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Time Pressures Lead SMEs to Ignore Marketing – At Their Cost

More than one in ten small and medium enterprises (SMEs) don’t follow through on any of their marketing plans, because they find themselves snowed under with other priorities, according to the latest study by PB Smart Essentials.PB_shop

Many SME owners fulfil seven separate roles in their business such as IT, Finance, Management and Marketing, but also low-level roles such as cleaning and ordering stationery. In fact, more managers in the PB Smart Essentials survey of SMEs listed one of their roles as “Ordering Stationery” than “Marketing” in this study. There is a need for SME owners to delegate low-level responsibilities in order to focus on growing their business, according to the study’s authors.

Marketing takes a hit because of the owners’ lack of time and lack of resources. Some 77% of the businesses interviewed felt that marketing was important to their success, but 34% admitted that they carry out their marketing on an ad hoc basis. On average, only one-third of all marketing activities planned by SME’s were completed. Some 14% admitted that they felt marketing was out of their comfort zone. A paltry 8% of SMEs surveyed had a mobile-optimised website.

Marketing delivers

If SMEs could change their habits in order to develop and implement their marketing plans, they stand to gain. According to the PB Smart Essentials study, if UK SMEs were able to able to market themselves properly, the  potential gain to the national economy would be £122 billion.

On the optimistic side, many SMEs recognize the problem and want to do something about it. One in five businesses surveyed say that they want to ramp up their marketing in the coming year. Future investment in marketing looks likely to be on the up, with 7% of companies wanting to look into systems that can accept payments from mobile devices and 10% wanting to create a website that is optimised for mobiles.

Business Tips from the PB Smart Essential study

  • Even medium-sized companies with more than 50 employees admitted to ignoring their business’s marketing needs. Creating a marketing plan and following through on it can give you a competitive edge.
  • Marketing support technologies can save you time as well as making your marketing plans more accessible and easier to track.
  • There is a range of free and low-cost marketing tools available to SMEs.
  • Marketing and ecommerce via mobile devices is an area where SMEs need to keep up.
  • The PB Smart Essentials report recognises that SMEs’ versatility and responsiveness to opportunity are business strengths!
  • Hiring an intern or part-time employee can free up a lot of your time, giving you the opportunity to focus on running your business!
  • PB Smart Essentials also advises offering extra services such as free trials and quotes before resorting to price reductions or discounts. Win business by giving customers the chance to try before they buy, rather than reducing your revenues. Your quality will be the mark that brings them back.

To see the full report, go to: http://cdn2.hubspot.net/hub/210970/file-30557996-pdf/Struggling-SMEs-Report2_%282%29.pdf 

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