Small Businesses Pivot Pandemic To Profit

Marketers discuss the camaraderie swelling between small businesses & technology post the pandemic

From leveraging limited capital in a smarter way to elevating efficiency & versatility, technology’s role in strengthening small businesses & startups holds a lot of gravity. It often works like a juggernaut to outweigh the short-lived challenges that these businesses face in the transitional process. 

With the pandemic’s play, these companies are seen to be heavily inclined towards deploying technology to share information, enable sales, imbibe deeper intelligence, scale marketing, analyze financials and much more, further aiding them to track the journeys and habits of their target demographics and to gain insights.

Dimpy Yadav, National Head of Client Engagement, Xaxis India marks that the marketing investments of these small companies are moving around connecting users' journeys, starting from exposure to an ad, all the way to the last mile transaction on the website or app. “These small businesses are leveraging the MarTech stack by integrating relevant audience cohort data, and measurements for action or channel attribution, together with the platforms that enable targeting.”

Tilt To Technology Post Pandemic 

With so many people comfortable working in remote environments, businesses no longer need a centralized location to find success. If they make deliberate choices about which technologies to adopt, aspiring entrepreneurs can launch, run and grow a successful business from anywhere.

Chandralika Hazarika, MD & Co-Founder, Bigthinx agrees that technology is a great leveller in this sense, allowing new businesses to not only create their own space or compete with larger companies but in many cases, even leapfrog them. “Such small businesses learn to use available technology to improve their business models by improving their unit economics or creating defensible barriers against other entrants to their industries. Technology is today helping many small businesses design better, produce faster and cheaper, distribute more efficiently, and waste less, at par with the efficiencies of much larger organizations.”

Sooraj Balakrishnan, Head-Marketing, Acer India expresses that small businesses/startups are in a much better position to appreciate the benefits from technology as they carry less baggage and transition pains. “Small-business owners and start-ups that can systematize time-consuming responsibilities will end up having more room to increase their core organizational mechanisms and eventually compete with bigger players in the arena.”

Sahil Shah, Chief Business Officer, WATConsult sees a lot of startups using technology for different purposes and businesses are becoming a lot more wholesome in their approach keeping technology at the heart of it, especially post the pandemic. He further states that marketers now have the ability to drive data and drive communication with sliced and diced creative communication at scale. Essentially making marketing communications a lot more seamless and effective. 

Experts believe the online service delivery companies have benefited the most by being first and building up the necessary tech infrastructure. OTT service, online education, and e-tail brands all have seen their business swell due to the pandemic which accelerated the shift to online at a much rapid pace than predicted. This meant that other companies had to play catch-up. But the key to success is to keep doing it again and again so you can catch the next blue ocean space as eventually competition will catch up and in some cases do better if you stay still.

Marketers Must Tick Mark

Experts suggest that startup heads need to craft fabulous customer experiences that help built brand loyalty. Hareesh Tibrewala, Joint CEO, Mirum India believes, “Businesses need to learn how to use the full power of technology for delivering good customer experiences. I am amazed at the shoddiness of UX (user interface experience) across brands. Netflix for example has such a fabulous UX. But when you look at some of the other OTT players, the experience is pathetic. And you wonder, why can’t they just copy the Netflix experience, even if you cant improve upon it,” he alerts.

Sunil Mirani, CEO, and Co-founder, Ugam also highlights how marketers can make the role of technology work better for their business, “By always starting with the customer. Easy said, but very often not practised. While technology is more advanced now, the question should always be "what does the customer really need?”. So start with the customer and then blend it with the best of what technology offers.

Rohan Chincholi, Head- Digital Services, India, Havas Media however suggests that it’s not always important to sign up for expensive paid tools, piloting with free tools is equally insightful before an investment decision is made. Lastly, put your first-party data to use, he adds. 

Technology is indeed opening up tremendous opportunities for these small businesses. With great improvements in areas like Ai, machine learning, adoption of cloud, and use of big data it is helping businesses streamline operations, predict future opportunities, optimize their products/services and serve customers better. With the pandemic more than ever it has shown businesses that the only way to minimize disruptions and maintain business continuity is by making technology at the centerpiece of their business. 

Automation and AI can help companies introduce three key traits - agility, flexibility, and responsiveness - enabling companies to better adapt to fast-changing situations. It is a paradigm shift that is here to remain, with bone-deep influences for all organizations.