Independent Global Research Firm Study Finds Online Marketing Provides Proven Results and a Path to Higher Gains
BEAVERTON, OR–(Marketwire – Nov 15, 2012) – Act-On Software, a leading provider of cloud-based integrated marketing automation software, today announced results from a November 2012 study it had commissioned Forrester Consulting to research on the practice of online marketing in small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs), entitled “Driving SMB Revenue in a Tough Economy.” The survey found that SMBs who have adopted online marketing practices have realized significant business benefits, ranging from improved campaign performance to higher return on marketing investment (ROMI).
In the wake of the recent recession and current economic uncertainty, many SMBs continue to struggle and exercise caution when searching for new ways to effectively grow their businesses. The goal of the Forrester research was to determine exactly how SMBs are responding to the economic climate, and evaluate the business activities, processes and perceptions of those companies.
“The ‘great recession’ revealed a new model for the successful small business, where the journey for nearly every purchase today begins with a web search,” said the study. “Those SMBs who have adapted their marketing practices to changing buyer behaviors and have embraced online marketing are the new generation of top-performing small and medium businesses.”
From June through September 2012, Forrester surveyed 208 marketing decision makers in small and medium-sized businesses, from multiple industries across the US. Respondents were asked to share their perceptions about online marketing, specifically marketing planning and programs, organization and process, and technologies used to support online customer acquisition. In addition, respondents were asked to validate the benefits and realized gains from investments in online marketing.
Forrester’s study yielded five key findings:
- SMBs are active marketers. SMBs are spending a higher percentage of revenues on marketing than their large enterprise brethren.
- SMBs are still favoring traditional techniques. When asked to rank the use of activities to acquire new customers, SMBs showed a marked preference for traditional face-to-face techniques: personal networking, tradeshows and seminars topped the list.
- SMBs are deploying online and digital marketing tactics less comprehensively than large enterprises. SMBs are less likely to use scalable, cost effective digital techniques — such as email and webinars — than their large enterprise colleagues. The top five marketing tactics of SMBs (which include print advertising and tradeshows) are difficult or expensive to scale.
- SMBs are running behind large enterprises in adopting marketing automation to manage leads. Only 19 percent of respondents said they were using software to automate their demand management processes.
- Marketing automation correlates with higher performance in SMBs. Nearly three-quarters of those who are using marketing automation reported revenue growth above plan, compared to only about half of those who have not deployed these process automation tools.
According to the results, a new generation of top-performing SMB competitors has emerged; the profiles show significant differences in how they invest, spend, manage and measure marketing when compared to their lower-performing SMB competitors.
When analyzing the results of the study, respondents split naturally into two core groups: Those that reported they exceeded their revenue plan in the previous year, and those that either just made it or missed their revenue goals. Approximately 56 percent of the respondents fell into the first category and are referred to as “top performers.”
From the results, three distinct success factors appeared to differentiate the top performers:
- Top performers typically spent more on marketing programs and staff and did not cut marketing budgets as aggressively during the recession;
- Top performers are more bullish about online marketing and have invested more in automation;
- Top performers are tracking and measuring sales and marketing results more comprehensively.
Concludes the study, “The vast majority of top performers emphasize online marketing tactics over offline, and those intrepid SMBs who have implemented marketing automation to run their multi-channel marketing programs are getting real results.”
To access the complete Forrester Consulting study, “Driving SMB Revenue in a Tough Economy,” please visit: www.act-on.com/drive
To register for the corresponding webinar on November 29 at 11:00am PT, entitled “How SMB Marketers Can Thrive in Tough Times,” please visit: http://bit.ly/PVdxG8
Act-On Software’s cloud-based marketing automation platform is the foundation of successful marketing campaigns everywhere — from small, simple and direct, to complex globally implemented programs. Act-On’s technology features an Instant-On™ database for accelerated campaign implementation; an easy, highly intuitive user interface; and a comprehensive, feature-rich solution set. This includes a best-in-class email engine with one-click integration to leading web conferencing and CRM solutions; tools for website visitor tracking, lead scoring, lead nurturing and social media prospecting; design tools for web forms, landing pages and emails; and more. Act-On is headquartered in Beaverton, Oregon, with offices in Roseville and Menlo Park, California, and Bangalore, India.
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