small-business-cast

3 Small Business Trends Every Marketer Needs to Know

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Vice President, Strategic Sales Development , Business Development

It’s an exciting time to be a part of a small business. Over 65% of net new jobs since 1995 have been generated by small business as a whole slew of industries are being transformed by smaller, nimbler entrants.

Digital technology has been a friend to small business, allowing operations of any size to have unprecedented market access to industries like fashion, media, design and retail. In addition to the ability for small businesses to cheaply and effectively market to consumers, people are increasingly turning to small or local merchants. The popularity of microbrews, farmers’ markets and Etsy are all a testament to the huge wave of support small businesses are receiving from consumers nationally.

Marketers, big or small, need to anticipate small business needs. Small businesses come in all shapes and sizes. Some are run by seasoned business professionals, others by individuals who excel at their passion but may lack the business savvy of their competitors.  In either case, connecting small businesses with the tools they need to succeed is one of the most rewarding challenges for a marketer.

So what are the biggest trends in small business?

1. They’re becoming mobile pros

Just a few months ago, Google announced that mobile searches finally overtook PC searches in volume. In some ways, mobile search is far more critical for their business than some of their national competitors. While big brands have brand awareness to drive customers to any location, nothing can make or break a restaurant than getting the coveted #1 spot for “Best Restaurant in ____.”

66% of small businesses have a mobile friendly site, and we should expect that number to keep increasing. 15% of small businesses have a mobile app, with another 18 percent considering them in 2015, according to one survey.

Business is also being done more on mobile devices. As Inc. reports, 89% of small business owners regularly use a mobile device to do business and nearly two-thirds plan on increasing their use of mobile devices.

2. They’re spending more on tech

The same Inc. survey reports that 81% of small businesses plan on spending more on tech in the year-to-come. “When asked to rank the top tools they’re looking to purchase over the next year,” Inc. reports, “email marketing ranked first, followed by business management and accounting.”

Additionally, nearly half of small businesses report that their website is their most effective marketing tool.

The success of B2B companies that offer software and data solutions also goes to show the increasing technologization of small business. One industry leader, First Data, is connecting small businesses is pairing payment solutions with unprecedented analytics, reporting and even customer loyalty programs.

3. Their data is more vulnerable than ever

With the spat of data breaches coming from huge national brands as of late, companies are more wary than ever of the bad publicity that exposed customer information brings.

Cyberattacks on small businesses are an increasing occurrence, and while small businesses may not be cybersecurity whizzes yet, this trend is sure to spark a drive for more security-related products to protect them.

“We are absolutely facing an epidemic of attacks on our nation’s infrastructure and attempts to gain access to information,” Jason Oxman, chief executive of the Electronic Transactions Association, told the LA times. “But smaller merchants tend to be easier and more attractive targets for cyber criminals.”

As small businesses face the challenges of 2015 and beyond, they’ll be looking for innovative solutions from other businesses both large and small. B2B marketing will be right there to fill the void, and connect pioneering companies with the small businesses that need them.

For more small business news and information, be sure to check out CBS’ latest venture: Small Business Pulse.