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Market Voice 30 Nov 2021 - 4 min read

‘The great Aussie SMB reset’: The opportunity for marketers in a massive boom for small and medium businesses

By Michael Levine - Head of Enterprise, LinkedIn Marketing Solutions, Australia | Partner Content

For B2B marketers, there has never been a better time to reach and engage with SMBs.

Small businesses are the beating heart of the Australian economy, and after a couple of years of challenges, they’re gearing up for a major resurgence, LinkedIn’s Michael Levine writes. SMBs are more engaged and looking for new tech to spur growth. Here’s what marketers need to know.

You’ve heard about “the great resignation”, but there’s another major shift happening that all marketers should be aware of. Australia’s small and medium businesses (SMB) are poised to emerge from a prolonged period of challenges and are now seeking to invest in their growth. We’re calling it “the great SMB reset”.

LinkedIn’s new research report in partnership with Kantar, Inside Australia’s Resilient SMBs, shows SMBs are upgrading their business strategies, looking to evolve, and are recalibrating their approach with a more focused mindset.
For B2B marketers, there has never been a better time to reach and engage with SMBs. Almost two thirds (63 per cent) feel positive about the future, and over half of the SMB market are actively seeking new technology and financial services partners to support their growth.

Australia’s SMB market is big and growing

Australia’s small and medium businesses (those with a company size of 1 to 200 employees) are the beating heart of the nation’s economy, employing over 7.6 million people and representing 55 per cent of GDP, according to the Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman (ASBFEO).

LinkedIn is seeing a significant rise in the number of SMBs active on the platform, outpacing pre-pandemic figures. New SMB Company Pages created on LinkedIn between January and June in 2021 increased by 44 per cent compared to 2020. They are also highly active, with individuals working in SMBs 2.5 times more engaged than their enterprise peers, viewing content and searching for information in areas such as capital raising, personal finance and regulatory affairs.

This activity suggests that Australia’s SMB sector is in a resurgence, with new entries joining a more resilient cohort of businesses.

What is driving the great SMB reset?

While unfortunately it’s no surprise that 71 per cent were affected by slowdowns, it is perhaps unexpected that 38 per cent in fact fared better than an average year, and 40 per cent said they had a positive sentiment about the past year.

Following a period of cutting costs and moving to agile working models, Australian SMBs are emerging with a stronger understanding of their business and the need to do things differently. They feel the past year has given them an opportunity to make their business more resilient, and seven out of 10 say they now have a better understanding of where they need to spend in order to grow.

Brisbane-based real estate technology company Little Hinges is a perfect example of an agile and determined Aussie SMB, actively seeking new technologies and services providers to support its scale. Little Hinges Chief Marketing Officer, Mike York, says: “Our business growth has accelerated throughout the past 18 months, and we’re continuing to double in size every three to six months. As we scale, finding the right tech and financial services partners to support our growth is critical.”

What marketers need to know

Little Hinges isn’t alone: 70 per cent of Australian SMBs are planning to increase their spend on technology, and 64 per cent say they are seeking new financial services partners to help fuel their growth.

The small business landscape in Australia has fundamentally changed, and marketers now need to re-evaluate their approach to capitalise on this.

Seize the opportunity: Typically, only 20 per cent of B2B buyers are in market over the course of a year but in stark contrast, this now soars to 60 per cent for SMBs. Take the time to build strategies that allow you to be top-of-mind for SMB decision makers who are looking for new products and services.

Speak to SMBs’ needs: Understand that their priorities have changed. Small businesses have unique challenges and are looking for partners who can help them overcome these to drive long-term success. It’s vital to tailor your campaign messaging and execution to make them hyper-relevant for SMB audiences.

Context matters: Where and how your brand appears is more important than ever. Your brand should be an active participant in SMB conversations on the right platforms. Don’t forget to get the basics of marketing right. Be emotional and be distinctive to build brand trust.

With “the great SMB reset” underway, now is the time for marketers to act to support the resurgence of the Australian SMB sector.


 

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