Closing remarks at the Warrillow Conference in Toronto this week confirmed major opportunities for business-to-business platforms in Canada.
Major Canadian national brands that target the 2.3 million small businesses in Canada plan on increasing their online media budgets in 2008.
E-mail had a planned increase of 54 percent, paid and organic search was up 47 percent, and spend toward banners was raised by 39 percent. The big losers of this survey were television and national newspapers, which saw decreases of 7 percent and 8 percent, respectively.
Because small-business owners are primarily consumers, social networks already blur the lines between personal and professional lives. It’s a question of whether these environments will provide the appropriate resources for small businesses to find vendors within the same walls that they post nutty pictures or play scrabble in.
Warrillow highlighted some interesting localized guerrilla-style tactics being implemented by major national brands targeting the small-business sector in Canada. None of the case studies included local search.
Currently, searching Canadian B2B suppliers on the major search engines is like wading through peanut butter. When it comes to local search for this market, the field is wide open. Most B2B directories are internationally based with limited brand awareness in Canada. The current strength of the Canadian dollar makes purchasing B2B advertising from international vendors very attractive. What is lacking is the utility of these internationally based services and the organic and paid search efforts behind them.
While the tactical details were not quite grasped, the general sense from the speakers and the attendees this week was that given more B2B platforms, be they social or local search, there would be budgets allocated toward them.