Clay ScreenshotInvesting in optimized, accurate data and content is a strategic and easy way for small-to-mid sized businesses to compete with the larger marketing budgets of major corporations. However, convincing these businesses that there is a good return on investment (ROI) for this practice is not an easy task.

Recently, WhyteSpyder CEO Eric Howerton sat down with Clay Bell, founder of Twelve Company, to explain how smaller businesses can see ROI for their content and data cost. Twelve Company is a sales and marketing consultancy for brands within mass retail.

“We handle the privately held companies that are typically the number two brands or number three brands in their category,” Bell said. “Most of the companies I work with typically do not have the budget to create lots of videos and enhanced media for every SKU they produce.”

Bell’s companies tend to focus on providing enhanced content for their top selling products. For smaller companies it is too costly to target all their products. Top product pages will help drive sales for the rest of the business, and that is where you get ROI, Bell said.

It is also important to note that ROI from online content is not measured in online sales alone.

“For most of my brands, 99 percent of their sales with Walmart are through the stores; less than one percent of the transactions occur at Walmart.com,” Bell said. “Measuring ROI from sales on Walmart.com will never get you there. You have to look at it like this, people are shopping our brand before they get into the store and we can help convince them to a purchase our brand before they get to the store.”

Bell explained that investing in online data and content should be viewed as a part of doing business with Walmart, and not as some fad to increase online sales only. Also, online content has a wealth of opportunities for smaller businesses to even the odds with larger competitors.

“You only have a couple seconds at the shelf, but online you can do so much to educate shoppers,” Bell said. “I think it is a more strategic way to build awareness for your brand and it levels the playing field a little bit. A lot of the brands I work with cannot compete with the large ad budgets of major companies. But, we can create this media online to educate and create awareness for our brands and new product launches.”