Thursday, March 30, 2006

Small business folks "more motivated and excited" - and frustrated

Bill Sweetman, a Toronto-based Web marketer who recently became VP of Internet Strategy at MacLaren McCann Direct & Interactive, was interviewed last week on, a terrific Canadian site for information on the e-economy.

As part of the discussion, he had some interesting insights on the difference between small business clients and big businesses:

One Degree: Who needs a bigger kick in the ass to get on the Net advertising bandwagon - big advertisers or small businesses?

Sweetman: Neither.

The small business folks, God bless them, are more motivated in and excited about advertising online, however they tend to have unrealistic expectations and not enough budget to do things effectively. In the worst cases, they think of Internet marketing as a cheap or free alternative to doing anything else, and then are frustrated when it doesn’t live up to their unrealistic expectations.

The big advertisers, on the other hand, have got plenty of budget and want to “do stuff online” but many are still skittish about re-directing an appropriate portion (based on reach) of their budget to a medium they don’t fully understand.

Small or large, I’m not blaming the advertisers because the responsibility rests with us Internet marketers (whether we are freelancers, at boutiques, or working at large agencies) to help our clients understand and then capitalize on the potential of this medium.”

This fits with a lot of evidence I’ve seen that small businesses are quicker and more eager to innovate than most bigger businesses – even if the entrepreneurs don't have as much available cash with which to explore new media and opportunities.

For the rest of the interview, go here.

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