SME marketing budgets for 2014 have been, on average, 20% more than they were for 2013., according to new research.
The study, from Optimus Performance Marketing, found that of the companies polled, the majority have increased the number of employees working in their marketing department over the past twelve months.
After noticing an increase in the amount of in-house marketing jobs advertised within businesses in recent months, the researchers decided to investigate further and discover how much emphasis smaller and medium sized enterprises are putting on growing their marketing departments.
When carrying out their research, the team polled a total of 1,149 SME owners throughout the UK in order to analyse the current amount of focus being places on marketing budgets compared to this time last year.
Each SME involved in the research employed 20 or more individuals and was established at least five years ago.
Business owners were initially asked to reveal how their marketing budget in 2014 compared to 2013. The majority of respondents (59%) revealed that their marketing budgets had increased within the past twelve months, whilst 31% admitted that budgets had remained the same, and just 10% stated their budgets had lessened.
When asked to reveal the approximate increase in 2013’s budget compared to how much they are spending this year, the average increase was revealed by relevant respondents as 19.5%.
The 59% of business owners whose budgets had increased were then asked to reveal what they believed were the main reasons for the increase in marketing budgets for the year, with the most popular answers emerging as follows:
1. Overall increased emphasis on the power of digital/social media for the company in 2014- (43%)
2. An increase of commissioning externally outsourced marketing tasks to other businesses and freelancers- (28%)
3. Higher number of employees working in the marketing department and the creation of brand new digital roles- (17%)
4. More strategic planning of marketing plans with longer-lead goals and targets- (14%)
5. Cost of training existing employees in new online/digital skills and qualifications- (7%)
The number of employees currently working for each SME owner polled emerged as around 92.5, with an average of 7 individuals working within the company’s marketing or communications function.
Mark Russell, Managing Director at Optimus Performance Marketing, made the following comments about the results of the study: “Whilst in previous years, it may have seemed risky or ambitious for SME’s to invest substantial amounts of finances in a marketing spend, it seems from our results that the tables have now turned and marketing, particularly online marketing and social media, is an area with huge growth potential across a plethora of SME industries.”
He continued: “Increasing marketing budgets is all well and good, but without a clear understanding of all target markets and the ability to develop appropriate marketing strategies there will be a limited chance of increased future success and expansion.”