Small Businesses “Complacent” About Digital Marketing, New Survey Finds

Small business owners in the UK understand the benefits of online PR and marketing but are “too slow to realise their enormous benefits,” according to a recent survey from Malvern-based agency Williams PR [ ].

The survey, conducted this week, polled 1,000 small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) in the UK about planned marketing activity for 2012.

While four out of five SMBs are set to increase their marketing budgets this year, only one third have a social media policy in place. Almost a quarter of businesses polled (23.7%) either do not coordinate digital and traditional marketing, or do so on an ad-hoc basis.

Key findings:

  • Only one-third of small businesses in the UK have a social media policy
  • For micro-businesses with fewer than 10 employees, this figure drops to less than 2%
  • Of those that do, almost half (44%) are not confident about their policies
  • One-third of small businesses do not plan to have a social media policy in 2012
  • One quarter of small businesses plan to trial a new marketing agency in 2012
  • 26% will increase PR budget, 29% social media budget, and 25% overall marketing budget in 2012
  • Only 4% of small businesses will reduce their marketing budget in 2012
  • Over one-third of small businesses still rely on the managing director or single key figure to tie together online and offline marketing
  • Small businesses see digital marketing as a low-risk, low-cost strategy – but 38% of micro-businesses still haven’t thought about a digital marketing plan

The survey focussed on three key sizes of business: micro businesses, with fewer than ten employees; small businesses, with between ten and 49 employees; and medium-sized businesses, with between 50 and 250 employees. Full data can be downloaded at

Rowenna Williams, managing director of Worcestershire marketing and PR company [ ] Williams PR, said:”We have a bizarre inverted system here when we look at digital marketing.Thesmall companies which stand to benefit the most from social media are unsure, unskilled or even a little too complacent to explore it.On the other side, the larger, medium-sized organisations with the bigger budgets throw money at social media, despite often not having a clue what it is or how it works.

“Digital marketing is a proven means to achieve results as part of a coordinated marketing plan. However, too many start-ups and young businesses end up chasing their tails. Perhaps some entrepreneurs want to learn the ropes themselves, or think they’ll wait for the business to grow a little before ultimately investing in an in-house marketing and PR team.

“A lot of marketing practices are new, and it can be difficult to plan around them – or even have confidence that what you’re doing is right. But agencies exist which can give your business the boost it needs in those critical early stages of development. Marketing is the catalyst for growth and should not be skimped on when you’re starting out. Both PR and digital marketingare incredibly low-cost activities which can considerably raise the profile of an emerging business.

“We would advise growing companies to find a specialist small business marketing and PR agency, with qualified professionals who can work closely alongside the in-house team to get measurable results. For small businesses, we would encourage they emulate the big boys and think particularly about agencies which can offer digital alongside traditional marketing and PR. At the moment, too many business owners seem too slow to realise their enormous benefits.”

For more information about Williams PR, please visit To download the full data from the survey, see

Small Businesses "Complacent" About Digital Marketing, New Survey Finds 1

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