SMBs to Increase Marketing Efforts on Mobile, Social Media

September 24, 2012

7 in 10 small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) plan to maintain (45%) or increase (27%) their level of spending on mobile media in the next year, compared to just 4% who expect a decrease in mobile spend, according to September 2012 survey results from Borrell Associates, commissioned by Pontiflex. Among those who are planning to increase their spending, slightly more than one-third will increase their budgets by more than 20%.

Mobile marketing appears to becoming a mainstream activity among these SMBs: half said they were very (18%) or somewhat (31%) likely to incorporate mobile elements in their advertising and marketing efforts to reach potential customers in the next 12 months. By comparison, 37% fell somewhere on the range from “not very likely” to not buying mobile at all.

SMBs Would Rather Pay for Signups

Details from the survey indicate that while about half of the respondents don’t know which pricing models they would prefer, among those who do, paying for sign-ups is the preferred model. 26% overall said they would prefer to pay for sign-ups, meaning that they would pay for the email addresses and phone numbers of people interested in their business. Relatively fewer respondents said they would prefer to pay for clicks (18%) or pay for impressions (6%), the models that currently predominate.

Separately, 3 in 4 SMBs surveyed said that it was either somewhat or very important to be able to target ads by location.

SMBs Plan to Increase Social Media Efforts

SMBs are also looking at social media to help them with their marketing campaigns. A study released in September by Vocus and Duct Tape Marketing found that 39% of the SMBs surveyed (who were required to have an existing internet presence) said they would increase their use of social media a lot, with an additional 45% saying they would increase their use by a little. Only 1% were planning to cut back on their use.

This overwhelming response can be traced back to attitudes about social media’s effect on these organizations. An impressive 87% of the respondents said that social media has either helped them somewhat (58%) or a great deal (29%), with just 10% saying social media has had no effect on them. As a result, social media accounts for an average of 32% of these companies’ marketing activities – with about 1 in 5 spending more than 50% of their time on this channel.

Social Used for Lead Gen, but Also for Internal Reasons

The Vocus study, “Path to Influence: An Industry Study of SMBs and Social Media” reveals that 74% of respondents are using social media to build marketing lists of customers and clients reachable through social media. Of note, respondents who have found social media to be very helpful are more likely than those who have found it somewhat helpful to say that they would prefer a large and unengaged base to a small and engaged base.

Beyond lead generation, SMBs are also using social media to directly engage with customers: 61% said they engage in one-on-one dialogue with customers and clients, while 57% contact customers and clients in conjunction with a customer relationship management system.

A study from the SMB Group released in August found similar results, with the small and medium-sized businesses surveyed most likely to be using or planning to use social media marketing to generate new leads and improve market awareness. Yet that study also finds that up to 1 in 5 are using or plan to use social media for internal and strategic reasons. For example, 21% of medium-sized businesses and 10% of small businesses are using or planning to use social media to improve internal collaboration, while 20% and 7%, respectively, will do so to aid new employee recruitment.

About the Data: The Pontiflex Mobile Adoption Survey began on August 3, 2012 and closed on September 10, 2012. Survey questions were designed in partnership between Borrell Associates and Pontiflex, Inc. All interviews were conducted online. Respondents were recruited to participate via emails sent to local business partners of local media (mostly daily newspapers) from their lists of past and present clients, as well as prospects. A total of 21 newspapers participated in sending emails, resulting in 1,353 initial responses with 868 fully completed interviews as of September 6, 2012.

Respondents were with businesses in 24 states, with a special sub-sample of 153 from a radio client in the Brisbane, Queensland, Australia market.

Respondents averaged $2.3 million U.S. income with 41% reporting under $1 million. Respondents also reported an average of $68,393.15 total expenditures on advertising and marketing, with 50% spending under $25,000 total. Respondents report a median of six employees, with an overall mean of 78 full-time employees.

The Vocus data is based on a survey in partnership with Duct Tape Marketing of 400 decision-makers at small and medium-sized businesses. The survey was conducted from July 18th to July 28th by an independent 3rd-party research firm and has a confident interval of +/- 4.9%. Respondents were screened with the following criteria: must be a corporation, non-profit or government agency; annual revenues between $5 million and $50 million; no more than 1,000 employees; have a role in marketing decisions; and organization must have an existing web presence.

The SMB Group data is from a web-based survey conducted in March 2012. Respondents were from 18 different industries and non-profits, and are business decision-makers and influencers for social media, CRM, marketing and other business solutions. There were 750 completed respondents in 3 size segments: very small business (1-19 employees; N=350); small business (20-99 employees; N=200); and medium business (100-999 employees; N=200).

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