Top left: Wanderful Media CEO Ben T. Smith, IV and SMB Industry Observer Neal Polachek; Top Right and bottom: Polachek speaking to Wanderful employees.

Top left: Wanderful Media CEO Ben T. Smith, IV and SMB Industry Observer Neal Polachek; Top Right and bottom: Polachek speaking to Wanderful employees.

 

Since the Wanderful Team is actively developing a new mobile app for SMB retailers, this month was a great time for guest speaker Neal Polachek to come by and provide valuable insights on the industry.

Now an independent industry observer and board advisor, Polachek spent nearly 14 years at BIA/Kelsey where he was Director of Research and Consulting, VP of Advisory Services, CEO of The Kelsey Group and President of BIA/Kelsey. Under his leadership BIA/Kelsey launched advisory services focused on local search, verticals, mobile and social media.

As part of Wanderful’s guest speaker series, Polachek discussed the key challenges and opportunities in the SMB space:

“My dentist went to dental school, he didn’t go to digital marketing school.”

None of the SMB’s went to school to learn digital marketing, they went to school to learn their trade. To avoid the wrath of a bad review, SMBs are now more willing to give free services or discounts in response to customer complaints. Nearly all SMBs are challenged by social media and online reviews – challenges that they didn’t have five years ago. Many would rather roll back to 1992 and just buy a yellow page or newspaper ad.

 

Void of trust

The biggest challenge in the SMB space is the lack of trust. SMB’s don’t know who to trust or who to rely upon when it comes to the various marketing and advertising technologies. There are companies who have made enormous promises and a lot of SMBs have been burned. The questions are: Who’s going to fill the trust void? What sales organization is going to have that ability?

 

When selling to SMBs…

When selling to SMBs, it is important to know their challenges and understand their business. It is about who can have an authentic, trusted conversation with the business owner. Authenticity is going to be the distinguishing factor for successful selling. Also, and very important, any competitive information you can bring them is highly valuable. Knowing what their competition is doing is very critical to their decision.

“What’s fascinating to me is where this space is going to go and when that is going to happen,” said Polachek, still excited about SMBs after almost two decades in the industry. Afterall, SMBs represent nearly 90% of all business in the world.

The event was part of Wanderful Media’s guest speaker series, a program initiated by CEO Ben T. Smith, IV in which fellow entrepreneurs and industry leaders share their stories with Wanderful employees.