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Michael FauscetteChief Research OfficerG2 Crowd
More cost-conscious than their enterprise counterparts, small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) are particularly careful about their technology investments. But make no mistake: They’re serious about marketing technology. According to new research from crowdsourced technology review platform G2 Crowd, SMBs often “box above their weight” when it comes to tech investments. Michael Fauscette, G2 Crowd's chief research officer, spoke with eMarketer’s Maria Minsker about what these companies are investing in and why vendors are missing an opportunity by overlooking small businesses.
eMarketer: Based on G2 Crowd’s research, what surprised you most about how SMBs are investing in business technology?
Michael Fauscette: I had a feeling we’d see a big difference between businesses that were focused on growth and those that were just interested in maintaining their business. Those that were interested in growth and competing on a global scale were boxing above their weight in terms of technology.
It was easy to see their drive because they were investing in technology and choosing tools with more sophistication than expected. More than half of the companies we surveyed were outsourcing many different business processes so that they were able to use new technology without having to invest in a larger IT organization.
eMarketer: How are they investing in marketing technology specifically?
Fauscette: Most of them have an email marketing tool, but 21% of said they were looking to replace their email marketing provider this year, which suggests there’s some discontent with that technology. One-fifth of the businesses we surveyed even used marketing automation solutions, which are typically heavy-duty solutions for bigger companies.
They’re also spending money on solutions for individual channels, especially Facebook. Over 80% of our respondents used Facebook regularly for marketing and advertising. At the same time, they’re underusing Google AdWords—it’s a basic tool, but only 19% used it regularly.
eMarketer: How would you characterize must-have vs. nice-to-have marketing technology for small businesses?
Fauscette: Contact management and sales force automation are critical pieces of the puzzle for businesses of any size. And any technology that helps effectively keep track of customer interactions, track leads and figure out how to take advantage of those leads is a must-have as well. Everything else is secondary.
eMarketer: Do enough marketing technology players cater to small businesses?
Fauscette: Vendors don’t focus enough on smaller companies, largely because of the assumption that they’ll spend less on sophisticated marketing tools. Many campaign management tools, for example, tend to target the upper mid-market and beyond, so smaller companies are quite underserved in this area.
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