Small Business Owners reveal most Profitable Marketing Tactics


Almost three quarters of SMEs say face-to-face marketing wins them new business, making it the most popular promotional channel according to a new online survey.

  • Face-to-face marketing is the most lucrative promotional channel, according to small business owners.
  • Embracing the power of online, with a huge 67% of SMEs citing this as a marketing channel that wins them business.
  • Dark horse of this race, seizing the third spot when it came to the most profitable marketing tactics.
  • A study on the most popular marketing tactics has found that a good old-fashioned one-on-one beats new age marketing platforms any day.
  • The research, conducted by Display Wizard, follows the Santander Corporate and Commercial 2015 Business Growth Survey, which revealed that SMEs are looking forward to a 37% increase in turnover during the next five years.
  • 10,000 business owners were asked which promotional channels win them business, and a massive 71% of all respondents revealed that face-to-face marketing makes them money.

If it ain’t broke

  • The online survey shed light on the popularity of traditional networking – a format that appears to have stood the test of time with small business owners.
  • With an incredible 71% of SMEs endorsing the efficacy of this age-old tactic, the results of the study suggest modern marketing channels are struggling to compete with the primal power of face to face exchanges.

The Google gravy train

  • Unsurprisingly, online marketing come in a close second – bringing in a sizeable 67% of the overall SME vote.
  • Thanks to a breadth of available strategies and an impressive ROI, online marketing is one of the most popular advertising channels – especially with Generation Y’s entrepreneurs 83% of the whom use digital tactics to win new business.

The ex(periential) factor

  • Experiential marketing is fast becoming a favourite promotional channel – with a substantial 38% of business owners surveyed revealing that attending events wins them business.
  • Female entrepreneurs in particular swear by event marketing as a means of finding new customers and clients, as almost 50% of female business owners surveyed gave their vote to this tactics.
  • Bringing together the unique benefits of face-to-face, print media and social media marketing, events are the multipurpose marketing tactics taking the small business world by storm.
  • In light of this increasing popularity, it looks like small businesses are stepping up their event marketing budgets – with 34% of SMEs revealing that they plan to up their investment this marketing channel in 2016, 10% of whom will increase events budgets by 50%.

Some industry professionals have had their say on why events are fast becoming a popular marketing tactics:

What makes event marketing such a powerful channel? For me, it’s the impact of conveying enthusiasm and expertise. A strong combination. – Alastair Humphreys, Motivational Speaker and Adventurer.

Events are a huge marketing opportunity because they can cast a wide net across attendees who may be attracted for many reasons, be it entertainment, education, networking, or career prospects. Your product can then be presented to a captive, targeted, engaged audience and the brand will become synonymous with the success of the event. – Elliott Clarke, Clear and Loud PA Hire.

Events are a really great way to share key information, meet other people (which is often missed in digital world) and focus the mind for the day. – Lynsey Sweales, SocialB.

Honourable mentions

  • Other popular channels backed in the survey included print media and radio – scooping 34% and 19% of the SME vote, respectively – suggesting that some of history’s most prominent advertising strategies have secured a place in the modern marketing toolbox.
  • A number of the survey’s respondents gave honourable mentions to other lead generation tactics they felt deserved a shout-out – with popular answers including referrals and good old-fashioned word of mouth.
  • Across the boards, SMEs have endorsed marketing tactics founded on candid communication – with expressed support for the channels which revolve around direct contact, personal connections and a reputation for superior service.

Survey breakdown

Which marketing channels won SMEs business in 2015?

  • Face to face networking – 71%
  • Online marketing – 66.7%
  • Events – 38.4%
  • Print media – 34.1%
  • Radio – 18.8%
  • Other – 2.9%

Source from DisplayWizard