68% say they are choosing new channels such as email, and 54% say social media, because they are found to be cost effective in communicating information to their current and potential customers as compared to all other options. 51% say they cannot get further engaged in multi-channel communications due to limited resources and time.
Though the most popular marketing tool used currently is email, during the last year the most popular new channel being added by small business owners is social media, with 20% of those surveyed just beginning to use it, while 12% added mobile marketing. The newest tool to enter the marketing mix is Quick Response (QR) codes, which have become increasingly visible. While some respondents acknowledge a lack of understanding and perceived complexity toward them, among those using them, almost half are using them on their business cards, 45%, and integrating them in direct mail, 44%.
New Marketing Tactics Used By US SMBs In The Past Year (% of Respondents; April 2011)
% of Respondents
Source: Pitney Bowes, SMB Owners Report, May 2011
Debra Thompson-Van, Vice President, Marketing, Pitney Bowes, observes that "... small business owners are increasingly challenged to effectively communicate with their customers and prospects in ways they want to be reached.... discovering that a combination of marketing channels is most effective in reaching prospects and customers... (and) need tools that are easy to implement and more information on how to use them... "
The study found that, while 68% of respondents used email and 60% used advertising most often, social media, with 50%, and direct mail, with 44%, are a tight third place.
The findings say 58% of small businesses surveyed use multi-channel marketing, and that traditional and new digital marketing methods are co-existing to create effective campaigns. Though business owners are integrating various channels, there continue to be barriers to integration for many.
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