Study: Average Net Promoter Score for SMB Marketing Space Is 6

Word of mouth, both online and offline, fuels consumer buying and is by far the most trusted “marketing channel.” That’s equally true for small business (SMB) owners. Yet, according to an Alignable study, SMB marketing vendors are generally receiving poor word of mouth.

The average Net Promoter Score (NPS) for the 25 vendors examined in the survey is a paltry 6. That’s according to 4,500 responses obtained by Alignable.

In case unfamiliar, the NPS is an index ranging from -100 to 100 that measures the willingness of customers to recommend a company’s products or services to others. The higher the score, the more likely a customer will recommend a business and the figure gauges a customer’s overall satisfaction and loyalty.

The scores in Alignable’s study are based on a variety of factors including customer service, price and ease of use and other variables. The providers reviewed in the study included Facebook, GoDaddy, Google, MailChimp, Groupon, Yelp and others.

Scores varied widely, with the best score being 48 (email marketing provider) and the worst being -66 (local search site). As an industry that experiences tremendous customer churn, an average NPS of 6 should be of great concern to providers.

According to Borrell Associates, three of every five dollars spent on SMB digital marketing services goes to large national vendors, as represented in the study. Billions of dollars are at stake, but the middling NPS scores suggest both challenges to growth and continued churn.

Alignable’s mission is to bring more trust and transparency to the space on behalf of the SMB. Alignable is seeking to capture and expose SMB-peer opinions to help them make informed decisions about how to spend their marketing dollars. The scores give business owners a chance to “fact check” and verify the claims and promises arising out of the large number of calls and emails they receive from these vendors.

“The ultimate goal is that when a small business owner gets a call from a company, they can log in to Alignable to see what other small business owners around the world think about them,” said Matt Schneider, strategic business development and partnerships at Alignable.

Local agencies and boutique marketing firms aren’t represented in the study, but it’s quite possible that the national scores would be repeated among these firms. Whether these low NPS scores are due to the lack of clear ROI, inflated SMB expectations or poor customer service, the industry is clearly underperforming.

It’s instructive to note that in some cases great customer service can compensate for other challenges. Alignable said that GoDaddy received the highest NPS score of the several website providers examined. The company said, “While many of our users didn’t feel GoDaddy’s product was the easiest to use, they highly valued GoDaddy’s accessible support and the convenience of live customer service.”

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