Are SMEs are turning their backs on traditional marketing?

Are SMEs are turning their backs on traditional marketing?

We recently commissioned some research to see how committed smaller businesses are to traditional marketing in the digital age. The results indicate that traditional marketing is no longer a priority for many smaller businesses, with the majority favouring cheaper, online methods to promote their businesses.

In fact, we found that over 76% of small businesses that took the survey, do all their marketing online, with only 14% still using offline methods such as advertising, events or direct mail. The average spend on marketing ranges from £500-£5000 a year for smaller businesses, with the vast majority spent on online methods.

Our survey suggests smaller businesses are turning to digital marketing because they get a better return on their investment (over 70% agree with this), with 47% of respondents saying online marketing was cheaper than traditional methods. As a proportion of total annual revenue, just over a quarter of respondents (28%) said online marketing contributed between 30% and 50% of their annual income, while 10% said it contributed up to 100%.

Other benefits included feeling they have more control over their marketing, finding it easier to target customers and measure success.

The most popular online marketing method for smaller businesses is social media, with over 80% of respondents using platforms such as Twitter, Facebook and Instagram to market their businesses. SEO is also increasingly popular, with 60% using optimisation methods, followed by Content Marketing (52%), E-mail Marketing (47%) and Social Media Marketing (33%).

SEO produced the best results according to a third of small businesses, followed by Social Media Marketing and Content/In-bound Marketing.

The majority of businesses (62%) are doing online marketing themselves to save money, with just 14% outsourcing it.

Despite the obvious trend toward digital marketing, not all companies found it easy. Many businesses felt online marketing was too time consuming (48% agreed), while 20% of respondents struggled to keep up with digital marketing technology and methods. Other issues were the complexity of online marketing (14% agreed) and not being able to tell if it’s helping the business (14% agreed).

The results of the survey mirror recent reports siting the decline of traditional marketing agencies, particularly advertising. In 2017, advertising companies including Interpublic, Omnicom, Publicis and WPP, all suffered poor financial results and rating downgrades. This was due to what was described as a “difficult time for the agency holding companies,” as a result of slowing underlying business growth and the fragmentation of media.

The digital marketing survey was commissioned by Alba SEO providers of SEO and digital marketing services to SME’s across the UK.

This sponsored article was provided by James Walter

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