3 Critical Mindset Shifts for Targeting SMBs in 2022

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Blog post By Paula Chiocchi on 2021-12-08

Small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) have had it harder than most lately. But a recent study shared by ANA says there’s reason for optimism. The survey of more than 2,000 small businesses says the past 18 months have created “stronger, more resilient small businesses that are ready to ride a positive wave in 2022.”


This group has long represented a valuable customer base for many B2B marketers. But if you’re looking to tap into this market you need to know how to reach them and how to get through to them. Especially with all the changes they’ve undergone recently. From my experience and the new study data available, here are three things all B2B marketers should have a handle on to successfully reach SMB prospects.


  1. SMBs care about what you say and how you say it.


The study noted three mindset categories for small business owners: survive, revive, and thrive. Even amid COVID-19 shutdowns, nearly 55% of SMBs were not negatively affected by the pandemic and many saw positive growth, leading a significant amount to fall into the revive and thrive mindsets. Many small businesses don’t have the capital, resources and bandwidth to weather declining sales for too long—it’s sink or swim, and they’re swimming. Many small businesses will best relate to and respond to stories of optimism, according to the article. As you consider prospective SMB customers, make sure your messaging tone reflects this.


  1. They can’t be targeted in broad strokes.


Like any prospect group, SMBs can’t all be targeted the same way. They require a nuanced approach, meaning persona-based segmentation is even more important now, as well as the use of quality firmographic data. Even before the pandemic, SMBs would typically change personnel and email addresses more frequently than larger organizations. And with more employees working from home on personal email accounts and devices, there are added challenges in connecting with them. To successfully target SMBs, most businesses need quality third-party contact data that can keep up with these rapid changes -- especially since 2020 and 2021 saw a record-breaking number of new businesses, according to the U.S. Census Bureau and the U.S. Small Business Administration. “Economists believe this new wave of entrepreneurialism will continue through 2022 and beyond,” the article stated. 


(On a side note, it’s great to hear news like this! I’m always happy to share my experiences and champion new entrepreneurs.) 


  1. Their biggest influencers may be their own employees.


The past year has seen the rise of B2B buying groups, rather than individual buyers. And while decision-making power tends to be very centralized with SMBs, many small business owners are putting significant weight on the opinions of their employees. The study noted 62% of respondents say their purchase decisions are influenced by their employees, including many Millennials and the new Gen Z workforce. (Check out tips for optimizing your reach with these generations in my article on Business2Community.) What does this mean for B2B marketers? You may be selling to the boss, but you need to be building awareness and influence their employees, too.


How have you changed the way you market and sell to SMBs?


Outward Media’s proven data cleansing services and targeted, accurate B2B data can enable you to achieve better digital marketing ROI and, ultimately, convert more prospects into customers. Go here to find out about leveraging our SMB and medical market data on the LiveRamp Data Marketplace, where 95% of our email data matches the identity graph for use with display ad marketing.



At OMI, we believe good things happen when you share your knowledge. That's why we're proud to educate marketers at every level - in every size and type of organization - about the basics of email marketing and the contact data that powers it.

  • The Executive's 15-Minute Guide to Building a Successful Email Marketing Database

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