grew up. You go with what you know. I was fortunate to have an amazing pizza place a few blocks from where I grew up (Ness Pizza in Fair Lawn, NJ), so I’m pretty hard to please. My wife grew up in Miami, and she thinks that Domino’s is just fine. But I digress.
Working with marketers over the years, I have noticed that most have strong preferences regarding how to market to SMBs. These preferences manifest themselves in execution. Probably like their taste in pizza, they are going with what they know. As traditional advertising-based approaches lose their effectiveness, pay-per-click gets more expensive, and SEO becomes even more competitive, more and more companies are realizing that they need content. But many seem to produce content in an offhand manner just to get it out there, often relying on existing resources whose expertise lies elsewhere. This is like the industrial-scale pizza outfits that cut corners with their ingredients, just so they can continue to sell a large pie for $7.99.
It’s about authenticity
Marketing today is about engagement, loyalty, and authenticity. The best pizza places have people lined up out the door on a Tuesday night. A chain could open across the street and not one customer would switch. Why? Says Godin, “Good pizza is personal. It’s not an industrial activity.” The owner is behind the counter, maybe even making the pizza. The dough is hand spun. Every ingredient is carefully chosen. The recipe is from home or the old country. It’s authentic.
The difference, according to Godin, is care. The owners care about making their product the best it can be, and they care that their customers enjoy it. He tells of one place where, even if you called your order in, they wouldn’t start making it until you arrived. They wanted it to be perfect when you got it, so you were just going to have to wait. Most people will sacrifice almost anything to save time, yet customers kept telling their friends about this place, bringing their friends, and coming back for more.
The idea of caring flows from intent. Much as top pizza makers intend for their customers get maximum enjoyment from their product, the best B2SMB marketers are those who intend on helping SMBs improve their businesses and realize their goals. With respect to content, this means offering new ideas and inspiration—content that changes SMBs’ points of view and shows them ways to run their businesses more successfully. Companies that do this well find that strong revenue growth and high lifetime customer value (LTV) follow. Hubspot is a great example of a company who has nailed this.
Make it your mission
The most successful B2SMB marketers have a mission for their content (and much of the rest of their marketing) to help the SMB, instead of just driving from quarterly campaign to quarterly campaign and restarting the process each time. Those who start with the intention of helping SMBs instead of simply trying to sell more stuff, and who care that their customers get the greatest value possible from their product or service, earn long-term business that competition will never wrest away.
By the way, for the best slice in NYC, check out Pizza Suprema.
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