Study: Despite Lacking Expertise, SMBs Opt for In-House Digital Marketing

The do it yourself (DIY) vs. do it for me (DIFM) vs. do it with me (DIWM) discussion continues in the small business (SMB) marketing space with new data coming out from a recent Clutch survey of 351 small business owners.  The study looks at SMB spending on digital marketing and according to the survey, in 2017, nearly half of SMBs spent less than $10,000 on digital marketing, while a quarter spent $10,001-$100,000.

In terms of how SMBs are investing these funds (below), the most popular resource was in-house employees (43%), followed by marketing software (39%) and DIY website builder (34%). This reliance on in-house staff and DIY tools can be attributed to a lack of marketing dollars, a desire to DIY and/or a belief that internal strategies are “good enough.”

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These statistics mirror a study LSA reported on in March detailing that roughly 97% of SMBs are utilizing DIY marketing in some form. While this figure represents the overwhelming majority, the research suggested that this may not be the most effective method for executing digital marketing.

Returning back to the Clutch survey results, 30% of in-house marketing “teams” are made up of only a single worker, while 28% are made of two people. Given that 55% of all respondents specified having 10 employees or fewer, this would indicate that many SMBs are forced to work with what little they have when establishing digital marketing roles. And although in-house staff members are generally the most familiar with the brand, that doesn’t necessarily mean they are the ones who are most equipped to market it.

However, despite these drawbacks, SMBs will continue to invest in digital marketing in many capacities, with websites (54%), social media (51%) and email marketing (36%) being the dominant channels. All three avenues play an important role in solidifying a brand’s digital presence, which is vital in forging relationships between SMBs and consumers.

While the majority of SMBs have these vital features already in place, many continue to grapple with executing them in a way that proves successful. For digital marketers, there is a wealth of opportunity available in assisting SMBs with improving their strategies and helping them attain the results they’re looking for.

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