Too Many SMEs Choosing Amateur Approach To Growing Their Business, Says Research


The lack of experience, training and qualifications in marketing means many business owners are taking a chance on amateur marketing, rather than professional effective marketing.
CIM Survey

CIM Survey 1st September 2015

A recent Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM) survey found that only a quarter of small and medium businesses (SMEs) have staff with a formal marketing qualification. And, only 13% have marketing specialists on board.

The key points emerging from this research on the state of marketing amongst SMEs are:

  • 41% of companies lack general marketing skills.
  • 30% have no specific marketing experience.
  • Only 24% hold formal marketing qualifications.

This strikes a chord with my experience. The recession, marketing cutbacks and low cost or free marketing channels like social media have dumbed down marketing. I’m amazed how many people in marketing positions have little understanding of marketing, and, at best, only know about a small number of marketing communications channels. They certainly don’t understand marketing strategy.

But, what do we mean by ‘marketing’?

The questions generates different responses and often some confusion.

Marketing is a philosophy of business that places the customer at the centre of the universe.

Professor Peter Doyle marketing guru who taught me on the Warwick MBA many years ago! 13th May 2015

Marketing should not be confused with advertising, PR, sales, having a website or doing social media. These are just communication channels or promotional techniques.

A business must sell its products and services to survive and grow. Pursuing a clear marketing strategy is essential for driving the sales of an organization’s products and services. See Confused about Marketing?

Some SMEs Don’t Even Monitor Their Customers’ Needs

What’s concerning is that some SMEs don’t regularly research their customers needs, the essence of marketing – or understand the importance of innovation, which is essential to keeping ahead of competitors:

  • 27% of SMEs don’t actively explore their customers needs and expectations in relation to their products and services.
  • 43% of SMEs don’t believe innovation is the key to the success of their business.

Johnston Press and BuzzBoard have found:

  • 44% of small businesses do not have a website,
  • 71% are not mobile ready, and
  • 69% do not use Twitter.

So, even free or low-cost tools such as social media are not being used to their advantage.

Despite this amateur view of marketing, nearly three quarters of all SMEs still expect to grow.

How will they achieve that without understanding and executing a considered marketing strategy? To grow and beat their competition, more SMEs need to adopt professional marketing.

My take on these results is that small businesses need good marketing to deliver their growth ambitions; yet only 7% are seeking the support they need to take their business to new heights.
Anne Godfrey, CEO at CIM

Anne Godfrey, CEO at CIM 1st September 2015

If your business might need some professional marketing, you could start with a free Real Marketing Audit or a free Real Web & SEO Review. Please contact Christopher Lamotte on 01620 825751, 07957 870071 or