Higher Spending SMB’s Are Increasing Digital Media Channels But Still Favor Traditional Media

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When it comes to small and medium-sized businesses (SMB’s) many research reports see them as one big group without any segmentation within them. But in its latest report on SMB’s marketing research firm BIA/Kelsey took a more targeted approach. The firm focused its survey specifically on SMB’s that spend at least $25,000 a year on advertising and promotion and asked them about their spending plans, the marketing channels they use and what they prefer to get in return from their marketing efforts.

BIA/Kelsey found that 60% of this group of higher spending SMB’s, which they called Plus Spender SMB’s, intend to increase their advertising and marketing spending in 2017. The BIA/Kelsey report also revealed that Plus Spender SMB’s currently use an average of 21 different media channels for advertising and promotion. The report data points out that although Plus Spender SMB’s have expanded their use of online media channels in the last few years their spending on advertising and promotion has remained fairly constant. This could mean that they were using free media channels such as organic social media and relatively low cost paid marketing channels, including as email marketing, and performed the execution of those programs in-house with the resources that were already in place. 

Small business marketing

Top-10 Media Channels of Plus Spender SMB’s

BIA/Kelsey’s survey data reveals that half of the top-10 media channels Plus Spender SMB’s were using were traditional media. And surprisingly, the most used media channel was Direct Mail, with 66.3% using it for advertising and promotion. The top-10 media channels used by Plus Spender SMB’s included, in order of usage: direct mail (66.3%), IYP (61.8%), Facebook (61.5%), website video (54.8%), community sponsorships (54.8%), Facebook ads (54.0%), email (53.8%), giveaways (52.5%), cable (51.3%) and magazines (48.3%).

DIY versus Outsourcing

BIA/Kelsey survey also reported that Plus Spender SMB’s were split on do-it-yourself versus outsourcing. 39% of Plus Spender SMB’s favored do-it-yourself digital advertising services while 37% desired do-it-with/for-me solutions.

Preferred Advertising Results

BIA/Kelsey also asked Plus Spender SMB’s on the preferred returns on their marketing efforts. 53% wanted emails, 51.5% website traffic/clicks and 50.5% phone calls from prospective customers.