Small businesses losing money from lack of marketing

Small businesses in the UK are collectively losing up to £122 billion a year in sales due to insufficient marketing.

Although most (87%) small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) recognise that marketing has a positive impact on sales, they are failing to maximise on its potential due to lack of time and resources, according to new research carried out by the Centre for Economics and Business Research (Cebr) on behalf of mail equipment and communications company Pitney Bowes.

The research also found that the average small business is only achieving 39% of its planned marketing activity. Yet when business owners were asked to predict the sales impact produced by increased marketing activity, results showed a growth of 9.2%.

Three-quarters (77%) of small and medium sized businesses recognised that marketing is important to the success of their business, however a third rate their efforts over the last six months at below five out of 10, with 11% admitting to doing none of the marketing they had planned.

When asked what stopped them from meeting their marketing goals, SME owners cited time (21%) and money (36%) as two of the biggest hurdles.

Prioritisation was also an issue as the average owner said they juggle seven different roles on a daily basis and admitted that buying stationery was a bigger priority than marketing.

More established SMEs, which had been running for 25 years or more, were closest to achieving planned levels of marketing, with 31% saying they had achieved their marketing plan.