Today’s Cutting Edge (the Chartered Institute of Marketing’s weekly analysis of the latest marketing news) highlighted the results of a survey of how SMEs spend their marketing budgets published by Marketing Week (Small Business Digs Deep into Marketing Mix) this week. SME marketing specialists B2 Group run a continuous market study that aims to capture the “thoughts, attitudes and behaviours towards the major challenges facing UK business”. They commissioned fast.MAP to undertake this survey in May 2010, with the conclusion that SMEs are using more marketing channels more frequently – increasing their marketing spend to accelerate their growth of out the recession as they plan strategically for the future.
Paul Seabrook director at fast.MAP commented on the survey results: “The SME community is a very hard working and time-pressured group, but it is still thinking strategically about what’s right for their business…. about where else they need to grow, how to increase their networking and their level of competitor intelligence.” This was supported by Andrew Colwell, marketing director at B2 Group who believes SMEs understand that investing in marketing now is the way to achieve sustainable growth in the future “Because a lot of people have been battening down the hatches for such a long time, it’s a very positive statement that SMEs are looking to increase spend on going out and winning new business”.
The survey indicated the preferred channel for SMEs is on-line marketing with 44.2% of the SMEs surveyed using web advertising, closely followed by outbound e-mail (38.2%). Other popular marketing channels for SMEs included investing in conferences and exhibitions (used by 29.7% of respondents), Direct Mail (25.7%) and PR (16.9%). According to fast.MAP, the key driver for this enhanced mix is SMEs having a greater awareness of what competitors are doing, then pinpointing the channels that will get them a better marketing ROI. For example, whilst DM (Direct Mail) costs more than digital marketing, fewer businesses are using it, so an SME is more likely to stand out from the crowd.
fast.MAP also surveyed SME’s expectations of what marketing channels they would prefer to use in the future – web advertising remained as top choice, with 40.4% of SMEs expecting to increase their spend in this channel in the months ahead. In contrast, the survey noted that off-line channel were noticeably declining in popularity, in particular print media such as business directories, which mirrored the findings of the Chartered Institute of Marketing/Ipsos Mori Marketing Trends 2009 Survey across all types of UK business: “Customer Relationship Management delivers the best ROI with advertising (excluding on-line) giving the worst.”.
SMEs appear to have a good understanding of the variables and variety of the marketing mix and how taking an integrated approach will enhance their marketing investment. Interestingly the survey did not include detail on social media, which we feel will have an increasing effect on SME’s choice of channels. The key is getting ahead of competitors that may have been slowed down by the recession but are looking to fight their way back. If you would like to explore how Pragmatic Performance Group’s Interim Marketing Managers could give your SME the boost it needs to beat the competition, contact us now for an initial consultation free of charge.