Ed Gala, VP-corporate marketing service at Xerox, spoke with BtoB about how Xerox effectively markets to small businesses and provides tips for marketers that are trying to reach this audience.
BtoB: How important is the small-business market to Xerox?
Gala: It is an extremely important part of our growth strategy moving forward. We really see it as a $44 billion worldwide marketing opportunity in the documents business. It is an extremely fast-growing business throughout the world, from developing markets like Latin America, Central Europe and Eastern Europe, as well as the Middle East, India, Russia and other markets. The small-business market is also extremely important to Xerox in the U.S. and North America, with an estimated $17 billion of that $44 billion here in North America.
BtoB: What are some of the ways in which Xerox is marketing to small businesses?
Gala: First, you have to have the right offering in terms of products and services that resonate with the small- and medium-size business (SMB) market—not just technology but also different types of software and solutions they can use to improve their work processes. For us, printing products and multifunction products are an extremely important part of our value proposition.
You also have to be at the right price points. We've done a lot over the last few years to expand our product portfolio to ensure that our price points are such that they are relevant to the SMB market. For example, our prices start at $299 and go up from there.
You also have to offer products and services through the right channels. We've done a lot over the last year or so to invest in indirect channels such as distributors, resellers and agents who specialize in reaching the small-business market. We also acquired Global Imaging Systems in a $1.5 billion acquisition, which gave us access to about 200,000 additional customers.
The last part is making sure you have the right marketing programs and promotions that appeal to this target audience.
BtoB: Which new technologies are you using to reach small businesses?
Gala: We are doing more in the new media and social media space. In the IT space, we launched an industry blog called Big I, little t, designed to showcase the fact that the way information flows through all kinds of businesses is more important than just looking at technology. It is designed to stimulate dialogue and debate around the topic. We have also done podcasts and roundtables with SMB experts, bloggers and industry analysts to engage them in dialogue and conversation.
BtoB: What strategies would you recommend for marketers that are trying to reach the small-business audience?
Gala: The most important perspective is to really think about the total customer experience in the small-business customer arena—not just what you are marketing, but what solutions you are providing to solve problems the small-business customer may have. You also want to move it through channels they want to buy from and have the right marketing mix that supports that.
BtoB: Are there things marketers should avoid when marketing to small businesses?
Gala: You can't take a large-enterprise business model and apply it to small businesses and expect it to move the needle. You need to offer targeted programs, targeted offerings and channels that engage small businesses on their own terms.
Also, inside the SMB market are actually very different segments. It is a mistake to paint the whole SMB market with the same brush.