More than one in five SMEs say they have not used any form of marketing to promote their business in the last year - and smaller businesses are those least likely to have engaged in marketing activity (26%) - according to new national research for elephant communications.
At a time when SMEs said their most important issues were to boost sales (50%) and get their name known (46%), the new survey reveals that small businesses are planning to commit only around 4% of their profits to marketing and promoting their businesses for the year ahead.
The new findings are from a forthcoming new report ‘Promoting Growth’ by elephant communications, which explores how SMEs are using marketing and PR to help grow their businesses in a challenging economic climate.
Of those businesses that had engaged in marketing activity in the last 12 months, the new elephant data revealed that there was a tendency to opt for more expensive forms of marketing. For example, 27% of SMEs said they had invested in media advertising and 33% had funded brochures and merchandise. In contrast, only 12% had considered editorial coverage in local newspapers and only 5% opted for local radio interviews.
Social media proved to be a popular channel for 32% of SMEs and this trend was primarily driven from London (44%).
Across industry sectors, the hospitality and leisure industry was most likely to have engaged in proactive marketing and PR in the last year (92%).
Lindsay Marino, Director at elephant communications commented: “At a time when the economy is focused on growth, the small business sector has a vital part to play. At elephant communications we are running free quarterly PR advice days for small businesses in 2012 as part of our community investment programme to do our bit to support an area of the economy that we think needs help. This new report, the first in a new ongoing series, suggests many small businesses are overlooking the more cost effective options that are open to them at a time when budgets are tight anyway.”