The Science Of 'Do It With Me'

The movement to spruce up and expand aging digital media continues. And with it, a "do-it-with-me' service model for digital marketing aimed at local small and mid-size businesses. Search engine marketing appears to provide the platform for the business model. While self-service platforms like Google AdWords and Bing Ads have proven that a do DIY model works, there are several gaps to bringing a DIWM concept to the masses. BIA/Kelsey identifies challenges in its new report, Optimizing Local Marketing: SMB Marketing Needs 'Do It With Me' Models.

The shift means putting measurement tools in the hands of local, small businesses. Larger companies credit their success to metrics-driven experimentation and marketing, but these services will soon hit Main Street. The report explores local marketing gaps and introduces an emerging online services category, -- optimized local marketing.   

Think of it this way. Most "very small businesses" (VSB), with one or two employees, use social networks and tool to market their business. Jump to between five and 15 employees and they might add SEM, but the expense prevents many from integrating these digital marketing practices into other media.

As a startup, most SMBs favor the Do It Yourself model when tackling social media -- collecting Twitter, Facebook and other social signals. As they grow, they pay marketing help to tie their online messaging across search, Twitter, Facebook, and mobile campaigns.

About 46.2% of very small businesses use Facebook; followed by LinkedIn at 36.5%; Web sites, 35.6%; email, 27.9%; other, 20.2%; newspapers, 15.4%; Twitter, 14.4%; Google, 11.5%; blog, 10.6%; IYP, 10.6%; direct mail, 10.6%; and Web site video, 10.6%.

If it's too complicated, small businesses will ignore the tools. The DIWM model, which appears to follows similar services to what SEM agency's offer, will become the most viable approach to optimizing local marketing for small businesses. It requires collaboration between an SMB, an agency, and/or one or more vendors to build messages for multiple channels. The report points to, which provides these types of services representing Yelp. BIA/Kelsey expects to see Google and Facebook partner with others to offer similar services.

BIA/Kelsey points in the report to the "teen firm" -- those with between 10 and 19 employees -- as one reason for the need. These companies are in "crisis," per the analyst firm, because of structural changes in local markets and the inability to raise the funds for cross-channel marketing and quantifying success through metrics. These companies need enterprise digital experience, analytics and marketing services, but are not able to integrate them within their budget. This is partly because it is very difficult to employ people with the full range of skills required to support this first phase of a company's rapid growth.

The U.S. Census reports tracking business growth between 2010 and 2011 suggest that companies with 10 to 19 employees failed 14 times more frequently than companies with 20 to 99 employees, although fewer companies in the latter are reported to still be in business. BIA/Kelsey points to a lack of right-sized local marketing services. 

BIA/Kelsey's Local Commerce Monitor, Wave 18, published in 2014, showsthat  these services could become difficult for a very small business, which spends $4,252 per year on marketing, but it is easily affordable for a business with two to nine employees or medium-sizee business with 10 to 49 employees, or larger local businesses with 100 or more.



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