Putting a Face On Small-Business Owners

Small-business owners are 54 percent more likely to be receptive to email than the general population, according to a recent Experian study. That's invaluable information for companies looking to market to one of the largest of consumer groups. The information allows marketers to package their product in a unique way. The purpose of the study was to put a face on today's small-business owner--a group whose individuals have different needs from decision-makers in publicly owned companies. Experian took a sample of 1 million small-business owners and matched them against a national consumer database. The study highlights areas where these potential customers stood out from their peers. Key areas include affluence (21 percent higher income than the general population); residence (most live in Pacific and Mountain time zones); and charitable giving (they donate more than the overall population). "It's the cutting-edge entrepreneurial view versus what they're really like,'' says Denise Hopkins, senior director of business marketing solutions for Experian. According to Hopkins, the study reveals that small-business owners are stable and family-oriented. One of the most intriguing discoveries, Hopkins says, is that small-business owners tend to come from traditional households--those in which a male heads the household and is married with children--and are on average 50.3 years old. That's very different from today's image of a 20-something entrepreneur who struck it big with his Internet startup. Email receptiveness was another key finding, which is further broken down by industry--those in the services industry tend to be the most receptive, followed by those in finance, insurance, real estate, and public administration. When dealing with a smaller company, according to study results, the needs of the business and the business owner both play into the motivation to buy. Understanding those needs brings you one step closer to securing a purchase, even if you can't meet them in Hawaii for that secret getaway. The crossover between commercial and consumer spending is another important element of Experian's study. "Industry research suggests that small-business owners often blur the lines of their business and personal expenses, using their personal and commercial credit cards and bank accounts interchangeably," the study states. "Knowing how a small-business owner's credit score correlates with (that of his company) offers financial institutions ... a more comprehensive and holistic view of a business's creditworthiness and risk, helping them make important lending and financing decisions." Related articles: SMB Customers Are Key to CRM Health
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