SEVEN SMB PURCHASING TRENDS FOR 2014

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1 SEVEN SMB PURCHASING TRENDS FOR 2014

2 CONTENTS EXECUTIVE SUMMARY - PG. 2 METHODOLOGY - PG. 3 TREND 1: ONLINE MARKETING THRIVES, CONTENT MARKETING LEADS - PG. 4 TREND 2: DIRECT MAIL MAY BE ON THE VERGE OF BEING FORGOTTEN, BUT IT S NOT QUITE GONE. - PG. 6 TREND 3: MOBILE TECHNOLOGY CONTINUES TO BE PERPLEXING - PG. 7 TREND 4: TRANSACTIONS AND MOBILE PAYMENTS - PG. 8 TREND 5: EMBRACING THE CLOUD AT A QUICKENING PACE - PG. 9 TREND 6: LAYING DOWN A SOLID FOUNDATION TELECOM & IT INFRASTRUCTURE - PG. 10 TREND 7: OVERCOMING OBSTACLES TO CASH FLOW - PG. 11 OUR BOTTOM LINE - PG. 12 1

3 As technology advances and products emerge, complexity enters the marketplace and purchasing behavior changes. In a B2B marketplace that is in continual fluctuation, it s difficult to predict your buyer s next move without bluntly asking. This report aims to do that for you. In this report, we ll take a deep dive into SMB s beliefs, purchasing habits and budget forecasts in regards to seven developing trends. Some key highlights include: EXECUTIVE SUMMARY In today s digital age, business-to-business (B2B) buyers have the ability to investigate and research sources wholly before making a purchase decision. The meteoric expansion of the tablet and smartphone market has driven marketers to revamp their approach to reaching clients and customers. Challenges in creating an effective online marketing strategy and a more wireless workspace have influenced the purchasing habits of many small-to-medium sized business (SMB) owners. 29% of SMBs interested in loans, also interested in web design services 70% of marketing budgets going to digital by % of SMBs looking for phone systems, also wanted call center software This report reveals these purchasing highlights along with actionable conclusions that will aid B2B marketers in reaching market ready leads. 2

4 METHODOLOGY The data for this report was derived from sampling and investigating the purchasing behaviors of U.S. companies in the SMB market (defined as 50 or fewer employees). The study was conducted during the 3rd quarter of 2013 among the small businesses that turn to Business.com to discover, compare and purchase the products and services they need to run and grow their companies. We took a close look at the prevailing purchasing habits of small businesses and examined the underlying patterns that help inform B2B marketers when developing a strategy for offering products and services. We also gathered data from third-parties, such as the Pew Research Center, Gartner and Forrester, to further validate our findings. Throughout the report, we ll feature our survey results, as well as expert insights from third-parties, followed by our expert insights and tips. Disclaimer: This research report has been provided for your use. The charts and graphics may be copied to your own strategy planning and presentation materials, blog content and social media posts; credited as published. 3

5 ONLINE MARKETING THRIVES, CONTENT MARKETING LEADS Without question, online marketing has become one of the most influential channels for SMBs. After finding 29 percent of SMBs are looking for small business loans to invest in web design, we looked at what cross-sell categories were associated with this group of buyers. We discovered nearly three-quarters of those individuals researched were aiming to purchase online marketing services as well. These services can range from search engine optimization (SEO) to directory listings, paid search management, social media management and ecommerce solutions. THOSE LOOKING FOR SMALL BUSINESS LOANS ARE ALSO INTERESTED IN... The Bredin Report claims that online marketing budgets are growing at a staggering rate. Nearly half - 49 percent - of SMB marketing budgets were forecasted to be spent online in At the same time, 65 percent of marketers anticipate their online budgets will increase. Money is flowing toward this resource, with 70 percent of marketing budgets going to digital or online media by , as the portion of costs allocated for traditional media continues to stagnate or fall. 1 Advertising,-Performance-and-Retention-Solutions-Will-Be-70-Percent-of-SMB- Marketing-Budgets-by-2015.asp 4

6 SMB ONLINE MARKETING SPEND 18% 3% 6% 11% It s clear SMB marketers are moving much of their focus to online channels and recognize the power of content in reaching their target audience. In fact, 58 percent of marketers have plans to increase spending on this tactic 2 with video marketing a priority. 18% 12% 61% of CMOs are creating visually compelling video content that engages with the customer at every stage of the buying process. 16% 16% % of the buying journey is completed before a B2B buyer ever speaks with a sales rep. Therefore, SMB marketers must engage buyers at every stage of the purchasing process, and advise allocating a portion of your marketing budget to creating fresh content like whitepapers, ebooks, infographics, and especially video on a regular basis. To learn more about video marketing, read more on Why B2B Marketers Should Incorporate Video Content to the Mix. Content Search marketing Display ads Site development Social media Mobile marketing Other

7 DIRECT MAIL MAY BE ON THE VERGE OF BEING FORGOTTEN, BUT IT S NOT QUITE GONE. THOSE LOOKING FOR WEB DESIGN AND ONLINE MARKETING ALSO INTERESTED IN... 7% of SMBs want direct mail Seven percent of Business.com customers looking for web design or online marketing vendors were also interested in direct mail services. SMBs are still setting aside a portion of their budgets for direct mail marketing. In fact, marketers will spend 25 percent of their offline marketing budgets on direct mail this year. 4 For additional information on how SMBs are utilizing direct mail to reach their target audience, download our Direct Mail Checklist for Startups. 4 Tweet This Stat 6

8 MOBILE TECHNOLOGY CONTINUES TO BE PERPLEXING THOSE LOOKING FOR WEB DESIGN AND ONLINE MARKETING ALSO INTERESTED IN... 24% OF SMBS WANT MOBILE SERVICES The growth of mobile devices has paved the way for a variety of alterations to the way businesses operate, but marketers have had an increasingly difficult time adapting. Among the small businesses coming to our site with online marketing interests, 24% of decision makers were also concerned with purchasing mobile marketing services. In 2012, only 0.9 percent of the $132.5 billion in local media profits was drawn from mobile. 5 On the other hand, direct mail generated 27 percent of that lump sum. While our belief is that mobile marketing is on the rise, much of the recent research indicates businesses are having a hard time understanding the role of this technology in their existing marketing strategies, especially in the SMB market. In a 2012 survey MarketingSherpa indicated only 6 percent of SMBs had a good idea of how much their customers use mobile devices and interpret that data to guide policy. 6 The priority for many SMBs will be to understand how to effectively interact with other businesses and consumer with mobile devices. We re seeing the mobile-friendly CEO make purchasing decisions on mobile devices, yet remaining weary of adopting similar mobile marketing strategies

9 TRANSACTIONS AND MOBILE PAYMENTS Businesses see increased traffic and revenue when they accept credit cards as a form of online or in-store payment and new technologies are making it more affordable to include credit card payments. With 15 million small businesses missing out on a potential $100 billion in sales annually, SMBs are starting to invest in payment processing technology to avoid unrecognized revenue. 7 Mobile Payments Long gone are the days when businesses only accept cash. However, buyers still are hesitant to use their mobile devices exclusively to complete purchases. Only six percent of all smartphone users have made a payment using their mobile devices to complete the purchase at a company s POS, according to the Federal Reserve Bank s Consumers and Mobile Financial Services 2013 study. (But there is a growing curiosity.) In fact, twenty-two percent of smartphone owners expressed interest in using their mobile device to purchase products or services. Worldwide mobile payments (Transaction value in billions of dollars) Transaction value More than one-third of small-to-midsize businesses interested in payment processing services are using credit card processing to support online conversions as well as phone-based transactions. Of those searching Business.com for products, 34 percent of SMB owners were interested in credit card processing services to support e-commerce development in addition to point of sale systems for brick-and-mortar locations $25.6 $58.9 $105.9 $171.5 $255.8 $

10 EMBRACING THE CLOUD AT A QUICKENING PACE Information technology has undergone a dramatic shift in the previous year and a growing number of companies are starting to seek out cloud computing services to create a flexible, affordable and sustainable working environment. The main driver for spending on cloud computing is software as a service (SaaS) applications, seeing sixty percent growth in In this market, increased storage is an appealing option for many SMBs. Half of SMBs said they would be willing to pay more for a larger amount of storage space. For more on the implementation of business intelligence tools among SMBs who also utilize the cloud, download our Business Intelligence Survival Guide. CLOUD COMPUTING BUDGETS In fact, sixty-one percent of more than one thousand SMB IT professionals surveyed in a Spiceworks study said they use at least one cloud service. 8 What s more, smaller organizations - those with twenty or fewer employees - are more likely to deploy cloud services like icloud, OpenDrive and Dropbox. Within these representative firms, businesses spend (19 percent) of their budgets on cloud computing services. Surprisingly, this is double what companies with twenty to one thousand employees spend. Less than 20 employees 20 1,000 employees Meanwhile, the annual expenses associated with cloud computing costs continue to increase. A recent Parallels SMB Cloud Insights report found the current SMB cloud market of $18.9 billion is projected to grow at a nineteen percent CAGR through % 11% Tweet This Stat 9

11 LAYING DOWN A SOLID FOUNDATION TELECOM & IT INFRASTRUCTURE IT and technology budgets grew by nineteen percent during the first half of In the same sphere, SMB owners are investing in a more sophisticated infrastructure. We re also seeing a general trend among businesses initially coming to us for advice in other areas. We found that of our SMB buyers turning to us with small business loan interests, 12 percent also have a need to upgrade their phone systems. With SMBs allocating budgets to purchase more sophisticated systems, the role of platform for communication and fostering lead generation shouldn t be ignored. At the same time, the rise of Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) is influencing the way businesses communicate. The digital revolution has caused traditional phone systems to evolve as VoIP technology provides businesses with high quality and cost-effective telecommunications systems at a low cost. The market for this resource has expanded rapidly. According to a 2012 Infonetics Research study, the number of small office and residential VoIP subscribers grew by fourteen percent in 2011, reaching one hundred seventy-eight million users around the world. 12 Of those businesses who came to our site to purchase a phone system, 29 percent also have call center software in mind. Pay-per-call lead generation has afforded many enterprises a cost-effective means to develop leads. In fact, recent BIA/Kelsey research demonstrates more than 60 percent of advertisers consider a telephone call from a potential customer to be the most important kind of lead. 11 This may help explain why many small business owners are investing in telecommunications hardware BIA/Kelsey Report, Unlocking the Value of Phone Conversions: Why Basic Call Tracking Fails the Local Marketer (2013)

12 OVERCOMING OBSTACLES TO CASH FLOW Needing financial backing isn t a novel necessity among small business owners, however raising capital and acquiring a line of credit to support expansion is causing some grief. THOSE LOOKING FOR CC PROCESSING ALSO LOOKING FOR CASH FLOW OPTIONS... Merchant cash advances (MCA) are a good way for SMBs to increase cash flow fast. MCA providers take a percentage from the revenue a business earns through a credit transaction to earn back the initial financial disbursement. A recent survey reflects many of the challenges SMBs face when trying to get access to this funding. Forty-three percent of small businesses depended on a revolving line of credit from a bank or credit institution over a twelve -month period for quick cash flow. 13 As more SMBs gain confidence to expand their operations, the need for capital on hand will grow. Using business profits as a method of financing a company involves significant risk, which may help explain why many businesses are looking for alternative sources of cash flow. To discover more ways SMBs are searching for funding, download our report on small business cash flow trends. We found that fourteen percent of SMBs expressed a desire to increase their cash flow with merchant cash advances (MCA), as a result of increased dependence on credit and debit transactions. This is compared to only two percent who were interested in small business loans for increased cash flow. 13 Tweet This Stat 11

13 OUR BOTTOM LINE With technology evolving quarter after quarter, it s exceedingly important for marketers to understand the current and future strategies of small and mid-sized businesses to avoid losing sales ready leads. B2B marketers and sales reps are presented with significant challenges stemming from ever-changing technology and are seeking answers using the problem as a potential solution. The bottom line is that many companies are interested in purchasing products and services that will enable them to better meet the needs of consumers and clients. They ve already begun their buyer s journey and were willing to share with us purchases they are looking to make in the near future. They re quickly embracing new forms of technology but are still hesitant in certain areas. Meet the business decision maker half-way. They ve worked hard to increase cash flow and are being careful where to allocate their tight budgets by researching and investigating businesses before making any moves. Whether they re looking to purchase credit card processing, cloud computing services, or merchant cash advances, find your buyer before they make their next move. If you re interested in finding out more about small business purchasing habits or want to generate a marketing strategy using this information, visit: business.com/info/advertise Business.com is dedicated to helping people grow their businesses. This is why over 30 million buyers, from small to medium-sized businesses turn to Business.com to discover, compare, and purchase the products and services they need to run and grow their businesses. It s also why over 10,000 advertisers use Business.com to reach these valuable buyers, generating well over $1.5 billion in incremental annual revenues. To assist with lead nurturing, Business.com provides benchmark reports to our advertisers allowing them to see how their follow up process compares to like competitors. The Business.com Small Business Pulse delivers timely data & analysis for marketers looking to reach the small to medium-sized business market. 12

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