The majority (81%) of UK SMEs believe marketing is critical for business growth – in fact, 37% claim it is the primary driver of their business.
The research from Royal Mail MarketReach also suggests that SMEs are ambitious and focused on growth, with nearly nine out of ten (89%) looking to grow their business this year.
SMEs also reported that they understand multi-channel marketing and apply it regularly, with an average of 3.5 media channels used in their marketing.
The most popular channels for SME marketing are email (82%), social media (62%), online advertising (50%) and direct mail (46%). Only 16% of SMEs currently use search marketing.
However, SMEs are held back from using new channels by a range of concerns. The most commonly cited barrier to using a new marketing channel was a concern about measuring the commercial return on their investment.
The second greatest barrier was the cost associated with using the new marketing channel. Capacity to handle customer responses as a result of marketing activity was third, with SMEs saying that a lack of knowledge about who to contact to set up marketing in a new channel was the fourth greatest barrier.
Royal Mail MarketReach MD Jonathan Harman said: “Our research shows how important marketing is for UK SMEs. It helps them grow by acquiring new customers and building better relationships with their existing ones.
“But it is clear that lack of knowledge, fears about cost and concerns about measuring their returns could be holding them back. Our SME guide offers solutions to help SMEs overcome some of their concerns and gives them insights from industry experts that they can put into action right now.”