Marketing technology is rapidly taking over from the hit and miss, ad hoc research, customer and prospect management, and performance measurement practices that have dominated to date. This is a particularly critical evolution for small businesses who are generally already behind as the game started.
As time passes, this marketing capability gap, and hence ability to compete with their larger, better resourced competitors is becoming increasingly compromised.
Simple things like having a website, are still beyond many small businesses. Often they give the task of “knocking up” a website to their 15 year old kids or the summer intern, think the job done, and wonder why business does not walk in the door.
According to the ABS, 60% of Australian enterprises of less than 5 employees do not even have a website. The penetration in Agriculture is particularly low, yet Ag is being touted as one of the saviors of the economy post mining boom!
There is clearly a disconnect between economic forecasters sitting in ivory towers, looking at survey data and the reality out in the boonies. Many small businesses in Ag do not have a website, or any digital connectivity for all the same reasons their city brothers do not, but also have the added challenge that access to the web is crap, they can often make a cup of tea while the home page of a searched site launches.
Digital competence is learned, the more you play with it, the more curious you are, the better you get at it. This is counter intuitive to the average 55 year old farmer, who manages risk in a long term, and very organised manner.
Small businesses have wonderful opportunities to compete delivered by technology, the gap created by the economies of scale available to their larger competitors are now increasingly obsolete due to technology, but a new form of gap has emerged, the digital capability gap, that is proving difficult for many to jump.
SME’s often just need some encouragement, a dose of curiosity, and access, then the gap can be rapidly filled.