Tag Archives: Randy Parker

Randy Parker: ‘The Top 3 SMB Ad Platforms are Facebook, Facebook, Facebook’

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The new focus for SMB advertising is very precise targeting , and that means building campaigns with Facebook, according to SMB marketing entrepreneur and Constant Contact co-founder Randy Parker. “The top three ad platforms are Facebook, Facebook, and Facebook,” says Parker. “There is no second place.”

Parker, who is developing Brevi Ads, an integrated, automated ad platform for SMBs that uses Facebook solutions, says that Facebook’s targeting abilities generally cost less than $150 per campaign, and are better than what Proctor & Gamble would spend millions of dollars on ten years ago.

“If you own a stroller store, you can target women 25-45 who live nearby, and filter in people with a child under the age of three and who bought baby gear within six months,” says Parker. While you could split your budget with Twitter, LinkedIn and Snapchat, “you are probably better spending all of it on Facebook,” he adds. You might plug in Instagram as part of that – Facebook owns it.

Parker and his Boston-based team are building Brevi to take the power of Facebook and apply it to SMBs. He notes that the solution integrates such features as SMB scheduling and shopping carts to better understand the SMBs’ actual needs in each vertical.

“You want to automate by going deep” with the business, says Parker. “Your problem is not that you want to run a Facebook ad. You want people to come for your 5pm Yoga class.“

We are now in the third generation of SMB marketing, Parker adds. “The first generation was getting online and figuring out how to market digitally. The second generation was coached DIY: what we did with Constant Contact. In the third generation, marketing will be truly automated.”

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Constant Contact Founder Randy Parker: ‘Stop the Fragmentation, SMBs Can’t Cope’

The arrival of Groupon and Living Social four years ago appeared to be a no money down, fail-safe way to get ahold of small business accounts. But the followup hasn’t been easy, and the race to win SMB accounts is still anybody’s to win.

In fact, there is no single “disruptive” door into the marketplace , says Constant Contact Founder Randy Parker, who has been watching the transition of SMB marketing since 1995. Parker believes the richer opportunity is in SMB platforms that plug in “presence,” social and mobile opportunities from best-of-breed providers. He’s currently trying to do that with SMBApps, a startup that he’s been incubating for a couple of years.

What you have today is a bunch of SMB solutions that typically rank below aggregators such as Google, Yelp and Twitter on search pages, he says. SMBs, to their great consternation, have to work with each platform.

Where does the “feature creep” stop? he asks. Moreover, as it gets more and more complex, Parker fears that the vendors are overwhelming their customers. Meanwhile, the severe fragmentation in the space keeps driving the costs of merchant acquisition up.

Parker says the ideal solution manages three things: an SMB’s data (such as deals and menu items), the content side, such as blogs, social media and copy points), and visual presence. The best way to “future proof” the Web is to build a single Web presence with “pre-made building blocks” for social, email, click to call buttons, delivery tabs, promotional links and mapping.

What won’t work is the extension of new platform after new platform. All that does is result in under-performing and marginalized channels, he says. Take mobile, for instance. Mobile is extremely important, and results in 1 of 3 leads, he notes. But the people pushing dedicated mobile apps for SMBs instead of universal HTML pages are “in la la land. The typical SMB may get 35 installs of their app,” he says.

Parker appears at ILM East March 26-28 on the “Local Business Success” summary panel, along with Kudzu Founder Tom Bates and Schedulicity’s Dave Galvan. You can register here.