SMBs are depending mainly on traditional communications channels to market to customers and prospects. As a result, they are not tracking results and they are missing opportunities to incorporate multi-channel communications to increase customer response and conversion rates. These are the main findings of a recent survey Pitney Bowes conducted among 750 small business customers. Among the statistics showing SMBs underutilizing specific IT-enabled advanced marketing techniques are that 73 percent of respondents do not measure their email marketing metrics, while 80 percent fail to measure their direct mail or traditional mail metrics.
In terms of social media marketing, no business with 50 to 100 employees listed social media as a primary marketing channel. SMBs who do use social media as a primary marketing channel tended to be businesses that were less than 10 years old and that had 10 or fewer employees.
Email is the most used SMB marketing channel, with 46 percent of respondents using it as their primary channel for business communications, followed by the old-fashioned channels of phone (22 percent) and direct mail (11 percent). Respondents’ primary reason for using email was for basic correspondence related to ongoing business (59 percent); however, the number using email for sales and marketing is still fairly low. It is also worth noting that many marketing experts now classify email as a “legacy” channel.
MSPs Can Help with the Basics and MoreThe opportunities SMBs are missing create numerous opportunities for MSPs to provide services. One of the most encouraging aspects of SMBs’ lack of marketing technology prowess (at least from the MSP perspective) is that SMBs are need of obvious assistance even in the well-established area of email marketing. Any MSP that offers managed marketing services surely has email expertise and most likely can provide at least basic email metrics. Similarly, most MSPs should already possess the knowhow and capability to provide some level of metrics for direct/traditional mail campaigns.
Even many MSPs may not yet have much sophistication in the area of social media marketing, which means those that do have a smaller level of competition and those that don’t need to catch up to take advantage of this opportunity. Social media is unquestionably the wave of the marketing future for companies of all sizes, as evidenced by a higher level of proficiency among the smallest SMBs. MSPs who do not develop a comprehensive suite of managed social media services will wind up in the same place as SMBs who do not develop social media marketing/trackng proficiency” dangerously behind their competitors both large and small.