The Complexity of the SMB Marketing/Operations Universe
We are a vendor in SMB universe. This means that we are highly attracted by the volume of SMBs we are likely to serve and impact. A wonderful market by numbers with millions of potential users usually underserved that are digging into this digital transformation and online world.
There are hundreds of different vendors and companies serving their needs. Different approaches like DIY, DIFM. Variety in strategies like one-stop-shop marketing solutions or more focused and niche solutions like PPC, Listings, etc. Add verticals, niches, add-on solutions, marketplaces, providers with marketplaces, etc and this is complexity.
Lately we (at MarketGoo) had been running some USP and targeting exercises trying to understand more about our customer. The supposed SMB who just needs help has not been a homogeneous entity, ever. SMBs, our users, are truly different from each other. They have different amounts of resources, different target market to reach, different platforms for web presence use, different goals.
But in the end, they have one thing in common: they all want a SIMPLE and EASY-to-use solution to their challenges. Despite this type of exercise we all do in the industry, I think that the right approach is bottom-to-top. Understanding the context of the user, their profile, goals and platforms and trying to be as close and pro-active as possible. And here is where the hard part comes in, because running a platform to help thousands or millions of users is not a task that allows us to fulfill the particular need of that particular SMB. Mostly this bottom-to-top strategy forces the providers to create different multiples strategies to conquer well sized niches and silos.
And this is why you hear about light product-market-fit and high churn in the industry. I think it’s still so early to find the right approach when several companies are still iterating and pivoting their models but being as close as possible to the end-user’s context seems like a winning hypothesis to me.