The Internet and social networks have made it far easier for small and midsize businesses (SMBs) to drive visibility for their products and services.
This in itself isn't exactly a revelation. But apparently, the approaches they use are very different, depending on their overall goal and their comfort level with technology.
So, where does your small company fall on the spectrum of marketing technology buyers? Here's how one of the better known CRM and marketing automation vendors, Infusionsoft, describes each category:
Striver - The least tech-savvy of the survey respondents, it also has the most modest social media presence because it represents too much of a resource investment. This is the sort of small-business owner that could really benefit from services that help them extend sales and marketing activities, without requiring a lot of time. Approximately 43 percent of this group spends less than $500 on marketing.
Customizer - These are owners who seek to automate certain processes, so that they can position their business to scale more readily. They tend to use Facebook and Twitter to marketing, while relying on LinkedIn for networking. More than half of this group spend more than $1,000 per month on marketing.
Maximizer - This group is really fixated on the idea that technology could help them look bigger. They spend more on marketing technologies and services than the other groups (61 percent of them spend more than $1,000 per month) and they have the most diverse platform reach within social media: 49 percent use Facebook, 36 percent use Twitter, and 31 percent use YouTube.
Supporter - This group looks at marketing as a means of visibility, but isn't so worried about whether or not sales will grow dramatically as a result. These owners see their small-business identity as a point of pride. Close to 60 percent of them favor Facebook for social media marketing, while 31 percent of them use Twitter.
Interesting concepts to consider if you're a small-business owners trying to figure out how much per month you should be spending on all sorts of different CRM, social media and marketing automation activities.
The research that Infusionsoft used to come up with this list is from a survey of 1,200 small businesses, and it is explored in far greater detail in its report, "The American Dream: What Really Motivates Small Business Owners."
Only companies with 25 or fewer employees and revenue of more than $100,000 were surveyed. The largest chunk of survey respondents fell into the Strivers group (29 percent), followed by Strivers and Supports (24 percent each), and Maximizers (23 percent).
The infographic below offers more details on the characteristics of each buying type.