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Two-thirds of UK SME owners will increase marketing spend this year

The average small business owner will dedicate around 16% of their annual budget for 2018/19 to marketing, according to a poll by affilinet. 

The research shows as many as 51% of business owners have decided to up their marketing budget after seeing direct competitors in their industry witness high levels of return on marketing spend.

The poll of almost 1400 SME owners in the UK, who set up their businesses at least five years ago, asked respondents to state how important marketing was to help the continued growth of their business during 2017/18. Over 60% of respondents stated: “It’s something that we dedicated spend towards, but it was not our core focus”, with 12% admitting they had "neglected" marketing.

When asked about the business year 2018/19, some 67% of SME owners agreed they would be dedicating more resource to marketing activity than in previous years, with social media marketing and content marketing being highest on their list of marketing elements to invest in.

Why is marketing spend increasing?

As well as keeping up with competitors, 32% of small businesses attributed the increase in marketing spend to having had “a successful year and [being able to] dedicate more annual spend to marketing”, with 28% expressing concern that without having modern marketing practices in place, they believe their company would suffer.

Rick Leake, client services director at affilinet, said: “SME budgets can be tight, but the need to implement a strong and clear marketing strategy is especially important as many small business owners can get caught up with daily marketing activities without keeping track of the bigger, long-term picture.”

What does this mean for B2B marketers?

The perceived benefit of small business owners upping their marketing spend is an increased demand for marketing products and services from B2B companies.

However, with 90% of brands admitting struggling to identify and connect with small business decision-makers, the mere fact small businesses are increasing budgets isn't enough for marketers looking to engage with them – they still need to learn how to target and build relationships with them effectively.

Think Small: How to market to small businesses

In this marketing success pack, B2B Marketing and Earnest offer advice, opinion and first-hand experiences of targeting and engaging small businesses owners.

Learn how to target small business owners

 Think Small: How to market to small businesses