SMBs Attitudes Toward Online Marketing, 2013 vs 2014 [CHART]

Three-quarters of small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) in North America said digital marketing was effective for attracting customers, according to a November 2014 study by BrightLocal, and 37% planned to spend more on digital in the next 12 months. However, a lack of skill sets, budget and time could prevent advancements from happening.

When asked about their attitudes toward digital marketing, the percentage of SMBs who understood it and were able to execute it on their own fell 11 percentage points between 2013 and 2014, from 40% to 29%. A close 28% were taking steps to learn about digital marketing, though, in order to be able to do it themselves—but again, they weren’t yet.

Meanwhile, the percentages of those who wanted to do digital marketing but faced hurdles rose across the board. More respondents cited budget (17%) and time (10%) restraints than did the year before. Interestingly, despite budget issues, SMBs were slightly more open to paying a marketing expert to handle digital for their firms; saving time may be a little more important than spending a few extra dollars when running a business.

Other results indicated that some SMBs had acted on this preference. While 64% of respondents handled digital marketing in-house, this was down from 68% in 2013. Fully 18% of respondents reported using a consultancy or agency in 2014, up from 15% the prior year. Read the rest at eMarketer.