Although some traditional media leaves many dissatisfied

Despite massive growth in digital marketing in recent years, new research from marketing software provider Brandmuscle shows that local small and midsize businesses (SMBs) are struggling to adopt new media tactics when compared to their larger national counterparts.

According to Accenture, chief marketing officers anticipate that 75% of their budgets will be allocated to digital tactics over the next five years. Nevertheless, Brandmuscle reports that social media and other forms of online marketing are still viewed as overly complicated and time consuming by small businesses, which continue to favor more established marketing tactics such as local events, direct mail, and coupons.

Key Findings

Some established marketing tactics are highly rated. SMBs deem some of the most tried-and-true marketing tactics as most effective. In terms of overall satisfaction, top-rated tactics include local events, coupons, billboards, and email.

  • The most frequently used tactics are coupons (83%), direct mail/postcards (81%), local events (79%), email (72%), and websites (72%).
  • Least frequently used marketing tactics include daily deals, e.g., Groupon (29%); magazine advertising (45%); billboards (45%); nontraditional advertising, e.g., pizza box toppers, gas pump toppers, and vehicle wraps (47%); and television (50%).

Traditional media leaves many dissatisfied. Old media is taking it on the chin when it comes to performance:

  • SMBs are least satisfied with magazine advertising, newspaper advertising, and Yellow Pages listings.
  • Traditional media costs big money. Cost is the top reason SMBs are shying away from television, billboards, radio, newspaper advertising, and Yellow Pages listings.

Digital and social media adoption still lags. Adoption rates for digital and social tactics remain relatively low.

  • 40% of SMBs surveyed don't use keyword search, 37% don't use Facebook, and 57% don't use Twitter.
  • New media is too complicated and time consuming. Respondents cite complexity as the top reason they don't invest in Twitter, Facebook, online advertising, and online keyword search.
  • More than one in four SMBs (28%) still don't have a website.

Local marketing budgets are growing.

  • Marketing budgets are growing, with 33% of respondents saying that their budgets are increasing by more than 10%. More than half (52%) say their marketing budgets will remain about the same.
  • Overwhelmingly, marketing is used to generate new business. Eighty-three percent of respondents say the top reason they market is to generate leads and new customers.