Don’t Use Fake Research When Marketing to Small Businesses

Each May, I receive an avalanche of email pitches from public relations people (who now go by the title, “content strategists”) who want SmallBusiness.com to share with its readers the findings of a new surveys their companies have conducted just in time for Small Business Week.

The email is nicely produced and has links to: (1) A press release about the research, (2) research highlights (3) an infographic that looks like a PowerPoint version of their survey findings and (4) an offer to allow me to interview someone at their company about the survey.

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The Moral of the Mother’s Day Founder’s Tragic Story

For most of my life, I had cynically assumed that Mother’s Day was created by some cartel–a Mother’s Day Industrial Complex–comprised of florists, candy makers, buffet restaurants and Hallmark Cards, Inc. Then I learned the tragic story of Anna Jarvis, the woman who led the successful crusade to establish a holiday to honor mothers.

In a tale seemingly ripped from the pages of greek mythology (as recounted in a tabloid account in the New York Post), Ms. Jarvis spent years lobbying for the establishment of a national day to honor Mothers. She was successful and in 1914, Woodrow Wilson signed the proclamation creating Mother’s Day.

But, in the mythological tradition of Pandora when she opened her box, Eve when she bit into the apple and Al Gore when he invented the internet, she discovered that all her good intentions had been hijacked by commercial interests (i.e., the Mother’s Day Industrial Complex).

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New smallbusiness.com

Learning by Doing Always Beats Talking About Theory

We just flipped the switch on SmallBusiness.com’s first major technical and design upgrade since launching its daily-content Main Page section last November. (We call the new section, the “flow” side, to balance with the “know” side of the site, the 29,000 page SmallBusiness.com WIKI.)

The design changes are various, depending on what size screen you’re viewing it. However, the technical changes are all about increasing the speed of the site. And they worked. So long, little engine that could, but we know there are plenty of bugs that will show up.

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Small Business marketing words vs. words used in marketing to Small Business

(Note: Much of this post can also be found on something I wrote recently for SmallBusiness.com. As “marketing to small businesses” is a topic I’m going to be writing about on RexBlog during the coming months, I decided to crosspost it here.)

As within any tribe of professionals, it’s normal for those who market products and services to small businesses to develop an inside language of buzz-terms and acronyms as shortcuts for long strings of words or common concepts. As business-to-business marketers can’t do what consumer marketers do when they describe customers as a set of demographics (women, ages 18-21, for example), marketing strategies for reaching small business decision makers tend to describe the customer by the size of a company (revenues or employees), the industry “vertical,” or other factors like location. For that reason, the proxies for consumer-like demographics have evolved into terms like:

  • Microbusiness
  • Small office/home office (SOHO)
  • Small and mid-sized (or medium-sized) business (SMB)
  • Small and medium enterprise (SME)

As marketing strategy terms, those labels may make sense. However, if you are not a marketer to small business, but an actual small business, there’s a big possibility that you have no idea what any of those terms actually mean. And even if you did, you’d likely prefer to be described as a small business, anyway.

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