US SMEs Set to Embrace Mobile in 2012

One fifth of US small businesses plan to up their mobile marketing spend in 2012, according to a study by market analysis firm Ad-ology Research

The companys Small Business Marketing Forecast found that 20 per cent of small business decision makers said they plan to commit more resources to mobile marketing in 2012 – up from 12 per cent who said the same this time last year. In 2009, just 2 per cent planned increased spend on mobile, says Ad-ology. 

“Marketing opportunities using mobile devices are rapidly emerging just as they did for the internet many years ago,” says C. Lee Smith, president and CEO of Ad-ology Research. “Small business owners are increasingly connected themselves and recognise mobile as a viable way to effectively and efficiently reach potential customers.” 

The Ad-ology study also found that more than 80 per cent of US small business owners have a smartphone, compared to less than half of the general population. 

Social media for small business marketing is also on the up. 10 per cent say they will not use social media in 2012, down from 24 per cent for 2011 and 39 per cent for 2010. “Improving the customer experience” was ranked at the top of the social media benefits list. “While these businesses still want social media to generate leads, they realise the importance of the conversation with consumers,” says Ad-ology. 

Facebook is ranked as the social media site most beneficial for business. Twitter, LinkedIn, and YouTube follow as the social networks with the largest gains in small business adoption from the 2011 study.

“Even the smallest businesses are putting more resources into online, and really see these newer ways of marketing as a way to reach new audiences,” says Smith. “That said, many small businesses – even ones moving into or increasing plans for online – still rely on traditional media.” 

The study also reports that nearly a quarter of small businesses plan to increase budget for daily deals, with Groupon and Living Social being the most popular providers for these services.