While the average marketer continues to battle the ever-changing sales and service space, small-to-midsize business marketers have taken it upon themselves to equip their brands with the latest technologies and solutions in order to gain the competitive advantage. Because SMBs have relatively small budgets and teams, today's marketers recognize the value of technology, vendor partnerships, and outside expertise as essential elements for success. SMBs have grown increasingly comfortable with the features of these emerging tools, allowing them to rely on new solutions and third-party assistance to establish their footing in the marketing space.
According to Oracle Eloqua's recent 'SMBs: Maximizing Synergies in Technology, Branding, Customer Interaction' report, SMBs are quickly adopting modern marketing techniques that engage customers, drive revenue, and demonstrate business value. The study polled 204 executives from companies with revenues of $25 million to $200 million to assess how the average SMB currently perceives the modern marketing landscape. Overall, SMBs are looking to build the strongest teams possible-both inside and outside their companies-on a tight budget in an effort to drive increased sales.
The following statistics examine the current SMB landscape and how these marketers are using advanced capabilities to drive the best customer experience available:
- For SMBs, email (71 percent) represents the most important digital marketing channel of choice, followed by webinars (35 percent), and social media (34 percent).
- Both SMB marketers (64 percent) and marketers overall (60 percent) agree that the ability to track marketing ROI stands as the most important change to the modern marketing landscape.
- Obstacles, such as budget constraints (50 percent), data barriers (36 percent), and no sales data support (31 percent), continue to hinder the average SMB's efforts to implement modern marketing techniques.
- Fifty-five percent of SMB marketers believe vendors that provide metrics communicating the value of their technological investment offer the greatest benefit, while easy-to-use software (51 percent) and fluid partnerships (41 percent) also enhance such relationships.
- With such modern marketing solutions in place, SMB marketers believe capabilities that facilitate targeting, engagement, conversions, analysis, and marketing technology will ultimately have the greatest impact on increases sales (72 percent).
- In 2012, 30 percent of SMB marketers indicated that they are "strong" or "complete" adopters of modern marketing capabilities-a number that's expected to rise to 49 percent by the end of 2013, and 74 percent in 2014.
Key takeaway: Though SMBs possess distinct budget constraints, advanced technologies have become an essential component in the struggle to level the playing field. By implementing modern solutions, SMBs can begin to refocus their attention and their funds on more profitable activities, thereby differentiating their brands and lowering costs to gain the competitive advantage. However, to succeed and make such goals reality, SMBs must embrace vendor relationships and outside expertise in order to effectively and efficiently incorporate these new tools with their current infrastructure. Strong vendor relationships bring an added level of intelligence to the SMBs' operations, for they can inform and advise SMB marketers that have yet to develop a firm grasp on these newfound capabilities. Such partnerships allow these experts to become valuable team members that offer guidance as the brand navigates the modern marketing space, thus allowing SMBs to make the most of their technology investments.