Could a lack of marketing be costing SMEs?
Just one fifth of small businesses in the UK view marketing as being key to potential growth in 2015 but does this mean they are missing an opportunity?
According to eBay, just 20% of firms believe that increasing marketing spend would help to boost their business, with the costs involved cited as a major issue.
Despite this, some 54% of firms revealed optimism about the year ahead while 20% were planning to hire up to five new staff.
This means that finances exist to boost these business but many bosses are focused on other issues, away from the world of marketing and advertising.
The potential benefits
Research from the Centre for Economics and Business Research suggests that the average expenditure on marketing for an SME is £24,000 – a similar figure to the salary of a marketing executive.
While this figure might seem like a large sum to some SMEs, the potential benefits of having marketers involved in a business can be huge.
More customers can be made aware of products and services, raising brand awareness and increasing the likelihood of potential sales.
The main problem is that marketing is often viewed as a cost rather than as an investment opportunity and this can mean business owners do not embrace it.
For instance, the Advertising Association suggests that SMEs can gain proportionally more than larger businesses as a result of marketing by a factor of 8:1.
Advancing with care
Essentially, this means that SMEs are more likely to notice the benefits than larger firms, should they want to take a more tactical approach.
It does not necessarily mean that a firm needs to place itself under financial strain, or even at risk of needing business rescue, by hiring staff it cannot afford.
Careful financial management should always be at the forefront of business plans when looking to expand, but companies should be careful to ensure they keep all of their options open.
Marketing can be carefully managed and can be used as and when necessary to gain results – SMEs have far greater flexibility than larger firms too when it comes to such decisions.
Having an adaptable strategy could help to raise to boost sales and business growth, while also enabling smaller firms to take advantage of seasonal trends or certain consumer habits.
By Phil Smith