Small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) are spending less money on media than just two years ago. At the same time, however, they are increasingly tactical in their use of digital media, getting a bigger bang for fewer marketing dollars.
A look at some of just-released Local Commerce Monitor survey data at BIA/Kelsey, a leading research firm dedicated to SMB marketing, uncovered several key trends that can inform SMB developing their own marketing programs.
Here are five key takeaways from the survey.
The first major takeaway is that a lot of SMBs are spending less money on marketing. SMBs have cut their average spending on marketing from $37,000 in 2012 to around $31,000 in 2013.
The explanation? Digital channels, including “free” social media, allow for more efficiency in their spending, even as SMBs support almost eight marketing channels.
SMBs are using social media as the anchor for many of their marketing activities. Facebook, Google+, Pinterest, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn are sources of major SMB customer engagement and recruitment.
Moreover, SMBs are beginning to utilize social media channels well beyond their free options. Social media now accounts for the largest share of spend among media channels, and is also the most utilized.
The third major takeaway is that SMBs are moving away from spending on media services such as banner ads.
Instead, they are moving towards supporting their online presence and engagement via review, listings information, maps, scheduling and other features. The average SMB spend has increased from around $3900 in 2012 to around $4900 – a remarkable one year jump.
The fourth major takeaway is that SMBs are now coordinating more of their online activities via dedicated online staff and consistent design. More than 80 percent of SMBs now have integrated activities.
Previously, many SMBs had hit or miss online activities that suffered from inconsistent design and out-of-date information.
The fifth major takeaway is that SMBs are increasingly deploying promotions to build their business – probably at the expense of traditional advertising methods.
The survey revealed that almost 18 percent of SMB revenue came from promotions, including growing online features such as prepaid deals (“daily deals”) and online coupons.
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