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Is there a blue ocean of opportunity for simple in-bound marketing platforms catering to SMBs?

I recently met with a boutique marcom agency that serves small and medium businesses and this meeting further reinforced an idea that has been stewing in my brain for the last 6 months, there is a need for a simple and cost effective in-bound marketing technology platform catering to SMBs. In effect, we need a “mini-HubSpot” that a marketing department of 1 or 2 can manage.

Automated in-bound sales and marketing software at the enterprise level is sewn up, there’s Marketo, Eloqua and HubSpot to name a few. But who is helping the small fish in this big blue ocean? I have found a few, but why don’t they roll off my tongue like the big ones?

There’s Infusionsoft, which is packed with powerful punches for the small business, like CRM management, email marketing and marketing automation capability. Another one is Swedish-based Leadsius and their strength lies with their website analytics and website visitor tracking capabilities.

Yes, some exist, but there doesn’t seem to b

e a dominant player in the market. Why is this? Could it be that an automated in-bound sales and marketing platform may be over-kill for a small business? Or could it be that nobody has found a way to simplify a platform so that a marketing department of 1 can run it economically? According to a report conducted by market research firm Ascend2, over half of the respondents see the value in an automated marketing platform, but 41% said these systems are still too complex.

In fact, Hubspot is planning on targeting these SMBs, well at least they plan on targeting the “M”s. “It is clear that we are still in the early innings of meeting the significant demand for marketing and sales technology that helps mid-market companies grow,” says HubSpot Chairman and CEO Brian Halligan. But mid-market isn’t small owner-run businesses and so this slice of the market has yet to be addressed.

Greta Paa-Kerner is a guest lecturer on digital and affiliate marketing and a management consultant through Ganduxer Consulting. Visit her blog and LinkedIn profile at

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