According to Gartner’s research, marketing budgets are getting bigger. In fact, this tendency is stable and has been for the last three years. Does this trend apply to small and medium businesses? We decided to check that and polled 200 US-based companies.
We asked them to share their budget predictions and identify the channels most likely to drive spending. The survey took place between November 28 and December 1, 2016. Here’s what we found:
70% of SMBs say their digital marketing budgets will increase.
When asked if their digital/web-based marketing budgets in 2017 would “increase,” “decrease,” or “stay the same,” 70% said they would “increase.” Of that group, 30% said the budget would “increase considerably,” while 40% say it would “increase somewhat.”
Of the remaining 30% polled, 28% said their budget would remain unchanged, while only 2% said their digital marketing budgets would “decrease” in 2017.
“Digital marketing is vital for SMBs, and our survey numbers bear that out. Marketers are investing accordingly, given the substantial return-on-investment delivered through web-based campaigns.” —Simon Grabowski, GetResponse CEO and Founder
When it comes to ROI, another GetResponse study (Email Marketing Benchmarks) shows that the effectiveness of online activities is rated very high, no matter the industry.
Social, mobile, and email are poised to drive growth.
Among SMB executives surveyed that projected increased marketing budgets in 2017, when asked what areas will primarily drive that growth:
- 59% said marketing on social networks, such as Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter.
- 50% said mobile marketing, either app or web-based.
- 42% said email marketing.
“Mobile marketing is increasingly important given the surging content consumption numbers across smartphones and tablets. And social media usage has only grown in tandem with mobile consumption, as the most popular platforms are mobile-first. Email, too, has become a mobile-driven activity” —Simon Grabowski, GetResponse CEO and Founder.
Social media’s first-place finish follows another study we did in December 2016 regarding holiday marketing channels. In this study, 33% of SMB executives named Facebook advertising as the digital marketing channel they primarily use to “promote or increase holiday sales.”
With social media, mobile marketing, and email owning the top-three growth areas, the remaining channels were:
- Video production (28%),
- Search marketing, including paid search (26%),
- Content creation and management (26%),
- Data collection and analytics (23%),
- Corporate website maintenance and development (23%),
- Commerce experiences (16%).
The Gartner research mentioned above is based on companies with at least $250 million in annual revenue. Small and medium businesses typically have smaller budgets, which means they have to be more creative when using the same techniques as enterprises that can afford bigger spend.
A comparison of the two studies shows that SMBs are less focused on website development, digital commerce, and advertising. Instead, they are focused on channels where their customers are most active: social, mobile, and email.
What do you think about these results? How does it compare to your online marketing spend? Share your thoughts in the comments.