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74% of small business have no marketing plan!

Carolyn from Connect Marketing did a recent survey of small businesses with some interesting results.

The survey highlighted that 89% of small business owners considered marketing as either their first or second priority, yet an astonishing 74% said they did not have a marketing plan! Failing to plan is planning to fail and a well thought out plan that has at least six strategies working in tandem is the only way to generate a consistent flow of quality leads, month in and month out.

Here are the findings:

The survey was completed by 149 small business owners with a breakdown as follows;
53% were solo operators
13% employed 1 other person
30% employed between 2 and 20 people
4% employed 20+ people

TOP 10 FINDINGS ON THE ‘STATE OF MARKETING’ FOR SMALL BUSINESS
62% of people associated the word ‘marketing’ with either selling, advertising or branding.

44% said marketing was their FIRST priority and
45% said it was their SECOND priority.
In total, a whopping 89% place marketing in their top two priorities in their business!

Yet… 74% said they don’t have an up-to-date written marketing plan that is regularly followed!
Of those that don’t have a plan, 65% said they feel they need one with many stating they don’t know how to go about it.

44% said they don’t have enough KNOWLEDGE of marketing.
40% said they take a scatter-gun APPROACH to marketing.
Only 14% said they get the RESULTS they would like from marketing.
64% said they don’t have enough MONEY to do marketing properly.
56% said they don’t have enough TIME to do it properly.
50% said they don’t have good PEOPLE or resources to help them with marketing.

MORE DETAILED FINDINGS
What are the three most common words that come to mind when people think of marketing? Sales 25%
Advertising 20%
Branding 17%
Other 38% (all one off words where no pattern could be identified)

Other less common words associated with marketing were; promoting, money, cost and creativity. For me these findings confirm that there is generally a misperception about what marketing is. Marketing is traditionally about the 4 P’s – having the right Product at the right Price at the right time, in the right Place being well Promoted. Advertising and selling are but one component of the last P of marketing. More recently I have defined marketing as the ability of a business to generate a consistent flow of quality leads which ultimately comes from getting the 4 P’s right and through having a clear customer value proposition and points of difference.

What priority would you currently give marketing in your business?
First priority 44%
Second priority 45%
Third priority 9%
Minor priority 1%
Not a priority 1%
It’s not a surprise that marketing has come up as such a high priority for business owners in today’s slowing economy. I suspect businesses that have traditionally just relied on word-of-mouth referrals without having to focus on marketing as a ‘true function’ in their business, are now finding that it has become of much greater importance due to a slow-down in new business enquiries and sales. Given all the other functions that a business has to perform (ie HR, IT, Finance, Sales, Service etc) the fact that a whopping 89% placed marketing as one of their top two priorities says that we need to focus on giving small business owners practical, low-cost, consistent solutions that can be easily implemented – and NOW!

Do you have an up-to-date written marketing plan that you regularly follow?
No 74%
Yes 26%

If you don’t have a plan, do you feel you need one?
Yes 65%
Maybe 27%
No 8%
Many people stated they didn’t have the time, money or resources to get a plan and that they didn’t really know where to start to get one.

Respondents were asked to rank the current state of marketing in their business.

Do you have enough knowledge of the best ways to market your business?
No – 44%
Yes – 21%
Maybe – 35%
Knowing what marketing NOT to do, is as important as knowing what to do. Successful business owners are knowledge seekers in all areas of their business, especially marketing.

Do you tend to take a scatter-gun APPROACH to your marketing?
No – 40%
Yes – 40%
Maybe – 20%
A marketing plan helps avoid the scatter-gun approach. It just needs to be simple and focused with a minimum of 6 prongs working together to generate required leads.

Do you get the results you want from your marketing?
Yes – 14%
No – 46%
Maybe – 40%
Marketing is a numbers game. We need to be completely aware of the cost per lead and conversion rate so we can measure the ROI of every marketing activity.

Do you have enough money to do marketing properly?
No – 64%
Yes – 13%
Maybe – 23%
I recommend investing between 7% – 10% of your target revenue in marketing.

Do you have enough time to devote to marketing?
No – 56%
Yes – 30%
Maybe – 14%
If you can outsource the non-revenue producing areas of the business to focus on the revenue producing areas such as marketing, selling, servicing clients and product innovation, that would be a good start. I recommend spending at least 6 to 8 hours a week on marketing.

Do you have good people to help with marketing?
No – 50%
Yes – 26%
Maybe – 24%
There are many innovative ways to source good marketing and business development support. Consider establishing formal distribution alliances or employing commission sales people and agents or getting some University students on work experience. In summary, it appears there is a fair degree of pain around marketing, with people consistently feeling they don’t have enough money, time or resources to do it properly ultimately resulting in a huge degree of disappointment in return on investment. Working to a simple plan and annual marketing calendar and then dedicating some resources and time to it, is a good start. Then the key word is PERSISTENCE to generate a steady flow of new business leads, month and month out, rather than having the peaks and troughs so many businesses experience.

When it comes to using online resources or websites to help with marketing which ones do you regularly use?
No-one 28%
Connect Marketing 18%*
Google 18%
Flying Solo 8%
Twitter 6%
Facebook 6%
Other 16% (family, friends, business associates and other e-resources etc)
The findings indicate there does not appear to be one single trusted source where small businesses can get all the education and tools they need when it comes to helping them market their small business.

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