New Survey Shows SMBs Need Help With Digital Media and Prefer Working with Trusted Partner/Advisor

Jason Peaslee is the Managing Partner of Thrive Analytics, a marketing research and analytics consulting firm. His career spans more than 20 years in marketing, advertising, product development, research, and business management.  Before founding Thrive Analytics in 2010, he held several senior leadership roles at AT&T, Reynolds & Reynolds, Berry Network, & The Berry Company.

Thrive Analytics, a research and analytics consulting firm, has released a new report, “2013 Small Business Economic & Advertising Outlook,” offering a detailed look into the small and medium-sized business space. The report highlights SMBs attitudes about the economy over the next 12 months, the planned changes in their promotional/marketing budgets, the biggest challenges they face with online/digital advertising, and what current providers can start and stop doing to better serve them.

One highlight from the survey, conducted on 1,021 SMBs, is that nearly half of SMBs stated their biggest challenge with digital media is not having enough knowledge or expertise (Figure 1). This was closely followed by not having enough time to become knowledgeable at 42%. When asked about the specific areas SMBs need help, Search, Websites, Social Media and Mobile Marketing were at the top of the list with 30%, 24%, 23%, and 18% respectively (Figure 2). This presents a tremendous opportunity for the industry to help educate and guide SMBs in these areas.

When asked about current service levels they are receiving, the vast majority of SMBs surveyed stated they are frustrated with the current levels. Fifty-six percent of SMBs work with 2-5 providers; however 76% would prefer to work with one trusted source as they want someone that will better support their needs (Figure 3).

When asked what the providers could stop doing to better serve them the majority of responses referenced sales reps not being prepared, making mistakes, being pushy, not knowing the SMBs business…basically providing limited value to the business. Conversely, when asked what the providers could start doing to better serve SMBs the responses were all the characteristics of a Trusted Advisor. They want someone that is knowledgeable, accurate, trustworthy, listens to their needs, and contacts them on a regular basis.

These are not new concepts. We’ve heard them over and over again in the industry, however providers continue to struggle with meeting those needs. The ones that can codify and embody these traits in all their reps will have a decided advantage in the local marketplace. What is your organization doing to address this situation?

About “2013 Small Business Economic & Advertising Outlook”

For the past 3 years, Thrive Analytics has been conducting “Local Pulse” surveys on small and medium sized businesses to gauge their attitudes about the economy, what they are doing with their marketing budgets, what role social and digital media are playing in generating leads for them, and how satisfied they are with their providers. Thrive Analytics used findings from the June 2013 “Local Pulse Survey”, fielded to 1,021 Small and Medium Sized Businesses from our Connected Experience Panel™, in the preparation of this report.

The report includes the following charts/figures:

  • 1-1 SMB Outlook on Economy over next 12 Months
  • 1-2 SMB Sales Outlook over next 12 Months
  • 2-1 Mediums used for Promotional/Marketing Efforts
  • 3-1 SMB Promotional/Marketing Budget Changes over next 12 Months
  • 3-2 SMB Planned Change in Media Spend Online vs. Traditional
  • 3-3 SMB Planned Change in Media Spend by Medium
  • 4-1 SMB Planned Areas of Reduction
  • 4-2 SMB Reasons for Reduction
  • 5-1 SMB Planned Areas for Increases
  • 5-2 SMB Reasons for Increase
  • 6-1 Promotional/Marketing Methods that have been Most Effective
  • 6-2 How SMBs Measure the Effectiveness of Current Promotional/Marketing Methods
  • 6-3 Why SMBs Don’t Use Other Tracking Methods
  • 7-1 SMBs Biggest Challenge with Online/Digital Media
  • 7-2 Top Promotional/Marketing Areas in Which SMBs Need the Most Help
  • 8-1 SMBs Preference to Work with Several Marketing Specialists or One Provider
  • 8-2 What Can Promotional/Marketing Providers Start and Stop Doing to Better Serve Them

To obtain a copy of this report please contact

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