In our last article, we asked for business owners to complete our short survey on the value of using external resources to boost their business growth – and our respondents were happy to tell us exactly what they thought! Thank you to all of you who took time out to answer our questions – we designed the survey to be anonymous so we don’t know who you all are to thank you personally (although some very kindly told us they had participated).
Over the summer, we had had face-to-face discussions with directors and managers of south west based organisations, who were frustrated by not being able to take advantage of weak competitors and growing markets. Their main aggravation was insufficient internal resource (having been in survival mode during the recession) to re-accelerate business growth, despite knowing what they wanted and needed to do. Therefore we designed this survey to evaluate whether our anecdotal findings were indicative of the wider business economy.
There was overwhelming support for using an external marketing resource and the responses to “How would you expect an external marketing resource to develop the business specifically?” produced two key themes. The first priority was redefining business development plans to be more affordable (realistic) in ROI terms (taking advantage of the wider sector knowledge of an external marketing manager). Secondly, the businesses simply needed an external resource to “roll up the sleeves” and be an operational resource in the short term to “get [the] business [back] on the right track”.
The next question examined the owners’ expectations of what the most important outcome of using external marketing expertise should be. Unsurprisingly, the overwhelming response focused on two key areas: 1) Increase revenue and 2) Increase brand awareness (especially at a time when competitors were likely to be struggling).
However we did get a surprise over salary expectations. The vast majority of respondents believed a typical Marketing Manager salary was between £25,000 and £35,000, either because this was the going rate for their sector or it was all they could afford. Our research into marketing salaries (using the Chartered Institute of Marketing’s Annual Salary Survey and figures provided by Salary Track) at the start of September showed current average salaries in Exeter are £40,000 for a Marketing Manager and £72,500 for a Marketing Director. The differences could be either an indication of how some sectors/areas of the south west still lag behind in rates of pay or that business owners do not know what current salary levels are.
Our final question asked “What increase in your business’ revenue/turnover would you expect in one year if you engaged a Marketing Manager (either Interim or Employed)?” to which 60% of respondents expected a doubling whilst the remainder were more cautious, looking to achieve only a 10% or 25% increase. As our survey respondents were anonymous, we do not have the data on the size of businesses who took the time to reply, but our best guess would be that they are the typical enterprise of the west country, the Small and Medium-sized Enterprise (SME). It is good to see that the majority are confident enough in their future to look to double their revenue in the coming year, but this is counter-balanced by concern over their lack of awareness of the true cost of business development roles.
Do these results match your expectations of how your business will grow over the next 12 months? Let me know what you think by commenting on this blog, or if you want to have a more detailed discussion, you can contact me via Twitter or the Enquiry Page on our website.
Our next blog will provide the details of the interim service we have put together to provide the resource that south west businesses need to accelerate their growth – at a cost that is gentle on the immediate cash-flow and bases its value on the resulting growth!