The challenge of creating insightful, moving, industry-changing marketing campaigns may prove especially difficult in the technology industry given its inherent rapid rate of change. How can software vendors catch the eye of leads when new tech innovations hit the market every month?
To market successfully to small and midsize businesses (SMBs) in 2020, marketers must tap into deeper insights surrounding the technology considerations, business goals and investment activities of SMBs.
To obtain those insights, Gartner Digital Markets surveyed SMBs on their technology investments and goal-setting behaviors. We’ll detail those here, along with some suggestions for software vendors and their marketing teams to create campaigns and product features that address specific SMB goals and expectations. Use these recommendations to drive your high-level marketing strategy and planning for 2020 to 2021:
- Shape product marketing around SMB goals
- Set goals: Turn SMB strategies into marketing strengths
- Plan ahead: SMBs want cutting-edge technologies
- Help technology buyers identify the right technology: Yours
Collected from 715 respondents in 2018 and 539 respondents in 2019, individuals from more than 15 industries answered business-technology-related questions for a Gartner Digital Markets survey. All of the respondents were from small or midsize businesses with fewer than 249 employees and report less than $100 million in annual revenue.
Below are four key take-aways from that survey data, with the goal of helping you create or reformat your existing marketing campaigns for small and midsize business buyers in 2020 and 2021.
1. Shape product marketing around SMB goals
If you can align your product marketing with your customers’ goals, your product will be as natural a fit for them as a tailored suit. But first, you need to know what your customers’ goals are. We asked small and midsize businesses what top factors triggered their drive to invest in technology, and the answer was expected: 25% of respondents in 2019 said that productivity improvements were a top business goal.
What does that mean for your product marketing campaign? If you provide software that saves a business time, they will, in turn, save money. After all, time is money. A marketing campaign that identifies aspects of the software that increase efficiency or usability, thereby saving money and increasing revenue, will be more likely to make it onto buyers’ shortlists. That means you should highlight an accessible user experience (UX) and user interface (UI).
Shape your message like this: Every minute your customers spend learning how to use a clunky product is a minute not spent generating potential revenue streams. SMB processes and workflows are unique and come with challenges that enterprise-level customers simply don’t need to navigate. An intuitive product design that makes those processes easier also tells potential small and midsize business customers that your product is built to make their lives easier.
Design your marketing campaign to include examples of how your product is either easier to use than your competitors' or present an “ease of use” case study to your potential buyers.
2. Set goals: Turn SMB strategies into marketing strengths
Forty-three percent of the 539 respondents in 2019 named “competitive pressures” as a significant factor in shaping their business goals. In 2020 and beyond, marketing campaigns should address how your technology can help SMBs overcome their competition, or, at the very least, point out that you recognize the level of competition they are experiencing.
Helping small and midsize businesses compete against rivals is not the only opportunity for B2B software marketers, however. Fifty-three percent of SMBs cited “outgrew current technology” as a key factor shaping their business goals.
What does that mean for your marketing? Highlight the ways in which your product is on the cutting edge of the newest advances to put some of their fears to bed. A marketing campaign that assures customers they’re taking advantage of something new that could also put them at the head of their industry is a great way to get a lot of business.
Increase product sales by creating marketing campaigns that directly address SMBs’ goal-setting strategies: Competition and advances in technology.
3. Plan ahead: SMBs want cutting-edge technologies
Give buyers what they expect with a small surprise, and your product will sell. SMBs already know, to a degree, what they want. Software providers can generate more engagement, however, if they create some excitement in their offerings. That excitement typically comes in the form of cutting-edge, newsworthy technology features.
SMBs in many different industries said they plan for cutting-edge technologies to significantly impact their businesses over the next one to two years: