From the founder’s desk: [Ajay Garg, Founder and CEO at Hakema]
One thing that struck me at the event was the super “American” breakfast! You just don’t need to worry about eating anymore!
The event was a lot about SMBs Digital Marketing needs. I noticed that many companies in the event were trying to sell to them, but it was emphasised that it is a hard sector to work with. These SMBs are smarter and frugal and it not easy to sell a few hundred dollar product/service without its proving ROI. Other challenges in selling to SMBs include their higher churn, probably some pushy sales person sold a wrong thing, and also that SMBs go out of the business faster. These factors makes it difficult for sales people in big companies to work with SMBs.
However, despite these challenges there are a lot of companies including big giants such as Google, Yahoo, Yelps of the world trying to sell them something, why? Because the market size is huge. I think there are over 20 million SMBs in the US alone. Second reason I think is that the SMBs are eager to do something to get the money for themselves and decision cycles are short compared to a big corporation.
Another point made by the big media companies was that, due to Internet big corporations are afraid of SMBs as now they have relatively same level playing field.
One thing that was emphasised was that SMBs have realised how important loyalty is. They know their customers like them and would like to refer them but have not found a very systematic way to handle it. According to Sharon from CEO of Reach Local “Rewards points are easy to give but actual loyalty is hard”. We will see how it develops.
Finally it was turn for “Future Stars” to shine on the stage with their products and services. I was a part of this show as I also pitched our online marketing platform to service sector SMBs-a unique combination of booking, loyalty and promotion marketing. Most of the presentations were good and my favourites were Chalk and MarketGoo.
Leading In Local event was not about only business; we had a chance to explore part of the famous French Quarter in New Orleans (I am sure no one would want to skip such a thing!). This event was a great chance for me to meet people beyond their titles, business cards and companies they came from. I must admit that the event was insightful and yes as a boon this also gave a boost to my LinkedIN network! LOL
Hakema team thanks BIA/Kelsey and its entire team. And I personally thank Peter Krasilovsky, Abid Chaudhry, MacKenzie Lovings, Steve Marshall just to name few. We look forward to see you all again!