Small businesses plan to keep their marketing budgets at current levels for 2012 and will continue to focus their energy on e-mail, website and face-to-face interactions, according to a Constant Contact study. Social Media is the area in which they need the most help
Small and medium-sized businesses and nonprofits admit that drumming up new customers is the concern most often giving them sleepless nights, according to an April–May 2012 survey conducted by online marketing service provider Constant Contact. Perhaps that’s why the poll found the vast majority of SMBs (60%) were holding their marketing budgets steady in 2012, with little variance in that behavior between business-to-business and business-to-consumer companies. And more than double the number of small- and medium-sized firms had increased their marketing budget than had decreased it.
The research found that email, website and in-person interactions were considered the most effective marketing techniques by SMBs. B2C and B2B businesses found email and website marketing to be effective in about equal numbers, but a gap opened up when it came to the effectiveness of face-to-face interactions. Three-quarters of B2Bs found in person interactions to be effective, while only 64% of B2Cs said the same.
Effective Marketing Tactics According to US Small Businesses, B2C vs. B2B, May 2012 (% of respondents)
The marketers surveyed also indicated those companies that frequently used social media for marketing understood its importance but considered it the area in which they needed the most help. Of those using social media, Facebook was found to be the platform with the most utility, but at rates much higher among B2Cs (83%) than B2Bs (55%).
Most Effective Social Media Marketing Channel According to US Small Businesses, B2C vs. B2B, May 2012 (% of respondents)
LinkedIn was considered a much more effective tool by small- and medium-sized B2B companies than it was for their B2C counterparts, understandable given the platform’s focus on business networking.