Survey: 62 Percent Of SMBs Don’t Know Whether Their Marketing Works
Top area of digital investment continues to be "my website."
The majority of small businesses (SMBs) in the US have fewer than four employees. They struggle to match increasingly complex and fragmented consumer behavior with their marketing — though they often understand what they should be doing at a conceptual level.
A new survey of 1,000 US SMBs, from InfusionSoft and LeadPages, largely reaffirms what other surveys have shown about the gap between SMB intentions and their ability to execute. It also reflects a fundamental challenge for SMBs in understanding “what’s working.”
According to the survey, the top SMB marketing objective was driving sales. That’s no surprise and is consistent with lots of SMB survey findings. I want to point out in the chart above the amazing finding that almost 22 percent said they wouldn’t be using digital marketing at all.
The top two areas of intended marketing investment for 2016 were “my website” and “digital advertising and social media.” This question is too broad. However, it’s a recognition of the importance of digital marketing generally and social media in particular.
The top response to the question, “What kind of marketing channels do you [currently] use?” was “Websites.” There wasn’t a significant difference between the current channels used and intended 2016 investments.
Who actually carries out marketing for these SMBs? Roughly half said they did personally, and the other half said they had dedicated personnel, either in-house or with an outside contractor or agency.
The most fascinating finding of the survey, again reflecting pre-existing data, is the challenge that SMBs face in recognizing which efforts are “working.” Only a minority of these respondents believed their marketing was effective; a larger group (62 percent) said it wasn’t or they didn’t know.
It’s staggering that almost half said they didn’t know.
The SMB market has no shortage of vendors and “solutions providers” seeking to help them carry out digital marketing in one form or another. All these folks use analytics or have dashboards that show ROI in one form or another (though it may not be convincing).
The challenge for these providers is winning the trust of business owners and proving value. Indeed, a 2015 UK-based survey from Bing and agency Latitude White found that less than 20 percent of SMB respondents trust their SEO or PPC firms.