It can be hard for SMEs to be heard amidst marketing noise deafening consumers daily, with both large firms and small rivals alike to combat. And that’s where me:now comes in with a who, what and when approach
No longer are newspaper adverts, billboards or TV commercials the most desirable methods of exposure for a business as social media, apps and the web have all become the norm – a trend me:now has leveraged to serve small businesses.
The big idea for me:now came when CEO and co-founder Barry Thompson was sitting in an almost empty central London restaurant at lunchtime. Upon asking how the venue advertised that it had space, the owner said the A-frame board outside did the job.
That encounter convinced Thompson and his partners the restaurant wouldn’t be the only business relying on “ineffectual” approaches and me:now, a marketplace that allows SMEs to advertise to consumers in need of their services in real-time, was developed. It’s that time element that assures Thompson the company doesn’t have any direct competition because the power to say specifically when a business is available is incredibly useful in a society that’s forever moving and time-poor.
For example, a consumer in need can search a list of businesses based on time availability via the me:now website and apps rather than ringing around. This also increases efficiency for the companies who won’t need to devote so much time to answering such enquiries over the phone or via email.
It’s not just builders or hairdressers that users should expect to find on the platform either as me:now covers 312 industries in a bid to appeal to the masses and their needs. And although me:now only launched in February 2018, it was over three years in the making with two years alone spent exploring business and customer needs. Looking ahead to the future, Thompson predicts maintaining growth may be tricky but he’s ambitious.
Shedding light on the road ahead, Thompson said: “We want to change the way people advertise, especially small businesses – many of whom don’t take card payments and still use paper diaries to manage their appointments. We want to help them become digital. Our plan is to be in all English-speaking countries [within] three years. It’s going to be very interesting when [we] localise me:now for France, for Germany, for South America – that’s when the fun will really start.”