J2Global Discusses SMB Trends for 2013
Mobility, expansion of the cloud, and integration of business services are the three key trends that small and medium sized (SMB) businesses must be ready for in order to enhance customer engagement in 2013, according to Mike Pugh, vice of marketing for J2Global, Hollywood, California.
Smartphones and tablets will become ubiquitous, according to Pugh, adding that companies will get smarter about how they use mobile devices in the new year. He predicts that SMBs will leverage smartphones and tablets more, taking advantage of more than simple communications features.
Business systems, such as CRM, will go mobile enabling teams to input and access sales information on-the-go, driving higher levels of communication and productivity, according to Pugh. SMBs have already adopted smartphones and tablets for email and web browsing but will now add a broader array of mobile apps for their businesses to be even more connected, more available and can use time that was previously wasted through the adoption of workflow apps.
“The mobility side has been pushed by the consumer,” Pugh told Loyalty 360. “People are used to using mobile communications.”
As a result, SMBs should ensure that their communications such as e-mails and Web sites, are just as effective, and provide similar capabilities on a smartphone as they do on a computer, according to Pugh. So an e-mail delivered through gmail should look the same as an e-mail delivered through Outlook.
“It’s amazing how many marketers have never looked at their e-mails on different devices,” Pugh says.
Large companies, let alone SMBs, don’t have the staff to design Web sites for each mobile device, particularly as the variety continues to grow. So Pugh recommends that SMBs employ responsive design, which enables a Web site to appear correctly on different types of devices.
The increasing proliferation of mobile will lead to a wider adoption of cloud-based solutions for SMBs, according to Pugh. He said that SMBs had been slower to adopt the cloud, but that will change as they leverage the lower cost of delivery and mobility afforded by cloud based technology.
J2Global predicts that cost and competition drive at least two in three SMBs to the cloud in 2013. With even more pressure from competition and the economy alike, SMBs and micro businesses will look to the cloud to grow their top and bottom lines. Cloud-based solutions enable SMBs to have affordable access to CRM, communications and other solutions that were previously too expensive, according to Pugh.
Cloud solutions also enable SMBs to take advantage of the Bring Your Own Device trend, with simple interfaces with different devices.
The cloud solutions also enable SMBs to have interfaces with applications to enable them to integrate and leverage data from social media as well as internal data sources, according to Pugh. J2Global expects tighter integration of social tools into business platforms and processes in the new year, making it easier for SMBs to manage social media campaigns from within a CRM service.
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