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Customer Survey How Has Covid Affected SME Marketing in 2020?
1 Dec 2020
 

Customer Survey How Has Covid Affected SME Marketing in 2020?

 

Customer Survey How Has Covid Affected SME Marketing in 2020?

1 Dec 2020
How-Covid-affected-marketing-in-uk

Last month, we launched our first-ever nationwide customer survey of UK SMEs to find out exactly how the Covid-19 pandemic has affected their businesses and their marketing – and how they plan to recover in 2021.

And the response has been incredible.

We had 1,160 customers respond to our survey – and after gathering the data and crunching the numbers, we’re ready to share our insights with businesses all over the world.

Ready to learn more? Let’s get the bad news out of the way first, here’s what 1,160 businesses had to say:

We’ve seen some huge cuts in marketing during 2020…

It should come as no surprise that SMEs have been rethinking their budgets this year.

As sales slowed down and the climate looked uncertain, plenty of businesses began to tighten their wallets in preparation for the potential disaster ahead.

But when times are tough, there are usually two schools of thought in terms of marketing. You can either curb your spending and ride out the storm – or keep on pushing to compensate for a period of slow sales.

And these two schools of thought seem to be evenly represented in our survey of 1,160 SMEs.

1-made-cuts-to-marketing

Just over half (56.3%) of UK businesses made cuts to their marketing budgets this year – which means just under half kept their marketing budgets the same (or increased them).

For the most part, they were significant cuts – with more than half of businesses slashing their budgets by 50% or more, and only 8.5% making no cuts to their marketing budgets.

how-big-were-maketing-cutsSo why were so many businesses making such huge cuts to their budgets?

In most cases, this could be a simple case of cash flow problems (mixed in with a bit of bad luck!).

Back in late December or early January, no one could have predicted the oncoming pandemic. And any business that wasn’t sitting on a healthy bank balance at the time would have felt the pressure to take drastic action to ensure their survival.

reduce-sales-people

But despite so many businesses making huge cuts to their marketing budgets, a resounding 100% of businesses said they’d been able to keep all of their salespeople employed – without a single redundancy or reduction in the team.

…But we’re ready to bounce back

With so many businesses feeling forced to cut down on their spending, you might expect UK SMEs to be dreading their recovery.

more-marketig-spend-2021

But according to our survey, nearly 70% of businesses are planning to start spending again once the situation improves.

marketing-budget-2021

Digging deeper into the details, we found more than half (56.3%) were planning to restore their entire pre-pandemic budget – and more than 86% are planning to bring back at least half of their old marketing budget.

So while we’ve all been feeling the pressures of the pandemic, the vast majority of us are already looking forward – and preparing ourselves for a speedy recovery once the pandemic starts to show signs of improvement.

We’ve been trying new things…

If there’s one thing that didn’t surprise us from the results of our survey, it’s this:

suffering-marketing-channels-2020

Unsurprisingly, a whopping 77% of UK SMEs said that face-to-face sales was the marketing channel that had suffered the most this year.

And naturally, that’s led to businesses all over the country diving head-first into new marketing avenues, exploring their options and experimenting with new ideas to replace those face-to-face sales.

which-marketing-channels-used-2020

As you’d expect, we’ve seen a huge number of businesses shifting more towards online marketing, with almost 90% of SMEs focusing more on email, social media, and PPC marketing this year

Almost two thirds (62.5%) of UK businesses were using email marketing, and 60% were using social media marketing – both of which were changes made as a ‘socially distanced’ response to the ongoing pandemic.

specific-due-to-covid-marketing

But we’ve also seen a huge number of people gravitating towards more physical marketing tools (like printed brochures and leaflets).

which-marketing-tools-used-2020

While face-to-face interactions were massively down this year, 25% of UK businesses were using brochures and leaflets in direct mail campaigns – and a significant 26.4% started using direct mail for the first time in response to the pandemic.

new-marketing-initiatives-during-covid

So what does that mean?

It means that today’s SMEs are more agile than ever. When one marketing channel starts to fail, they’re leaping straight into alternatives – and getting their promotions into the hands of their audiences through non-contact means, such as direct mail.

…And we’ve seen promising new results

Despite the huge cuts in spending we’ve seen with SME marketing this year, it’s also been a huge year for pushing new sales.

extra-time-spent-marketing

More than 62% of businesses have spent more time on sales and lead generation than they did in 2019 – and almost 70% have seen a noticeable improvement in their revenue as a result.

The vast majority of SMEs (87.5%) listed online marketing as their most profitable channel – a result that shouldn’t be surprising with the low costs and low barriers to entry that come with social media and email marketing.

But what might surprise you is the number of people who discovered the value of direct mail:

best-roi-for-marketingA significant 12.5% of UK SMEs listed direct mail as the marketing channel that gave them the highest ROI (Return on Investment).

We’ve learned a lot from the pandemic…

It’s been a rough year for most of us – and that’s an understatement.

But despite all of the challenges and setbacks, it’s been a year where thousands of businesses are discovering just how important marketing can be.

marketing-more-importantOut of 1,160 UK businesses, 75% said the pandemic had made marketing more important to their business than before, with only 13% saying it made no difference.

So why has Covid-19 had such a huge impact on marketing for SMEs?

In most cases, it’s because tough times call for renewed efforts. When sales start slipping, that’s the time you need marketing the most: you need a stronger push, a wider reach, and bold steps forward into new channels and methods.

But what about the other 25%? Those who thought the pandemic made marketing less important or the same?

It could be that they were lucky enough to be in businesses that weren’t affected much – like those selling purely online, or those selling essential everyday products.

(Or it could be down to businesses where demand grew in the pandemic. If you were selling hand soap, face masks, or home office equipment, you might have seen your sales grow, even after cutting your marketing budget.)

…And we’re more optimistic than ever

We’ve talked a lot about the setbacks and the challenges of a difficult year. But there’s one sentiment in particular that rose to the surface during our survey – and that’s how ready we all are for a promising new year.

are-you-optimistic-about-business-2021

 

An overwhelming 81% of UK SMEs are optimistic about sales in 2021.

will-you-spend-more-in-2021

More than 75% of businesses are planning to spend more time on sales and lead generation next year – 31.3% are planning to do it regardless of whether the pandemic situation improves.

A sizeable 39% planning to continue their newfound success with direct mail.

social-distancing-marketing-after-covid

A cautious 12.5 % will be hiring new salespeople, which is understandable as money will be tight and it maybe too risky for most..

hiring-new-salespeople-2021

with a resounding 96.4% planning to increase their marketing budget in 2021 compared to 2020.

View and download the whole Infographic here>

20-planning-to-increase-marketing-2021

So if you’re one of the thousands of businesses who spent most of this year looking forward to a brighter future, just know you’re not alone.

Because with this many UK SMEs taking charge of their prospects with a focused and optimistic new thirst for success, we could see 2021 being one of the most rewarding years for business we’ve seen in a long time.

View whole infographic here>

Download infographic here>

Ready to grow your business in 2021?

We’ve all learned a lot this year – for better or worse. But if there’s one thing our survey has taught us, it’s that 2021 is going to be a huge year for recovery and growth.

So if you’re looking to make the most of your marketing budget in the year ahead, give us a Call: 01952 850730 or Email us here – and we’ll help you find the best ways to reach new customers (without breaking the bank).





Get a feel for what we do!

Our FREE sample packs are full of great print ideas. They’ll give you a taste of what to expect when ordering your design and printing from us.

Request free sample pack

 

How-Covid-affected-marketing-in-uk

Last month, we launched our first-ever nationwide customer survey of UK SMEs to find out exactly how the Covid-19 pandemic has affected their businesses and their marketing – and how they plan to recover in 2021.

And the response has been incredible.

We had 1,160 customers respond to our survey – and after gathering the data and crunching the numbers, we’re ready to share our insights with businesses all over the world.

Ready to learn more? Let’s get the bad news out of the way first, here’s what 1,160 businesses had to say:

We’ve seen some huge cuts in marketing during 2020…

It should come as no surprise that SMEs have been rethinking their budgets this year.

As sales slowed down and the climate looked uncertain, plenty of businesses began to tighten their wallets in preparation for the potential disaster ahead.

But when times are tough, there are usually two schools of thought in terms of marketing. You can either curb your spending and ride out the storm – or keep on pushing to compensate for a period of slow sales.

And these two schools of thought seem to be evenly represented in our survey of 1,160 SMEs.

1-made-cuts-to-marketing

Just over half (56.3%) of UK businesses made cuts to their marketing budgets this year – which means just under half kept their marketing budgets the same (or increased them).

For the most part, they were significant cuts – with more than half of businesses slashing their budgets by 50% or more, and only 8.5% making no cuts to their marketing budgets.

how-big-were-maketing-cutsSo why were so many businesses making such huge cuts to their budgets?

In most cases, this could be a simple case of cash flow problems (mixed in with a bit of bad luck!).

Back in late December or early January, no one could have predicted the oncoming pandemic. And any business that wasn’t sitting on a healthy bank balance at the time would have felt the pressure to take drastic action to ensure their survival.

reduce-sales-people

But despite so many businesses making huge cuts to their marketing budgets, a resounding 100% of businesses said they’d been able to keep all of their salespeople employed – without a single redundancy or reduction in the team.

…But we’re ready to bounce back

With so many businesses feeling forced to cut down on their spending, you might expect UK SMEs to be dreading their recovery.

more-marketig-spend-2021

But according to our survey, nearly 70% of businesses are planning to start spending again once the situation improves.

marketing-budget-2021

Digging deeper into the details, we found more than half (56.3%) were planning to restore their entire pre-pandemic budget – and more than 86% are planning to bring back at least half of their old marketing budget.

So while we’ve all been feeling the pressures of the pandemic, the vast majority of us are already looking forward – and preparing ourselves for a speedy recovery once the pandemic starts to show signs of improvement.

We’ve been trying new things…

If there’s one thing that didn’t surprise us from the results of our survey, it’s this:

suffering-marketing-channels-2020

Unsurprisingly, a whopping 77% of UK SMEs said that face-to-face sales was the marketing channel that had suffered the most this year.

And naturally, that’s led to businesses all over the country diving head-first into new marketing avenues, exploring their options and experimenting with new ideas to replace those face-to-face sales.

which-marketing-channels-used-2020

As you’d expect, we’ve seen a huge number of businesses shifting more towards online marketing, with almost 90% of SMEs focusing more on email, social media, and PPC marketing this year

Almost two thirds (62.5%) of UK businesses were using email marketing, and 60% were using social media marketing – both of which were changes made as a ‘socially distanced’ response to the ongoing pandemic.

specific-due-to-covid-marketing

But we’ve also seen a huge number of people gravitating towards more physical marketing tools (like printed brochures and leaflets).

which-marketing-tools-used-2020

While face-to-face interactions were massively down this year, 25% of UK businesses were using brochures and leaflets in direct mail campaigns – and a significant 26.4% started using direct mail for the first time in response to the pandemic.

new-marketing-initiatives-during-covid

So what does that mean?

It means that today’s SMEs are more agile than ever. When one marketing channel starts to fail, they’re leaping straight into alternatives – and getting their promotions into the hands of their audiences through non-contact means, such as direct mail.

…And we’ve seen promising new results

Despite the huge cuts in spending we’ve seen with SME marketing this year, it’s also been a huge year for pushing new sales.

extra-time-spent-marketing

More than 62% of businesses have spent more time on sales and lead generation than they did in 2019 – and almost 70% have seen a noticeable improvement in their revenue as a result.

The vast majority of SMEs (87.5%) listed online marketing as their most profitable channel – a result that shouldn’t be surprising with the low costs and low barriers to entry that come with social media and email marketing.

But what might surprise you is the number of people who discovered the value of direct mail:

best-roi-for-marketingA significant 12.5% of UK SMEs listed direct mail as the marketing channel that gave them the highest ROI (Return on Investment).

We’ve learned a lot from the pandemic…

It’s been a rough year for most of us – and that’s an understatement.

But despite all of the challenges and setbacks, it’s been a year where thousands of businesses are discovering just how important marketing can be.

marketing-more-importantOut of 1,160 UK businesses, 75% said the pandemic had made marketing more important to their business than before, with only 13% saying it made no difference.

So why has Covid-19 had such a huge impact on marketing for SMEs?

In most cases, it’s because tough times call for renewed efforts. When sales start slipping, that’s the time you need marketing the most: you need a stronger push, a wider reach, and bold steps forward into new channels and methods.

But what about the other 25%? Those who thought the pandemic made marketing less important or the same?

It could be that they were lucky enough to be in businesses that weren’t affected much – like those selling purely online, or those selling essential everyday products.

(Or it could be down to businesses where demand grew in the pandemic. If you were selling hand soap, face masks, or home office equipment, you might have seen your sales grow, even after cutting your marketing budget.)

…And we’re more optimistic than ever

We’ve talked a lot about the setbacks and the challenges of a difficult year. But there’s one sentiment in particular that rose to the surface during our survey – and that’s how ready we all are for a promising new year.

are-you-optimistic-about-business-2021

 

An overwhelming 81% of UK SMEs are optimistic about sales in 2021.

will-you-spend-more-in-2021

More than 75% of businesses are planning to spend more time on sales and lead generation next year – 31.3% are planning to do it regardless of whether the pandemic situation improves.

A sizeable 39% planning to continue their newfound success with direct mail.

social-distancing-marketing-after-covid

A cautious 12.5 % will be hiring new salespeople, which is understandable as money will be tight and it maybe too risky for most..

hiring-new-salespeople-2021

with a resounding 96.4% planning to increase their marketing budget in 2021 compared to 2020.

View and download the whole Infographic here>

20-planning-to-increase-marketing-2021

So if you’re one of the thousands of businesses who spent most of this year looking forward to a brighter future, just know you’re not alone.

Because with this many UK SMEs taking charge of their prospects with a focused and optimistic new thirst for success, we could see 2021 being one of the most rewarding years for business we’ve seen in a long time.

View whole infographic here>

Download infographic here>

Ready to grow your business in 2021?

We’ve all learned a lot this year – for better or worse. But if there’s one thing our survey has taught us, it’s that 2021 is going to be a huge year for recovery and growth.

So if you’re looking to make the most of your marketing budget in the year ahead, give us a Call: 01952 850730 or Email us here – and we’ll help you find the best ways to reach new customers (without breaking the bank).





Get a feel for what we do!

Our FREE sample packs are full of great print ideas. They’ll give you a taste of what to expect when ordering your design and printing from us.

Request free sample pack