International company Pitney Bowes asked small and medium enterprises in the UK to describe their marketing practices through a recent questionnaire. They were also questioned about the role marketing plays in their business and how effectively they felt their marketing goals were achieved. The results have been produced into a report that examines small business marketing. Within it, PB Smart Essentials estimates a loss of £122bn to small and medium enterprises in the UK through unachieved marketing.
Marketing and Success for Small and Medium Enterprises
It’s almost universally accepted that marketing will improve sales. After all, not many customers will buy your products and services if they have never heard of you. Many small and medium enterprises have set goals at the beginning of each year and more than 70% questioned in the study recognised that marketing was important when trying to increase sales. However the report found that only one third of all planned marketing was carried out. In fact, one in ten companies questioned admitted that they did none of their planned marketing activities.
So, why are so few marketing plans reaching fruition?
Lack of Marketing Funds
36% of those questioned cited a lack of money as a reason why they were not reaching their goals. It’s easy to think that quality marketing campaigns will cost a great deal of money (after all, that’s what marketers want you to believe) but there are many options that require little to no expense. Utilising social networking for free and taking advantage of free extended trials of software can help cut marketing costs. You can also track customer activities on your website for free with Google Analytics.
Lack of Time
This Pitney Bowes study revealed that the average small business owner is carrying out the equivalent of 7 jobs. This includes management, finance, IT, marketing, purchasing stationery, office repairs and general cleaning. In fact, more business owners listed purchasing stationery within their roles than marketing. What is most notable is that the final tasks on that list are very low level roles. If you’re a business owner and you’re still taking care of these low priority jobs then perhaps it’s time to hire someone part time or take on an intern. This will give you time for more important jobs within your business and help you recoup the expenditure.
Lack of Understanding
Marketing via the internet has changed rapidly and some small and medium businesses can feel out of pace with these changes. Keeping abreast of these developments is important and can be done relatively easily by following relevant marketing blogs and even following Google updates directly. There are also a range of marketing classes, training courses and websites that will give you tips and advice in manageable bite-sized portions. Always ensure that you check the credentials of these services though, to make sure you’re getting the best information possible.
Three simple reasons why small and medium enterprises are missing out on £122bn, is your business familiar with any of these problems?