What Types of Digital Marketing Help Do SMBs Use?

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As part of the ritual of examining local commerce and SMB SaaS strategies, Localogy goes right to the source: SMBs themselves. How do they feel about marketing and operational software? What features do they want? And how has their hunger changed in a pandemic? This is all a moving target.

Localogy’s Modern Commerce Monitor (MCM) answers these website dynamics questions across SMB SaaS, which we preview in this Benchmark Bytes series. After examining SMB adoption rates for digital marketing services last week, we go deeper this week into the types of services and agencies they use.

Specifically, have SMBs increased their software usage during and after the pandemic? And have they started working with specific software providers versus taking a DIY approach? This question can have wide-reaching applicability to SMB operational functions but here is mostly about digital marketing.

Localogy members can access full charts and SMB survey reports. Non-members can purchase reports

Data Dive

Going deeper, a few insights jump out from these findings.

– 56 percent of SMBs have started to staff up or seek outside help for digital marketing needs.

– Among those, the largest group (35 percent) use freelancers or independent contractors.

 – The second largest group (28 percent) uses in-house production.

– 25 percent of respondents meanwhile use digital agencies and 12 percent answered “other.”

– These results are somewhat surprising in that agencies scored relatively low on the list.

– Then again, independent contractors are generally less costly than agencies, so they’re SMB budget-friendly.

– Using in-house production also makes sense because it leans on sunk costs in existing employees.

– Regardless of these different approaches, the common thread is that these SMBs have all started to seek help to fulfill their digital marketing needs during the Covid era.

–The big question is if that Covid-induced adoption sustains into the Post-Covid era, thus representing permanent new SMB habits.

– Anecdotally, we’ve observed that many SMBs that picked up new skills and competency during the pandemic didn’t stop using those new tools as Covid recedes.

– We’ll host a panel discussion at L23 in April on this topic of the “New Face of SMBs.”

The New Face of SMBs: A Conversation with Yelp

Time to Shine

Stepping back, SMB online marketing – website-based or otherwise – continues to grow rapidly.  SMB SaaS startups and online services providers are correspondingly thriving as it continues to grow as a leading subsector of the broader SaaS universe. There’s a long-tail opportunity at play.

Meanwhile, new SMB SaaS users could represent permanent adopters. This is a concept that’s accelerated in the Covid era as SMBs are forced to boost their digital transformation. This sends them into the arms of SaaS providers to accomplish a range of marketing and operational functions.

We’ll return in the next installment to go deeper into Localogy original survey research. That will include SMB goals and success factors. Let us know what additional insights jump out at you from the above data. Stay tuned for more breakdowns in our Benchmark Bytes series.

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