It may not be anything new to say there’s a significant gap between current (multi-channel) consumer behavior and the ability of both large and small marketers to mirror and optimize against that. The crux of the problem is mostly, though not exclusively, about mobile readiness.
Many large brands, for example, are still delivering terrible mobile experiences — despite the fact that we’re roughly eight years in to the smartphone revolution. In a large corporation that’s typically about bureaucracy and slow decision making. It may take a year to redesign a major company website given the layers of approval and all the stakeholders. Ironically, just as responsive design is being widely embraced it’s being questioned.
The ability to address consumers on their purchase journey is in many ways more challenging for local businesses. But rather than bureaucracy, this is generally about a lack of awareness and/or basic inertia.
A concrete illustration of the consumer-SMB gap comes in the form of an infographic (above) developed by Buzzboard for YP. It shows consumer behavior (on the left) and local advertiser readiness to address that behavior (on the right). It was prepared for LSA Bootcamp in Atlanta.
It may be a little difficult to read but these are the main findings:
- 50% of SMB websites in Atlanta aren’t mobile friendly
- 80% don’t use paid-search marketing
- 70% don’t have any video
- 90% don’t have meaningful collections of images on their sites
- 60% (astonishingly) don’t have readily accessible contact information
- 50% don’t have a Facebook page
This is Atlanta but it’s mostly the same across the US. Even if these numbers vary slightly from city to city, they reflect that SMBs are not currently meeting consumers at key touchpoints along the path to purchase.
There’s increasing evidence that those SMBs that do adopt or implement mobile-friendly site design will see ranking, traffic and probably near-term sales benefits. Despite this and the fact that there are scores of vendors, sales organizations, entrepreneurship programs and others — including LSA — trying to educate and help these businesses, it’s not clear exactly how that gap is going to close.
Yet close it must; SMB survival depends on it.