It may have taken small business operators, those with fewer than 100 employees, a while to conquer digital marketing. But the vast majority of smaller merchants now agree that an optimal marketing campaign includes a good balance between physical and digital communications. Some of these operators are also leading the way with one of the newest tools to enter the marketing arena.
According to the latest Pitney Bowes business survey, 76% of operators use both digital and traditional marketing. For now, email is the leading marketing tool for small operators. And over half of these business owners agree that social media is a cost effective form of communicating with both current and future customers. A growing number, 12%, are also embracing mobile marketing. They cite Quick Response (QR) codes as an exciting new tool and are using the technology as follows:
- Added to business cards: 45%
- Integrated into direct mail: 44%
Debra Thompson-Van, Vice President, Marketing, Pitney Bowes, says that “small business owners are increasingly challenged to effectively communicate with their customers and prospects in ways they want to be reached.” These operators often lack time to learn about new technologies and marketing tactics, yet they must invest this time to keep up with the competition and maintain customer loyalty.
The Pitney Bowes survey indicates that small businesses use the following strategies for marketing:
- Email 68%
- Traditional advertising 60%
- Social media 50%
- Direct mail 44%
While small merchants are shifting some of their effort to less expensive online channels, they are still struggling to integrate these the various formats. Integration will likely be a key goal in 2011.[Source: Pitney Bowes survey. Pb.com. 20 May 2011. Web. 24 Jun. 2011]