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Technology Helps SMBs Compete

[ 1 ] May. 5, 2014 | SBO Editor

technology helps SMBs compete

Retail, data and the New World Order.

By Joe Shain

The time to fight Goliath has arrived! Technology is enabling small and medium businesses to compete as never before.

The sheer size of the conglomerates across all service and product industries can no longer dominate simply by virtue of size and clout.

As greater access to data can accelerate our drive to greater profitability, we are liberated to dream of expansion and large-scale success.  Support by top-level ad agency services and media is not limited to the big players, but firms of all sizes, and across all budgets. Technology helps SMBs compete.

 Technology and SMBs

The ROI metrics of marketing investments can be assessed to a granular level, allowing for a more focused and effective use of your advertising expenditure.  As you read this, new technologies are being created that can measure the amount of new versus repeat visitors to your brick and mortar locations.  This data will prove invaluable, as it can quickly assess the impact of your promotions on store traffic and — more importantly — sales.

Testing your promotional variables online allows for quick analysis at a fraction of the cost of testing in the physical world.  Consequently, the subsequent rollout of the successfully tested proposition can be more aggressively and confidently pursued.

Technology helps SMBs compete

The new consumer behavior of pre-shopping online and completing the transaction in the physical store is spreading across all industries, from fashion to automotive. The data acquired from online behavior can effectively improve inventory management, and reduce the development time of new lines and new product extensions. Technology helps SMBs compete in the very saturated online shopping market.

The ability of American businesses to evolve in creative and unforeseen ways enhances the retail experience, creating a complimentary relationship to online shopping.  Imagination and innovation will revitalize the performance of the retail sector.

Creativity and data are not two opposing forces. The ability to innovate and quickly test the concept in a small scale is enabled by access to data. In fact, bolder and potentially breakthrough concepts can be tried without the financial risks and expense that previously forced bold concepts into compromise and mediocrity.

Las Vegas represents a good case history of the power of both reinvention and analytics. Just a few short years ago the popular opinion was that Vegas was in a downward spiral.

But the theory that local access to casinos would kill Vegas as a destination did not come to pass.

Why not?

Vegas recreated itself as an entertainment capital, drawing a new generation to its mix of clubs, music, restaurants, luxury, and shopping. This campaign stemmed from a respect and deployment of data analytics that resulted in a new level of loyalty programs and specialized experiences down to the individual level.

Tracking the needs and interests of the hotel guests and sorting them by lifetime customer value empowered the allocation of marketing budgets across all the levels of ROI that each segment represented.

This is basic direct marketing theory put on “steroids” by the affordability and deployment of data analytics.

Thanks to the efficiency of the new data technologies, these types of loyalty programs can be utilized by small and medium size businesses alike.  There are untapped profits waiting to be released by increasing the loyalty of the consumer across a wide variety of business types.

Apps enabling electronic purchases will increase revenue per customers as well.  For example, I rarely tipped 25% or 30% of my New York City taxi fare.  But now, with electronic payments, I do it with regularity — as that option is one easy click away.

Repeat purchase behavior enabled by auto renewal options will add revenue across many business and product categories. My contact lenses and vitamins are sent on auto renew.  Why not golf balls, gym socks or toiletries?

Furthermore, media agencies empowered by programmatic buying exchanges, desktop analytics, media attribution modeling and planning all enhanced by creative thinking and experience, allows the small and midsize shops to outmaneuver and outrun Goliath.

The new world order has just begun. The sooner we embrace its potential, the sooner we will be innovating and not reacting. The concept that technology helps SMBs to compete is here to stay.

About the Author

Joe Shain, CEO of Allscope Direct, is an award-winning thought leader in the direct marketing industry, and widely recognized as a principal architect of the field. Instrumental in the development of DRTV’s integration in mainstream brand marketing, he continues to innovate and peer into the future of the Direct Response media’s rapid evolution.

Shain was mentored early by industry legends, Stan Rapp and Tom Collins. When RAPP was purchased by Omnicom, he left to form what was to become one of the nation’s fastest growing DR media agencies, SCP Direct. Omnicom eventually acquired SCP as well, and used it to form the nucleus was to become OMD Direct. After leading RAPP/OMD media agency as CEO for 6 years, Shain launched Zenith Direct in 2001. Zenith Direct grew from startup to a $250MM DR agency working with corporations including Verizon, Farmers Insurance, AstraZeneca, Schering Plough, Hewlett Packard, and Reckett Benckiser.

A recipient of numerous Echo awards and an accomplished speaker, Shain’s track record of innovation and performance enables Allscope’s clients of all sizes to gain market share and profitability by marshaling the power of ROI-driven media. For additional info, visit Allscope Direct at allscope.com/direct/. Allscope Direct is located at  381 Park Ave S, 6th fl New York, NY 10016. The phone is: 212-253-1300.

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Category: Features

  • http://growthforce.com/ GrowthForce

    Technological advancements have allowed small and medium sized businesses to utilize technologies that for a long time, had only been available to enterprise-level corporations. Now SMBs are able to capture and analyze data such as financial information, customer profiles, and demographics to better position themselves among the “big wigs.”