According to a report published today by inTandem by vcita, the SMB technology platform for organizations that serve the SMB market, there has been a marked shift in SMB behavior with almost 60% of SMBs switching their outsourced marketing providers in the last year. With 70% of SMBs outsourcing marketing services such as web development, SEO, and social media management, this highlights the fickle nature of SMBs and the struggle of marketing agencies as they seek to retain existing clients.
The 70% of SMBs that outsourced marketing services in the past year reflected a significant uptick from the 32% that outsourced their marketing services in 2022. Most worryingly for marketing agencies, of those who switched their marketing providers in the past year, 67% of them switched within six months or less showing just how little time agencies have to make an impact for their clients.
“SMBs see the value of outsourced marketing and are willing to spend a large amount of their budget on it, yet are willing to switch providers quickly if they don’t see enough ROI. For marketing agencies working with SMBs, a constantly evolving sector, investment in retention and churn-prevention should be top priority,” said Itzik Levy, CEO and founder of vcita. “In order to retain SMB clients and increase brand loyalty and trust, marketing agencies need to showcase the long term value they provide to their clients as quickly as possible by truly integrating themselves into the fabric of the businesses they’re working with. This is especially important in the current economic climate where it is more cost effective to cater to and extract value from existing clients rather than to chase business, and is particularly valuable for marketing agencies catering to SMBs, given their slim margins.”
The main reasons SMBs cited for switching their marketing providers were not enough ROI (68%), their in-house team not having the ability to make the most of the services (20%), and because they didn’t feel the provider was a true partner (17%).
Yet despite this high churn, 52% of SMBs that outsource marketing services expect their budget to grow in the next year. Currently, 80% of SMBs who outsource marketing services spend up to $3,000 every month, with 15% spending up to $6,000 per month.
“SMBs today want more from their marketing agencies. From mobile payments to appointment scheduling to client management, agencies need to provide their SMB clients with value-adding services that go beyond their usual offerings, enabling SMBs to view agencies as a true strategic partner, reducing churn and increasing engagement and long-term loyalty,” said Itzik Levy, CEO and founder of vcita.
Additional findings include:
- Lead Generation and SEO: While there tends to be high churn for paid search advertising and social media marketing, the report revealed that lead capture suppliers, lead nurture suppliers, and SEO agencies experience relatively low churn at around 2.5% each. These areas are essential to the immediate success of a business, their results are easier to measure, and they require a certain degree of expertise to execute, explaining the low churn rate.
- Digital Marketing is Key: Most SMBs are looking to establish a web, social media, and email marketing presence. Of the SMBs that decided to outsource marketing activities in the last year, 23% invested in paid search advertising, 19.4% in social media management, 16.6% in email marketing management, 15.4% in paid social media marketing, and 15.2% in web development.
- 2024 Goals: SMBs main marketing goals for the next year are to drive sales (29%), retain clients (17%), and increase brand awareness (15%).
About the survey: Over 500 small-to-medium sized business owners in the United States were surveyed online in early June 2023. The SMBs surveyed operate in diverse industries and the businesses range from solopreneur ventures to operations of upwards of 20 people.
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