Dramatic shifts in media consumption have changed the channels through which SMBs can interact with both their existing customers and prospects. Print, TV, radio and out-of-home are still viable, but digital has altered the reach and targeting capabilities for advertisers of all sizes.
While digital is firmly established, it continues to evolve at a fast pace. Mobile delivery, hyper-targeting, programmatic buying, virtual reality and a fragmented media landscape give advertisers more choices than ever before. For the marketing services companies and agencies that work with SMB advertisers, this means there is more opportunity to provide guidance and expertise.
That’s because, even as the consumer market has changed dramatically, the needs of SMBs have stayed much the same. Earlier this year, Greg Sterling of the Local Search Association looked at SMB issues side-by-side with the evolution in consumer behavior. “Fundamentally, local business owners don’t need to be ‘sold’ on the value of digital anymore,” Sterling writes. However, they do get overwhelmed by a complex market, confused by the number of vendors and feel a lack of trust after being burned by false expectations in the past.
So while traffic continues to migrate to mobile and new digital options such as voice search reach a critical mass, there remains a big opportunity for service providers and agencies to act as trusted conduits between SMB advertisers and the latest ad technology. SMBs know that digital is a primary channel for reaching their audience and new prospects, but they lack the time to navigate the ecosystem and manage it all themselves.
Fortunately, marketing services providers -- no matter their size -- don’t need to navigate this terrain on their own either. By enlisting the help of white-label marketing and creative services providers, agencies, telecoms, local media companies and others can arm themselves with the latest technology, products and expertise needed to serve SMBs and grow their advertising businesses.
Rather than testing everything on their own or developing their own technology solutions, these service providers can partner with experts who will license the technology and help put together groups of tools that help SMB advertisers accomplish their goals. It also guarantees that, as technological evolution continues its pace, marketing service providers will remain in the best position to meet the needs of SMB advertisers.