People often refer to the small-business market, yet there is essentially no such thing. While there are certain characteristics of small businesses that may be discussed headcount, revenues and so on the truth is that small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are as diverse and heterogeneous as the people who operate them.
For this reason, any attempt to segment this complex and fragmented marketplace is both daunting and potentially a massive undertaking. One could even argue that there are 35 million unique segments or one for every small business around the globe. But then again there are legitimate inferences, patterns and conclusions that may be observed and drawn from the attitudes and behavior of SME advertisers.
In an attempt to do just that, this White Paper examines data from a variety of research initiatives The Kelsey Group (TKG) has undertaken during the past several years. It attempts to offer a variety of segmentation frameworks or lenses through which to view and understand SME behavior, grounded in empirical findings. Certain of the segmentation frameworks outlined can easily be extended to individual markets by conducting primary research among businesses in those markets.
Where appropriate, we step back to draw inferences and conclusions about the marketplace and make predictions about future SME advertiser behavior and spending. First and foremost, however, this report lays out a number of key definitions relating to the fundamental characteristics of an SME: how many people it employs, its revenues, its primary attributes and its marketing tendencies and behavior.
TKGs objective has always been to understand the attitudes and behavior of SMEs concerning their use of traditional advertising and their adoption of technology and new media. Our primary intention is to present a larger perspective in this White Paper. It is also to offer a practical pathway to reach existing SME advertisers and begin making inroads into the very sizable SME market that does not currently advertise on either traditional or new media platforms.