We’ve just gone through a tough election where both the economy and jobs were top concerns. And everyone agreed that small and mid-sized businesses are the engine behind our economy, the great hope for accelerating us out of this recession. So how are these businesses doing? Are they doing the right things in marketing and sales to increase their revenue so that they can increase employment? Ultimately, are they the engine to give our economy lift-off?
We recently commissioned Forrester Consulting to research how small and medium-sized businesses were adapting their marketing methods in response to the current economic uncertainty. We asked Forrester to determine exactly how SMBs are responding to the recent recession and economic climate, and evaluate the business activities, processes and perceptions of those companies.
The tough economy has impacted all SMBs. That’s not a surprise, but the way different companies have dealt with it is. Some have fared much better than others, and these have typically been the “Top Performers” (those whose revenues have exceeded their own goals in the last fiscal year).
SMBs are spread thin, and are more focused on traditional marketing and sales techniques than larger enterprises. When asked what tactics they are using for customer acquisition, more than half said they used 13+ different tactics. And when asked to rank the use of activities to acquire new customers, SMBs showed a marked preference for traditional face-to-face techniques: personal networking, tradeshows and seminars topped the list. Digital and online techniques were woefully lacking.
A clear dichotomy exists between the Top Performers and the rest of the pack. The Top Performers are spending time and effort on strategy, techniques and technology to get outsized returns. For example, a relatively high proportion of them engage in activities such as lead nurturing, and measuring lead quality and acceptance rates. Not surprisingly, a much larger proportion of them are using CRM and marketing automation technologies.
There’s a treasure trove of data in this report that gives you insight into the challenges faced by SMBs. More importantly, it’s clear how Top Performers are able to thrive in these tough times, using strategies others can easily deploy.
Forrester Analyst Lori Wizdo will share how Top Performers succeed in a webinar discussing the report November 29 at 11:00 am Pacific: “How SMB Marketers Can Thrive in Tough Times.” Register for this free webinar now.
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