Hopkins: Hibu Helping SMBs Adapt to Changing Consumer

Changing consumer behavior is a theme we touch on frequently on Localogy Insider. Across the industry, agencies and martech companies are changing their business models and rebranding themselves as “customer experience platforms.” And, ultimately, CX is about communicating with businesses proactively and in a manner that reflects modern consumer behavior. 

We recently spoke with Nick Hopkins, AVP of Digital Marketing Products for Hibu, a digital marketing agency for small businesses. We wanted to catch up on the company’s product and go to market strategy. While Hibu hasn’t explicitly adopted the CX mantra, much of its product, pricing, and service strategy is informed by changing consumer behavior. 

Nick tells us Hibu is focused on driving leads to small businesses. But Hibu also provides tools to engage with and retain customers. 

“Our mantra is to try to help those customers build their business and get in leads and new business and keep and retain those customers,” Nick said. 

Home and professional services make up a large portion of Hibu’s customer base. Less so retail and dining. This has been a blessing during the pandemic, which has hit those latter categories hardest. 

Key features of Hibu’s approach involve its pricing strategy and service model. The company has eschewed the subscription-based pricing common to SaaS companies. And it has also taken a pass on freemium and DIY products (do it yourself). Hopkins says the company is firmly in the DIFM (do it for me) camp. 

“That’s really a conscious choice,” Nick said. “We believe there are a large number of small business owners out there who are not, and frankly, don’t want to be digital marketing experts.”

Here are some highlights from our conversation with Nick Hopkins.

Who is Hibu? 

“I’d say today, we would best be seen as a full-service digital marketing agency for small businesses. So we focus on delivering a complete suite of digital marketing capabilities to most businesses in the services sector.”

Are you in the leads business or the tools business? 

“Fundamentally, we’re in the business of trying to bring new business to our clients. And, and the tools are a means to that end, right. So we, we look at how is consumer behavior changing? What are consumers doing to discover and engage with businesses? And how can we provide the kinds of tools, services, advertising, technology, etc, that help our customers adapt their business and their acquisition of customers to that change in consumer behavior?”

What consumer behavior changes are you referring to?

“So if you look back a few years ago consumers found a business by doing a search on Google. And they engage with that business through their website. Fast forward to today, and they discover businesses on Facebook, on Google on a whole variety of other local search engines. They engage with those businesses on their website on their GMB (Google My Business Page) page, their Facebook page, other consumer presences. And the ways that they engage have evolved as well, it’s moved on from most of my engagement is via phone calls to now people are calling a business, texting a business, messaging a business. So it’s really been a fragmentation of the way that consumers are discovering and engaging with businesses.”

What is your pricing philosophy? 

If we’re working with somebody who has a $1,000 a month budget or a $10,000 a month budget, we figure out the right mix of capabilities that are going to deliver the best value for them for that dollar. So we’re not starting from the bottom up and saying, ‘We’d like to sell you this $99.99 widget. Wouldn’t you like to buy 10 of them?’”

Why don’t you offer DIY?

“There are lots of companies out there where the owner is savvy and wants to go and run their own Facebook campaign, build their own website. That is not typically our customer. Our customer is the one who wants to run their business, spend their time doing whatever they’re experts in doing, whether that’s cleaning teeth, or installing hot water heaters.” 

You can watch our interview with Nick below.

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