I was inspired by Francine Hardaway’s recent blog Social Media Analytics for Small Business: Still Missing in Action and ensuing spirited commentary to talk about the impact of enterprise standards in the SMB marketplace. In her blog Francine talks about a report by Jeremiah Owyang of the Altimeter Group and John Lovett of Web Analytics Demystified on measuring results in Social Media and questions the value of sophisticated measurement techniques to SMB’s. She writes:
The problem I have is that most of the small businesses I deal with don’t know how much it costs to get a customer, and only measure their marketing with a single business objective: does this help me get customers?
When we started InfoManage back in 1995 our goal was to bring enterprise level support to the SMB marketplace. Our original marketing material talked about how:
…we make enterprise-level support available to small and mid-size businesses…
We could do this by implementing enterprise standards within our service offerings and then doling out portions of our service to our SMB customers. By association, our customers were now implementing these same enterprise standards, already “baked in” to the service – similar to what Managed Service Providers and SaaS vendors routinely do today. As I commented in her blog:
The beauty of the “Web” era is how much it levels the playing field for SMB’s to have access to technology/resources/strategies that were once well beyond reach. This goes for standards as well. Very few small businesses know what ITIL is yet they can leverage ITIL ( as implemented by service providers, SaaS, PaaS, et al) to make their businesses more successful.
What Jeremiah Owyang and John Lovett are doing here is setting a process in motion to create a standard. From there, bright entrepreneurs will figure out a way to product-ize these standards. So, what may seem like rarefied air enterprise speak can and will find its way into the life of the SMB market.
While I’m not sure if I believe in trickle-down economics, I do believe in trickle-down technology. There is tangible value to the SMB marketplace for efforts like Owyang and Lovett’s Social Marketing Analytics report. While Enterprise drives innovation and standards to increase operating efficiency and improve the bottom line, these same innovations and standards eventually find their way into ROI equations for the SMB’s.