Email Commands Largest Share of SMB Marketing Budgets

Vocus-SMB-Marketing-Budget-Mix-Channel-Confidence-Feb2013Email marketing captures an average 15% of SMB marketing budgets, according to a soon-to-be released study from Vocus, conducted by Edge Research. Email edges events and trade shows (13%) and person-to-person contact (12%) as the top marketing expenditure for SMBs, with traditional media such as outdoor (3%), radio (4%), and TV (5%) ads getting the smallest pieces of the pie. But while email commands the highest share of budgets across all SMB sizes, the extent to which it is relied on varies, most likely due to its cost.

For example, as the study notes, email has a lower cost than other activities, so it’s more likely to be relied on by smaller SMBs. Indeed, email accounts for 18% share of budgets for businesses with revenues of less than $5 million, compared to 12% for those with revenues between $30 and $50 million. More expensive channels such as TV advertising, by contrast, get a much bigger share of the pie at the largest SMBs (8%) than at the smallest (2%).

The study seems to show that marketing budgets follow marketers’ confidence in their abilities to master the various channels. For example, looking at the percentage of respondents who are at least somewhat confident in their ability to maximize the channel’s potential, person-to-person contact (80%), email marketing (78%), and events/trade shows (72%) head the list. These are also the top 3 by budget share. On the other end, radio ads (37%), outdoor ads (38%), and TV ads (38%) appear at the bottom of the confidence ratings, and get the smallest share of budgets.

Given their confidence in their email marketing abilities, it’s not too surprising that 56% of the SMBs surveyed plan to increase their use of email marketing, second only to social media (60%). A separate survey conducted last year by Vocus also found social media to be an area of growing use among SMBs.

About the Data: The data is derived from a survey conducted online from October 24-November 5, 2012, among 601 email marketing decision-makers at small to medium sized organizations. Respondents were screened across the following criteria:

  • Corporation, government agency, or non-profit;
  • Annual revenue between $1 million and $50 million, with completes in the $1-$15 million range limited to 200;
  • No more than 1,000 total employees;
  • Have some role in decisions made about email marketing;
  • Have some knowledge of how the marketing budget is distributed;
  • Company or organization has their own email list and an email service provider.