What Do Small Business Customers Want?


Small business customer and flexibility in the face of competition

In today’s world companies need to be able to react rapidly to consumers and market changes. If they are unable to quickly adapt, sales can suffer:

  • BlackBerry, once the mobile phone darling of the business world, has become a hidden device with users embarrassed by its lack of application prowess.
  • Yahoo is struggling to compete with the likes of Google in search, email and data sharing.
  • McDonald’s has honed in on Starbuck’s specialty coffee market to resounding success. Will their “fast food” experience delight customers who don’t like waiting in long lines for baristas to finish their drinks?

I am sure you can share many more examples like these.

The point is not that transformation and innovation is bad, nor not that competition is bad–it is that you need your employees and clients to stay with you through the ups and downs. If loyal customers are spending money on your products and services, they want you to know them and they want to know you.

  • Changes in strategy need to be accompanied by clear communications.
  • Telling Your Small Business Company’s Story To Customers

This table may assist how you think about all the ways to tell your story using integrated marketing and communications:

 Communication Type  Communication Goal
External advertising Corporate image; industry/client credibility; awareness
Social media Creating a dialogue with individuals
Employee communities Developing brand ambassadors and subject matter experts
Global events Thought leadership and collaboration
Media partnerships Unpaid media opportunities; reputation and influence
Direct marketing Lead generation, sales

The six distinct communications vehicles in the table must all work together to tell a consistent story like a symphony does to play the same song.

Using this template to “cover your bases,” I encourage you to develop brand communications that communicate your brand strategy with harmony. And, stay flexible by committing to an ongoing dialogue with your customers and employees.

Related articles:

5 Keys To Why Your Customers Buy

How to Sell More Customers

How to Negotiate with More Customers On the Internet

With Customers It's Greet Them FAST or Lose Their Business!


About the author

Andrea Cotter

Andrea Cotter, President and Founder, ACotter Global Brands. Andrea coaches executives and teams helping them to put in place strategies and communications that will take them to the next level.  She is also an Adjunct Professor of Strategic Communication at the NYU School of Continuing and Professional Studies. 
During a 30-year career at IBM Corporation, Andrea Cotter held many integrated marketing and communications roles for various IBM products and services and executive roles as Global Director of Linux and of Healthcare and Life Science Marketing.  At UPMC in Pittsburgh, PA, Andrea was SVP of Communications, responsible for enterprise-wide brand marketing, advertising, clinical marketing and public relations.   Most recently Andrea served as temporary President of a brand consultancy in New York, New York.