More and more SMEs moving away from offline marketing

The vast majority of small businesses continue to move away from traditional marketing, according to a new report from pbSmart Essentials in conjunction with Pitney Bowes.

Just under half (48%) of SMEs surveyed admitted that offline marketing contributed for less than 10% of their overall marketing activities, with 22% of respondents adding that they didn’t market down traditional channels at all.

The survey, which interviewed more than 500 small businesses between January and February this year, comprised two parts, the latter an analysis from the Centre of Economics and Business Research (Cebr) concerning the financial implications of increased marketing efforts for businesses.

Of the traditional marketing channels, the worst hit appears to be print advertising. Two in five said they had used print in the past, with only 28% stating they’d continue to use print ads.

But in terms of actual brass tacks, the figures for companies’ yearly marketing spend produced some interesting results.

Whilst the money gradually increases as the number of employees goes up – from £5.6k per year for companies with less than five employees to £38k for 150+ strong companies – for those businesses with 11-50 employees their spend was £26.7k. The 51-100 employee bracket garnered a £17k marketing spend in comparison.

On average, however, SMEs spend £23,810 on marketing. But are digital areas getting the most attention?

The research looked at the prevalence of mobile in SME marketing, with slow, if certainly encouraging results. Around half (49%) of companies said that they spent on mobile campaigns; yet only 8% of those polled had a mobile optimised website.

One in ten said they wanted to invest in mobile this year, with 7% hoping to consider mobile payments in future activity.

Ryan Williamson, Pitney Bowes VP digital channel Europe, said in a statement that SMEs shouldn’t disregard the more old-school marketing methods straight away, even though the sands of time are certainly shifting.

“Many SMEs’ success, and even survival, can depend on targeted, effective and easy to implement marketing that covers a multitude of channels,” Williamson explained. “Offline will always play a very important role in any strategy but online has really come to the fore.”

A paper on the research can be found here. What ratio between online and offline is your marketing strategy, and are there any traditional marketing techniques that would be missed for the next generation of marketers?

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