Why Consumer Data is Key to the Fitness of Your Small Business (Expert Interview)

Expert interview header image featuring Tom Ostrander.

Tom Ostrander is Senior Business Analyst for MOTUS Consumer Insights. Before joining MOTUS, he spent two decades owning and operating small businesses. In this expert interview, Tom discusses how consumer analytics enhances SMB marketing, reduces costs, and improves customer experience.

1. Can you give an overview of your small business experience? 

I’ve worked pretty much every side of a small business. As a manager, an owner, a vendor, and now as a senior business analyst who manages SMB clients. Originally, I started working at a mid-market gym in Kalamazoo, MI at 19. At that gym, I worked my way up the ladder and eventually became a multi-club owner. 

From there, I was recruited by the corporate team for a luxury fitness company. I served as Senior VP of Sales and was responsible for everything from marketing, sales implementation, managing our clubs’ POS products, and handling billing issues. Next, I accepted a position as a Regional VP for an HVLP franchise and oversaw the suburban Chicago area. 

I then moved to the vendor side and joined one of the largest fitness equipment providers in the world. I gained a whole new perspective on the industry working as a vendor. Finally, I brought all my experience to MOTUS CI as Senior Business Analyst. I partner with dozens of clients to reduce their marketing costs and increase ROI with our proprietary consumer analytics solutions. 

2. How has the availability of consumer analytics changed for SMB operators? 

When I was running an SMB club group, our access to consumer analytics was very limited. Any data we could pull was basic and narrow in scope. That’s what made me an instant fan of MOTUS CI. When I saw the incredible amount of customer data they could generate, I knew the major impact it could make on SMBs. What it would mean to use data on customer behavior to guide your marketing strategy. When I was running my businesses, we had to go by trial and error which is expensive and gives you a low ROI. 

3. What’s the biggest opportunity consumer analytics offers SMB operators?  

SMB owners are hands on. They have to be, because they don’t have the same resources as enterprise businesses. They need consumer analytics partners like MOTUS CI who can give them the data insights to make informed decisions. Moreover, because enterprise companies have locations across the country they have a national-level view of their industry. That’s something MOTUS CI brings to our smaller clients. We work with businesses across the country in a wide variety of industries, like fitness, healthcare, and retail. So, we know what marketing strategies are working, how customer segments are shifting, and we have the reliable data to back it all up. In short, consumer analytics levels the playing field. Giving enterprise-level insights to SMB operators. 

4. How does the MOTUS CI team’s business experience benefit SMB clients?  

At MOTUS CI, we’re a team of operators and practitioners. We have team members with real-world experience in multiple industries. That means we can partner with our fitness, retail, and healthcare clients as peers. That’s especially important during economic downturns like we saw in 2020. While we haven’t operated during a global pandemic, we were running small businesses on September 11th and during the 2008 financial crisis. So, we have the utmost respect and empathy for business operators because we’ve been in their shoes. 

Secondly, the MOTUS analytics platform was built to solve business problems. Our experience gave us the background to know the data solutions our clients need. So, we found the right data partners to ensure we could source the in-depth data required to provide those solutions. Finally, we assembled an experienced data team who can expertly evaluate the data and make recommendations for our clients’ marketing strategy.

5. How can consumer analytics help SMB clients grow their business? 

Every SMB operator is different and has different immediate needs. The truth is some SMBS are 30% behind compared to pre-pandemic numbers. They are just trying to keep their head above water. So, when we meet with a new client we assess the current health of their business and the goals they want to achieve. From there, we can create a customized strategy around new customer acquisition and can build a high-velocity add strategy. For clients who are looking to expand their business, we can help by analyzing potential trade areas for new locations. Our Site Selection Analysis uses data analytics to score a client’s list of potential locations, so they can make an informed decision before signing a lease. Finally, we can also build up a client’s brand awareness and equity through our data and creative side. 

6. How does MOTUS CI make consumer analytics cost-effective for SMBs?  

First, you have to ask, can you afford not to work with a consumer analytics partner? The pandemic has reshaped entire industries. Do you actually know who your customers are anymore? Better yet, do you know the most effective marketing channels to reach them? Consumer analytics gives SMBs reliable data on their customer segments. We can show you which segments shrank during the pandemic, which segments grow, and the best ways to engage them with your marketing. 

MOTUS CI is able to make consumer analytics cost-effective for SMBs because we specialize in hyper-targeted marketing. Most businesses take a “shotgun” approach, blasting marketing in mass to entire trade areas. Not only does it drain your budget, but it offers super low ROI. MOTUS CI enables SMBs to switch to a “rifle shot” strategy. We identify your top prospects in your trade area, analyze and reveal their preferred marketing channels, and deploy your campaigns directly to them at the household level. This eliminates marketing budget waste. We maximize our SMB clients’ marketing spend. In fact, when you look at ROI and the lifetime value of an added customer, most clients break even after just a few sales. 

7. If an SMB operator is interested in consumer analytics, where should they start? 

If you’re interested in consumer analytics, make the time investment to speak with us. We’ll analyze your customer data and produce a Core Customer Profile (CCP). Our CCPs are the best way to really understand who your clients are. It segments your customer base by shared attributes and ranks your top ten customer segments by opportunity level. Rather than blindly mass marketing, you can save marketing dollars by focusing on high-opportunity customer groups with personalized messaging, offers, and marketing channels. Further, our CCP gives business operators the data to make an informed marketing plan. 

At MOTUS CI, our best client success stories are from clients leveraging both our data insights and business experience to build a quarterly marketing plan. Some of my longer tenured clients now plan marketing from a 12-month view. If you want the confidence of knowing exactly what marketing strategies to use and why you’re using them, let’s work together. 

Schedule your consultation with Tom Ostrander and receive a free Core Customer Profile!