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SMEs place priority on marketing online, says report

Richard Bell

According to recent research, SMEs have begun to turn their backs on the more traditional forms of marketing – which can include anything from television adverts and billboards to printed ephemera – in favour of more modern, online routes.

The research, which was undertaken by pbSmart Essentials, found that more than a quarter of the small and medium-sized businesses surveyed are spending, on average, just a tenth of their overall marketing budgets on offline marketing. More than a fifth confirmed that they invest nothing in the more traditional marketing options.

Companies that have 10 employees or fewer – commonly referred to as ‘micro businesses’ – were found to be the least likely to invest money in offline advertising. More than half of the micro businesses surveyed said offline operations accounted for less than 10% of their annual marketing spends. They reported focusing instead on both online and mobile routes.

When asked about their plans for this year, just under a third of the SMEs in the survey said they intended to spend money on print marketing. This figure is down by 12% since 2012. A fifth of SMEs said they will use direct mailing campaigns.

Ryan Higginson, who is Pitney Bowes’ vice-president digital channel Europe, said he believes that the success of many small and medium-sized enterprises can depend on the implementation of targeted and effective marketing strategies, especially those covering a variety of channels.

There is little doubt now that providing quality, original content is becoming a priority for companies with an online presence. As the focus is shifted from traditional to online strategies in a bid to reinforce company branding, many businesses that have not done so already are expected to begin providing industry relevant, professionally written or designed content.

Since statistics provided by the Internet Advertising Bureau have shown that the digital advertising spend rose above £5bn last year, pundits believe the area will go on drawing investment.

Richard has a First in English Literature and Creative Writing, and has experience writing fiction and short stories (which he has published both online and in magazines).

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