Please bear with me while I share some statistics with you.
99.3% of the businesses in the UK are ‘small’ (i.e. they employ less than 49 employees)
They employ 48% of private sector employees
They account for 33% of UK turnover
The majority of SME owners and managers (57%, according to a recent study of 500 busineses by Opus) believe that their business could benefit from a boost to their marketing to help them reach their full potential.
Why is it, then, that small and medium sized businesses account for less than 20% of the overall UK spending on marketing? What’s going on with our SME’s and their marketing and why are they so cautious?
It seems that the 3 biggest barriers are time, expertise and money. In the Opus survey
40% cited the lack of available budget as the main reason for not investing in marketing and PR
25% said it was due to a lack of marketing expertise in their business
25% told researchers that time constraints were the main reason for limiting their marketing activity.
In our experience, all three of these factors play a part in making owners nervous about investing more in their sales and marketing. Sometimes they also fear that past mistakes, which didn’t deliver a good return on their investment, could be repeated. A very limited budget makes it hard to realise economies of scale, so for the smaller business identifying very specific targets is important.
Another way to address the lack of time and expertise is to work with a specialist marketing director on a part time basis. Getting owners away from the concept that marketing is just a cost, rather than an investment in their future business growth, is also a challenge for us marketers. Working with a specialist often means that, over time, smaller business owners become more confident to increase their overall investment because they see bigger results from better planned, targeted and measured activity.
One Black Country business where recent marketing investment has proved valuable is Francis Catering Equipment Ltd. “The targeted program has transformed the nature and value of our marketing activity. We now have a proven process delivering the quantity and quality of leads we need to hit our growth targets with a high return on investment” commented Neil Humphries, Managing Director. The Sales Director, Roy Organ has also seen a change in the business and sees this as a positive for the whole sales team. “Initially, I was sceptical about whether a different approach to marketing would help me make more sales, but it really has made a difference. I can spend more of my time working on good quality prospects who want to talk to me about our products and services.”
If you are small business owner who’d like to be more confident that better marketing can deliver future growth, but are being held back by lack of time and expertise, why not get in touch with us?
*Research figures quoted from Office for National Statistics and the Advertising Association