Who are My Competitors? Hint: They aren’t the Mom and Pop Down the Street

Technology and social media have shifted the way we think about small business marketing. At one point, a small business could name their competitors by looking in their section of the yellow pages. Well those days are gone. With the development of technology and social media, customers have changed the way they consume media, and small businesses have to shift the way they market their business.

Let’s take a look at our current customers first. There are three main demographics that have buying power right now. Boomers, Millennials and Gen Z.

A note about Gen Z: Gen Z are known as digital natives. They have never known a world without internet or mobile devices, and they have a buying power of 44 billion dollars globally. The youngest of this generation is about 15 and the oldest is 22, so this generation will only continue to increase in buying power as they continue to grow into adulthood.

Here are some statistics about our customers.

  • 67% of Millennials and 56% of Gen Xers prefer to shop online rather than in-store.
  • 59% of Baby Boomers have shopped on marketplaces, 74% at large retailer sites, 42% on webstores or independent boutiques and 39% at category-specific online stores.
  • 74% of consumers are more likely to purchase a product or service if they can watch a video explaining it beforehand.
  • 50% of Gen Zers would stop using a website if it didn’t anticipate what they needed, liked or wanted.
  • Mobile Marketing - mobile commerce spending (smartphones and tablets) contributed $22.7 billion in 2017, a 45 percent year-over-year growth

Here’s the deal, businesses are taking this data and using it in their marketing strategies. And that means that small businesses are now in direct competition with tech startups and mobile apps. Local photographers are competing with the new portrait mode on the iPhone X. Local massage therapists are competing with LMTs listed on the mobile app, Zeel and independent law practices are competing with Legal Zoom. You get the picture, right?

So how can a small business stand out against these new competitors? Who often come with millions of dollars in marketing resources to boot. Content. Plain and simple. As a small business owner, you are an expert in your field and in your market. Most of my clients have been in business 10+ years in the same location. They know what their customers want and they have created increased loyalty over the years.

You, my friends, are thought leaders and subject matter experts in your field. Focus on your FREE online listings, such as Facebook Business, LinkedIn, Yelp and Google My Business. Create a blog on your website. Use these platforms to share your expertise and knowledge in your industry. Position your business as a local authority by creating content that allows potential customers to interact with you and get to know you. Customers will see your content and contact you to learn more information from an expert.


50 Statistics About Retail Marketing and Consumer Shopping Trends. On V12Data. Published 1/8/18.

Generation Z Opts for Personalization Over Privacy. Published on QCostaRica.com on 12/11/17.

ComScore reports 2/13/17.