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Acquiring very small businesses at a low cost of acquisition and then locking them into a suite of services that they rely on to run their businesses (thus driving higher lifetime value) is a huge opportunity that is also incredibly difficult to achieve. This will be one of the big topics at BIA/Kelsey’s upcoming SMB conference — how to win in the long tail of SMBs.

On Day 2 of the conference we will talk to the head of digital at one major SMB brand that is chasing this goal. D. Scott Bowen is VP & GM of Digital at Vistaprint, a company that most of us know as the go to place for business cards and other foundations of a small business’s identity (logo, letterhead, direct marketing pieces, etc.). Vistaprint spends millions on advertising each year to drive inbound leads, and the company’s sweet spot is the “micro business” which it defines as businesses with 0-10 employees. Vistaprint estimates there are some 25 million of these businesses in the United States alone.

“We are passionately and exclusively focused on the micro-business market,” Bowen said.

With its huge base of micro business customers, Vistaprint is well positioned to migrate those businesses onto a digital marketing platform. This is why Vistaprint acquired Webs, which now powers Vistaprint’s digital marketing solutions set.

Vistaprint is offering an end to end suite for these micro SMBs, built on the premise that SMBs “do not want eight different point solutions.”

At SMB we are going to ask Bowen about the unique challenges in attacking the micro-SMB market. We will want to know how the company drives acquisition costs down and lifetime value up as well as how the needs and priorities of micro-SMBs are changing. We will talk about the bigger trends we are seeing in the SMB space, including the shift away from a narrow focus on advertising to a broader marketing services focus. And we will discuss the notion of using cloud based tools to build the “operating system” for SMBs.


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