Cable and telecommunications companies starting to provide solutions
VIENNA, Va., March 5, 2008 – Small and medium-sized businesses have two pressing needs they would pay to satisfy, according to a new survey:
• visibility in online searches; and
• actionable contact information on consumers who phone them.
Exactly half of US small and medium-sized business (SMB) owners surveyed by Harris Interactive® on behalf of TARGUSinfo in September say they would pay $25 per year or more for “merchant profile management.” The service makes local-business Web sites or listings more prominent in major search engines by letting business owners define their own search terms. Almost half of the respondents (48 percent) who indicated a willingness to pay for the service said they would pay at least $100 per year.
Fifty percent of respondents would also pay $1 per phone line per month for “enhanced call detail,” a Web-based call log that goes beyond Caller ID. Enhanced call detail provides the contact information of every caller to the business, including full name and often address, making it easy for the business to re-contact the caller. Among respondents who indicated a willingness to pay for the service, 48 percent said they would pay at least $5 per phone line per month.
“As a small business owner, I am the marketing department and I am the webmaster,” said Kim Golway, Vice President of Cardigan Kitchen and Baths of Crofton, MD. “So if you can automatically improve my online visibility, help me get more leads from the Web and help me penetrate my market, and do so at a fair price, bring it on. I would stay with a provider who could do that.”
Merchant profile management and enhanced call detail are emerging services that companies can acquire from participating phone or cable providers. The services add value to commodity voice and high-speed Internet access and may lead to improved customer retention and acquisition in the $25 billion SMB segment, according to the survey.
Among respondents willing to pay $1 per phone line per month for enhanced call detail and $25 per year for merchant profile manager:
• If one of these two services were only offered by their current phone services provider, it would make these SMB owners more likely to stay with that provider. Fifty-five percent said they would be either much more likely or somewhat likely to stay for enhanced call detail while 49 percent said the same for merchant profile management.
• If a phone carrier other than their current provider offered one of these two services, many of these SMB owners would switch providers. For enhanced call detail, 11 percent said they would be either very likely or likely to switch; for merchant profile management it was 13 percent.
“The SMB market is evolving, with cable operators making inroads on the voice and data side, phone companies retooling for battle, and subscribers demanding more than just speed and feeds from a provider,” said Gartner Research VP Alex Winogradoff. “SMBs are increasingly looking for service providers who can solve their business problems, not just string lines into a building.”
The survey of SMB owners was commissioned by TARGUSinfo, the leader in On-Demand Data services for identification, verification, qualification and location.
“The SMB market is crucial to the success of every provider, and the survey affirms that providers will win loyal customers by providing valuable solutions that improve their businesses,” said Mark Barber, TARGUSinfo Vice President and General Manager for Communications Service Providers.
TARGUSinfo operates merchant profile management and enhanced call detail services that communication service providers can offer their SMB customers through their subscriber portals. The company also provides value-added services enabling SMBs to automatically follow-up with warm prospects and be first to sell to new residents moving to a community. These services, too, are available through participating providers.
TARGUSinfo On-Demand InformationSM services provide unique identification, verification and location solutions that enable communication service providers, retailers, call-center operators, Web-based marketers and others to dramatically increase the quality of their services and the effectiveness of their marketing. A privately held company, TARGUSinfo is headquartered in Vienna, Va. For more information, visit www.TARGUSinfo.com.
About Harris Interactive
Harris Interactive is one of the largest and fastest-growing market research firms in the world. The company provides innovative research, insights and strategic advice to help its clients make more confident decisions which lead to measurable and enduring improvements in performance. Harris Interactive is widely known for The Harris Poll®, one of the longest running, independent opinion polls, and for pioneering online market research methods. The company has built what it believes to be the world’s largest panel of survey respondents, the Harris Poll Online. Harris Interactive serves clients worldwide through its North American, European and Asian offices, and through a global network of independent market research firms. More information about Harris Interactive may be obtained at www.harrisinteractive.com.
About the Survey
This survey was conducted online within the United States by Harris Interactive on behalf of TARGUSinfo between September 6 and September 19, 2007, among 382 U.S. active business owners of companies with less than 100 employees. Results were weighted as needed for number of employees at company. No estimates of theoretical sampling error can be calculated; a full methodology is available.
Beaupre & Co. Public Relations