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  • Writer's pictureHugo Pinto

Marketing will finally turn into business this decade

I don't know about you, but 2019 was the year in which I saw many marketing initiatives with the potential to become very lucrative and scalable businesses. It also struck me as SMB continues to be an absolutely underestimated mass-market, as they have close to individual consumer service level needs, but have the gift of volume and reach.



I see the coming decade bringing together the technological commoditisation, the data literacy and access that social and digital marketing give small businesses to mass markets. It is bound to happen, especially with younger generations with a can do attitude knocking on the door, and services having more emphasis on the human to human relationship, rather than on processes...


Here's a few I've been maturing over the past few years.


1. Loyalty as a business model


Would you pay twice as much for a flight just to accumulate loyalty points? Loyalty is transitioning to convenience and higher value products are being bought in an impulse mindset – just because it’s easy, saves time and money. This means data must be used as a thread to weave new experiences and value propositions that can be served by either the company or through a network of partnerships.


Data should not be sold, it should be used to learn, shape and scale business models. And then repeat.


Loyalty as a business model is an iterative and living expansion of the trust your customers have in your brand.


Hello Banking Industry!


2. CSR initiatives as social enterprises


A few years ago I found myself helping an Oil and Gas supermajor in building a marketing initiative that was meant to inspire the retail transformation programmes to think about environmental impact. In one of the visits to southeast Asia we found a community that collected plastic for recycling, reuse and sell as wallets, boxes, bags, purses, etc. And they got payed in credits they then used to pay for their children’s education, water, social services.


What is the size of the opportunity for the large corporate that decides to monetise these transactions. And as Henry Ford said: ‘A business that makes only money is a very poor business.’ (Thanks Karen!). The time for the triple bottom line to become the leading KPI is coming – energy and utilities industries, your move!


3. SMB as the new (almost virgin) mass market


Working for another Oil & Gas supermajor, there was a project that got stuck in my head. It consisted in understanding how to use data to improve the performance of a retail network that was franchised. Marketing was this big blanket of empty and it rarely made any meaningful difference in how consumers viewed the brand. Very quickly we stumbled upon how marketing coud become an offering to enable each owner to optimise their results. From there we uncovered a few other horizontal opportunities: hiring, utilities & energy management and supply chain optimisation (assortment to be more specific). Picking a specific area of spend for ALL small and medium sized retail businesses regardless of the actual service is a big opportunity. And there are many routes - payment information, contextual data or location based insights.


Did you know that over 70% of the companies in the world are SMB's? And just as a teaser, how easy would it be to raise the average revenue by 1% and what would that mean across their global network?


I'd love to hear your ideas or comments on these.


And I'd especially love to hear from companies that want to explore some of these and starting to shape their leap into a new cycle of growth, both in revenues and in mindset.


Get in touch!




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