Most SMEs planning to increase marketing spending this year


Two thirds of SME owners are planning to dedicate more budget to such elements as social media, content, PR and performance than in previous year, according to new research.


The average UK SME owner will be dedicating around 16% of their annual budget for 2018/19 to marketing efforts within the organisation, with as many as half of those polled in recent research confessing that they’ve decided to up their budget after seeing direct competitors in their industry witness high levels of return on marketing spends.

The team at affilinet polled a total of 1,394 SME business owners in the UK, all of whom set up their business at least 5 years ago or more. Each respondent was asked a series of questions relating to their annual spending predictions for the year ahead, with particular emphasis on their marketing plans.

Firstly, all participants were asked to state how important marketing was to help the continued growth of their business during 2017/18, with the majority (61%) stating “It’s something that we dedicated spend towards, but it was not our core focus”. A further 1 in 10 (12%) admitted “it’s something that we neglected to fully focus on during the past year” and 9% noting “it was one of our key goals to focus on marketing efforts around the company during the past twelve months”.

When asked to estimate roughly how much of their companies annual budget this year will be dedicated towards marketing, the average amount was revealed to be 16%.

Next, all SME owners were asked to look forward to the 2018/19 business year ahead and asked to state whether they agreed with the statement “I will be dedicating more financial budget to marketing efforts in the year ahead than in previous years” with just over two thirds (67%) agreeing with the statement. When asked what was highest on their list of marketing elements to invest in this year, “social media marketing” (22%), “content marketing” (14%), “public relations” (7%) and “performance marketing” (4%) emerged as the most likely.

All relevant respondents were given a list of reasons behind why they’d be spending more of annual budget towards marketing this year and asked to state all that applied to them, with the top five answers as follows:

• I’ve seen competitor companies witness great results and ROI after investing more in marketing efforts - 51%
• We’ve had a successful year and I can now dedicate more annual spend to marketing – 32%
• I am wary that without modern marketing practices in place, the company with suffer – 28%
• Our existing marketing strategy has worked well, and I want to increase this in the year ahead – 24%
• We’ve had a bad year in terms of results and I’m hoping elevated marketing efforts can turn this around – 13%

Rick Leake, Client Services Director at affilinet, said: “As an SME budgets can be tight, but the need to implement a strong and clear marketing strategy is especially important as many small business owners can get caught up with the daily marketing activities (sending emails, tweeting, writing a blog etc) without keeping track of the bigger, long term picture.”

“In the modern digital age, your marketing strategy is key for creating awareness amongst customers, generating interest and sales, and continuing engagement.”

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