SMEs should have the smarts in regard to digital

Mary-Lou Costa

Web savvy SMEs dedicating large amounts of time and resources into an online marketing strategy could end up sharing their insights with their corporate counterparts – so indicate the results of an SME marketing survey carried out by B2 Group.

In the survey, not only did 44% of respondees said they had online advertising strategies, but 40% said they would increase their spend in this area. Online is the top advertising channel used by SMEs over the past 12 months, demonstrating an awareness that a digital strategy is key in not only attracting but retaining customers.

Clearly this is not a revelation to the world of marketers, where everyone has been dabbling in digital for the past year, with mixed results. But the varied nature of the SME world to the corporate world could throw up some insights that the SMEs could pass onto their corporate colleagues.

While SMEs might have smaller budgets, generally they are closer to their customers, especially if they serve a particular community, whether it is consumers, resellers, or business people. They can experiment and apply customer insights and data to a wide range of marketing initiatives and track the results with a faster turnaround than a corporate beast. A smaller budget, as the recession demonstrated for some, also drives greater efficiency, quality, creativity and ROI.

Based on this, SME marketers should be whizzes at coming up with great ideas and delivering results on shoestring budgets. And if this area is being considered as a breeding ground for marketers to cut their teeth before stepping into the corporate world, recruiters for the big brands shouldn’t discount the experience an SME marketer can bring with them.

What is surprising, and discouraging, is the decline in popularity of search in the SME world. While the whole mechanics of SEO might seem scary, and few can profess to be experts in this area, good SEO is invaluable and can make the difference between a customer inquiry, and ultimately a sale, or being buried in the wide world of the web.

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