Websites Viewed as Most Effective Marketing Method by SMBs, However Challenges Are Prevalent.

According to our latest Local Pulse Survey on 1,021 SMBs, websites were viewed as the most effective media followed by social media, and yellow pages (Figure 1). This is great news for marketing service providers that are selling websites as the foundation for additional digital products and services. In fact, according to the SMBs surveyed, 37% stated they were going to increase their budgets for websites over the next twelve months followed by Search and Social Media (Figure 2). While this is positive, challenges still remain particularly around the loyalty of SMBs to current website providers.

 

Figure 1- Marketing Methods that have been Most Effective for SMBs

 

Thrive Analytics
Thrive Analytics- Local Pulse Survey 2013

 

Figure 2- SMB Planned Change in Media Spend Over Next 12 Months

 

Thrive Analytics
Thrive Analytics- Local Pulse Survey 2013

 

 

We gauged the SMB’s loyalty to current Website providers via the standard “intent to recommend” Net Promoter question. When the results were compiled, the website provider’s Net Promoter Scores® ranged from a -57 to +15 with an overall average of -25 (Figure 3). This indicates there are more detractors, who tarnish your image and readily switch to competitors, than promoters, who help generate profitable growth. Several factors contribute to the overall low scores, including no or limited contact from current providers, poor results, and lack of customization (See report). These low scores have contributed to high expected churn rates with 40% of SMBs expecting to change providers within the next 12 months.

 

 

Figure 3- Net Promoter Score® Ranges for SMB Website Providers

 

Thrive Analytics
Thrive Analytics- Local Pulse Survey 2013

 

 

 

So what can be done?
Turning over 40% of your customer base annually puts a tremendous amount of pressure on the performance of an organization. In fact, on average it costs 10X more to acquire a new customer than it does to retain a customer. Focusing on creating loyal customers and engendering it as the DNA of your culture is the best path toward sustainable growth. To get started, website providers/resellers should seriously consider implementing a Net Promoter system in their business if they don’t currently have one. If they do have one, they should look at the results and consider having an outside organization audit their current program to ensure they are fully operationalizing the feedback. Second, they should use the results from the attribute map (see report) to enhance their services or survey their own customer base and create a map for themselves. Attribute mapping allows an organization to more easily prioritize precious resources towards those features or services most likely to wow, delight, or generate positive perceptions of quality, while withholding additional outlays on features or services that are either neutral or less likely to promote dissatisfaction if absent. Third, they should conduct root cause analysis on promoters and detractors to gauge what is working and what isn’t. Make changes to address issues and follow-up with customers within 48hrs. Finally, you can’t manage what you don’t measure. Incorporate the Net Promoter Score® into your CEO dashboard and measure everyone by it.

 

Jason Peaslee

Jason Peaslee is the Managing Partner of Thrive Analytics, a marketing research and analytics consulting firm. His career spans more than 20 years in marketing, advertising, product development, research, and business management. Before founding Thrive Analytics in 2010, he held several senior leadership roles at AT&T, Reynolds & Reynolds, Berry Network, & The Berry Company.

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