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Cutting Through the Clutter: How Best to Reach a Small Business Audience

Anyone who watched the New Orleans Saints’ heartbreaking loss to the San Francisco 49ers on Saturday witnessed what happens when you can’t effectively “cut through the clutter” (in this case, the 49er’s defense) and giving up five turnovers as a result.  Imagine yourself as a quarterback trying to connect the ball (message) with the right receiver (customer).  When your receiver is being distracted with defensive maneuvers from the opponent (your competitors), putting the ball in his hands is a challenge.

Sports metaphors aside, we know that business owners are being inundated by suppliers, and ensuring YOUR message connects is a major challenge for Enterprise Council on Small Business members.  Our recently released paper, Cutting through the Clutter, gives actionable insights on how to capture owners’ attention, resonate with small business owners, and keep your brand top-of-mind.


Source: ECSB, October 2011, n=1097 N.A.; January 2011, n=1099 N.A.

Ironically, despite being deluged, small businesses view information saturation as a positive trend.  This influx of information is making it easier, not harder, for owners to make purchase decisions (and quickly). The good news for marketers is that when researching for a new purchase, most business owners go straight to the supplier.  The bad news is that owners are not only looking to you, but also at your competitors.

Winning suppliers are able to make their message stand out amongst the noise by making sure it connects with the intended receiver.  Here are a few tips:

  • Feature industry-specific information early. Upfront industry-specific content is the number one way to ensure owners KEEP reading a piece of collateral.
  • Personalize communications.  Owners are dramatically more likely to open and read communications when they are addressed personally.  For example, an impersonally addressed piece of direct mail is the number two reason why owners would throw it away.
  • Be obvious.  An unspecific subject line is the number three reason why owners would delete an email.

For more tips on “cutting through the clutter,” download the full report.

*Note: While Drew Brees’ Saints is officially ECSB’s favorite football team, we were somewhat heartened by the fact that the 49ers’ Vernon Davis is on our fantasy football team.

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