Websites Viewed as Most Effective Marketing Method by SMBs but Challenges are Prevalent

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 marketing research and analytics consulting firm, has released results from their latest “Local Pulse Survey” conducted on 1,021 SMBs. Survey results show websites were viewed as the most effective media followed by social media, and print yellow pages (Figure 1). This is great news for industry providers that are selling websites as the foundation for additional digital products and services. In fact, 37% of SMBs surveyed stated they were going to increase their budgets for websites over the next twelve months followed by Search and Social Media (Figure 2). While this is positive, challenges still remain particularly around the loyalty of SMBs to current website providers.

Thrive Analytics gauged the SMB’s loyalty to current Website providers via the standard “intent to recommend” Net Promoter question. When the results were compiled, the website provider’s Net Promoter Scores® ranged from a -57 to +15 with an overall average of -25 (Figure 3). This indicates there are more detractors, who tarnish your image and readily switch to competitors, than promoters, who help generate profitable growth.

Several factors contribute to the overall low scores, including no or limited contact from current providers, poor results, and lack of product customization. These low scores have contributed to high expected churn rates with 40% of SMBs expecting to change providers within the next 12 months.

This illustrates the opportunity as well as challenges industry providers’ face in the SMB space. The sales/growth is there, however most will be lost out the back door. Turning over 40% of your customer base annually puts a tremendous amount of pressure on the performance of an organization. In fact, on average it costs 10X more to acquire a new customer than it does to retain a customer. Focusing on creating loyal customers and engendering it as the DNA of your culture is the best path toward sustainable growth.

In order to better gauge the attributes SMBs are looking for, Thrive Analytics asked SMBs to rate the importance of 10 attributes and the performance of their current website provider. Results show that the ability to make changes any time, customization and regular contact/follow-up are the key attributes SMBs are looking for in website providers. What is your organization doing to engender loyalty in your customer base? You can’t manage what you don’t measure. 

About “Local Pulse Survey”

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. The survey was conducted in June 2013 on 1,021 SMBs.

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