Standing out in a crowded marketplace, and effectively connecting with prospects across channels is an overwhelming challenge for SMBs. However, a new study from Forrester Consulting and commissioned by Act-On has uncovered seven key habits SMBs can implement to succeed in the new era of marketing and communication despite economic uncertainty.
The study, titled: Driving SMB Revenue In A Tough Economy, gathered insights from 208 organizations regarding online marketing activities, business planning and internal organizational processes, and other strategies they implement to boost customer acquisition. An evident differentiator between industry-leading SMBs and their competitors is investment, according to survey results. In fact, top performers invest nearly twice as much as under-performers (40% versus 25%). Furthermore only one-third of top-performing organizations reported they reduced spending during the economic downturn, versus 56% of lower performers.
Based on these and other results, Forrester and Act-On formulated a set of “habits” of top-performing SMBs:
1. Emphasize on digital/online marketing strategies, rather than offline tactics. Overall, 32% of top performers spotlighted online marketing as a game-changer that allows them to reach more audiences and compete more efficiently. Only 20% of bottom performers agreed with this sentiment.
2. Focus on new business leads and customer lifetime value over customer acquisition cost savings.
3. Execute multichannel campaigns by tapping into email, the web and social media.
4. Nurture leads carefully until they’re ready to sell, rather than forcing opportunities. More than half of top performers nurture leads for four to 12 weeks before passing them on to sales, according to the Forrester Consulting study.
5. Collect metrics that matter to confirm and improve marketing strategies and investments. Forrester reports that SMB frontrunners are more likely to measure “virtually everything they can.” This is a drastic difference from lower-performing organizations: 44% claimed they didn’t measure anything.
6. Increase collaboration between sales and marketing.
7. Maintain or increase marketing budgets to increase business momentum, seize new opportunities, and gain competitive advantages — even in a challenging economy.
“Everyone agrees that small and mid-sized businesses are the engine behind the world economy and essential to our climb out of this recession,” said Atri Chatterjee, CMO of Act-On Software. “Our study with Forrester Consulting gave us an enlightened view into the marketing and sales tactics used by companies and the contrasts between the top performers and the bottom performers. These seven habits, if adopted diligently, will help the SMB engine propel our economy even faster.”