Advertising, Direct Mail, Social Media and Email Most Commonly Used Channels
STAMFORD, Conn., May 20, 2011 - The majority of small businesses, 76 percent, agree their ideal marketing mix includes a combination of physical and digital communications, according to a new survey released by Pitney Bowes Inc. (NYSE: PBI) Nearly three quarters surveyed, 72 percent, say they would do more of it if they had the right customer communications management tools.
More than half say they are choosing new channels, such as email, 68 percent, and social media, 54 percent, because they are found to be cost effective in communicating information to their current and potential customers as compared to all other options. Not surprisingly, more than half say they cannot get further engaged in multi-channel communications due to limited resources and time, 51 percent.
Overall, the most popular marketing tool used currently by respondents is email, 68 percent. In the last year, the most popular new channel being added by small business owners is social media, with 20 percent of those surveyed just beginning to use it; 12 percent added mobile marketing. The newest tool to enter the marketing mix is Quick Response (QR) codes which have become increasingly visible in recent months. While some respondents acknowledge a lack of understanding and perceived complexity toward them, among those using them, almost half are using them on their business cards, 45 percent, and integrating them in direct mail, 44 percent.
“Small business owners are increasingly challenged to effectively communicate with their customers and prospects in ways they want to be reached. As a result, businesses are recognizing the requirement, and opportunity, of adding new customer communications channels. However, they need tools that are easy to implement and more information on how to use them to help build their business. They need guidance in managing those tools, and confidence that they will see a return on their investment,” said Debra Thompson-Van, Vice President, Marketing, Pitney Bowes. “Our focus is on providing them the tools and guidance needed to get them passed those hurdles and effectively manage their customer communications.”
“We know that customers do find value in connecting to their customers how they want to be communicated with,” Thompson-Van added, “Companies are discovering that a combination of marketing channels is most effective in reaching prospects and customers.”
Survey results also find that while email and advertising are what respondents use most often (68 percent most often use email and 60 percent most often use advertising), social media, with 50 percent, and direct mail, with 44 percent, and are neck and neck for third place.
The results are an indication that traditional and new digital marketing methods are co-existing to create effective campaigns. The findings say 58 percent of small businesses surveyed use multi-channel marketing. Business owners are integrating various channels in order to properly serve the needs of their wide range of customers though there continue to be barriers to integration for many.
Pitney Bowes’s pbSmart family of products is about making these solutions easy and accessible for small businesses. The pbSmart suite includes pbSmart™ Connections, an easy to use, customizable email solution that can deliver marketing messages through social media and mobile channels, and pbSmartPostage™, a cloud-based parcel shipping and mailing solution for by remote workers and small businesses that allows a customer to print stamps and labels for packages anytime, anywhere.
About Pitney Bowes:
Delivering more than 90 years of innovation, Pitney Bowes provides software, hardware and services that integrate physical and digital communications channels. Long known for making its customers more productive, Pitney Bowes is increasingly helping other companies grow their business through advanced customer communications management. Pitney Bowes is a $5.4 billion company and employs 30,000 worldwide. Pitney Bowes: Every connection is a new opportunity™. www.pb.com
About the Survey:
From April 20th to April 27th 2011, an online survey was conducted among a randomly selected, representative sample of 500 American adults that are business owners with 1-99 other employees, and who are Springboard America panel members. The margin of error which measures sampling variability is ±4.4%, 19 times out of 20. Discrepancies in or between totals are due to rounding.