Small business owners comprise a large market for enterprises trying to sell goods and services. But a significant number of these SBOs feel that marketers are not effective in reaching out to them. One way to improve this dilemma would be for marketers to develop a specific business-to-small-business strategy.

Inc. Magazine, with partner Cargo, recently interviewed SBOs to understand the disconnect between them and the enterprises that market to them. The study results reveal:

  •  Brands/companies do not understand their needs: 43%
  • Companies do not make the effort to understand their business: 45%
  • Companies try to sell instead of talking to them first: 46%

The research indicates that the SBO market, defined as having at least one employee plus the owner, is underserved. Currently, 52% of SBOs say that current marketing efforts are not working. However, many of these smaller businesses drive growth in new jobs and in developing revolutionary products and services.

The survey also found that over half of these operators anticipate growth of 10% or more in the coming year. To fuel this growth, the typical SBO will be purchasing goods and services. The media sources deemed very important by SBOs as they determine what to buy include:

  • Search engines 85%
  • Business blogs and websites 85%
  • Business magazines 83%
  • Trade shows/events 77%
  • Newspapers 48%
  • Radio news/business channels 47%
  • TV 38%
  • Billboards 15%

Marketers who want to reach this audience need to craft specific messages and funnel their efforts through the channels most used by SBOs.

[Source: Hey Brands, You’re Not Hearing Me. Thinkcargo.com. April 2012. Web. 25 Apr. 2012]