Jewish Marketing 101 – Merchant Circle Survey on Marketing & Social Media Trends

Jewish Marketing 101 – Merchant Circle Survey on Marketing & Social Media Trends

Merchant Circle Marketing Study

MerchantCircle Press Releases

Social Marketing Continues Meteoric Rise Among Local Businesses

New research from MerchantCircle reveals local merchants flocking to simple, free marketing methods such as social media sites, are slow to adopt mobile marketing and group buying.

Group buying gets mixed reviews: 55 percent of merchants who have offered a “daily deal” through a group buying service would not do so again

Mountain View, CA, February 15, 2011 — MerchantCircle, the largest online network of local business owners in the nation, today shared results of its quarterly Merchant Confidence Index survey of over 8,500 small and local business owners across the U.S. The data reveals that local merchants, who have very limited time and money for marketing, are gravitating towards simple, low-cost online marketing methods such as Facebook and other social media, as well as towards tried-and-true methods such as search and email marketing. The research also demonstrates that while new marketing services such as mobile marketing and group buying are generating significant buzz in the media, local merchants have yet to tap these unproven marketing methods.

“Online marketing continues to be a challenge for most local businesses, and many merchants are working with very small budgets and almost no marketing resources,” said Darren Waddell, Vice President of marketing at MerchantCircle. “The marketing methods we see gaining the most traction are therefore the ones that offer merchants simplicity, low costs and immediate results.”

Key conclusions from the survey include:

(1) Local businesses have little time or budget to devote to marketing.

According to the MerchantCircle survey data, more than half of local merchants are spending less than $2,500 a year on marketing, and 60 percent have no plans to raise their budgets this year. These merchants are also price-sensitive: one quarter of merchants cite high costs as their chief complaint about online marketing (26 percent).

Many merchants are also struggling to manage their existing programs and don’t have time to take advantage of new, unproven services, with lack of time and resources the top online marketing challenge for more than one third of merchants (37 percent).

(2) Social media are now the top marketing strategy for local businesses.

With its huge consumer adoption, ease-of-use and low barrier to entry, Facebook continues to be a popular way for merchants to market their business, with 70 percent using the social network for marketing, up from 50 percent one year ago. Facebook has now surpassed Google (66 percent) as the most widely used marketing method amongst local merchants, and is almost tied with Google search (40 percent) as one of their top three most effective marketing methods, with 37 percent rating Facebook as one of their most effective tools.

Facebook Places has benefited from this high level of adoption, soaring past Foursquare to reach a 32 percent current usage rate, with an additional 12 percent citing plans to use Facebook Places in the coming months. While Foursquare’s usage is up from just 2 percent one year ago, use of the location-based service has remained steady at about 9 percent over the past two quarters.

Twitter has also grown in popularity over the past year, with nearly 40 percent of local merchants using the microblogging platform to build awareness and community around their products and services, up from 32 percent in Q4 2009.

(3) Tried-and-true online methods trump new, unproven approaches.

With little time and budget to devote to marketing, local merchants are slow to adopt unproven technologies such as mobile marketing and group buying and are relying on more familiar methods that have delivered results. Three of the top marketing methods for local businesses — social, search and email — are also cited as being the most effective, with 36 percent putting social networking in the top three, 40 percent citing search and 36 percent choosing email marketing.

In spite of the hype around mobile marketing, less than 15 percent of merchants report doing any sort of mobile marketing or advertising, and more than half have no plans to do so in the coming months. Lack of understanding remains a huge barrier to adoption: 74 percent of merchants state that they don’t have a good idea of how to reach consumers via mobile marketing.

Group buying will also take time to penetrate the local market. Only 11 percent of local merchants have offered a “daily deal” using a service like Groupon or LivingSocial, with an additional 20 percent planning to do so in the coming months. Results of group buying have also been mixed and may be hindering growth: 55 percent of people who have run a daily deal campaign said they would not do so again.

(4) Use of traditional offline marketing methods continues to decline.

Traditional offline marketing methods continue to decline across the board. Over the course of 2010, use of print advertising dropped by 33 percent (from 40 percent usage to 27 percent); use of print Yellow Pages declined 18 percent (from 45 percent to 37 percent); and use of direct mail decreased 26 percent (from 39 percent to 28 percent).

Don’t expect these methods to disappear anytime soon, however, as many continue to deliver results for local merchants. 24 percent say that coupons or direct mail are still one of their top three most effective marketing tactics, 23 percent say print Yellow Pages are a top three tactic, and 20 percent put print newspaper ads in the top three as well.

(5) Online marketing services companies are aggressively targeting local businesses.

Despite the fact that local merchants have very little budget for marketing, online marketing services companies are working hard to reach and serve this market, often with a direct sales force making cold calls. MerchantCircle’s research reveals that 51 percent of local merchants get at least one online marketing sales call a week, with 10 percent getting called almost on a daily basis.

About the Merchant Confidence Index

The Merchant Confidence Index is a quarterly survey conducted by MerchantCircle, the largest social network of local business owners in the U.S. with over 1.6 million members. The Index is designed to track trends in small business sentiment over time and is derived from four key questions designed to synopsize the prevailing trends among local business owners. The overall index score is based upon a standardized five-level Likert scale.

This fifth Merchant Confidence Index survey was fielded online, between January 22nd and February 3rd, 2011, and sent to a random sample of MerchantCircle’s member base of over 1.6 million local business owners. There were 8,456 total responses from local business owners across the United States. Responding businesses classified themselves as legal and financial services, automotive, health and beauty, entertainment, travel and more, with 75 percent of respondents having less than 5 employees. The survey data can be broken out by state, business type or business size (by headcount) upon request. No incentive was offered to complete the survey. To read the full survey and its results, please visit www.MerchantCircle.com/corporate/blog.


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Jewish Marketing 101 | Bloomberg Businessweek article on Outsourcing your Marketing

Jewish Marketing 101 | Bloomberg Businessweek article on Outsourcing your Marketing

Businessweek Outsourcing Your Marketing

 

 

Outsourcing Your Marketing Services

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on May 14, 2008

Have you ever considered outsourcing some, or even all, of your marketing? Doing so can help you achieve your business goals if you don’t have a marketing department, or it can give you more hands and fresh ideas if you do. Here are some benefits to consider:

• Fill skill gaps. Since media is increasingly fragmented, communications programs are more complicated. You can’t be an expert in every medium and understand the needs of each of your target audiences if your products are sold across vertical industries or have key purchase influencers from several departments.

• Reduce overhead. You don’t need to hire an individual or team for a specific program. Just outsource an expert. That way you don’t bear the hidden costs of recruiting, training, furnishing an office, and employee benefits. Salary is just a fraction of employment costs.

• Eliminate bias and leverage a broader, different perspective. Outsourcing eliminates the “We’ve always done it this way” mentality. You can access the strategic thinking and creative expertise of a marketing professional free of internal political baggage.

• Improve your focus. Outsourcing helps you to focus on the core competencies of your business. Talk to your customers or your sales team. You can then provide strategic, insightful direction and play to your strength. You’ll help to reduce your risks and maximize the return on investment in your marketing programs with input from the front line.

• Jump-start your marketing instantly. Outsourcing gives you access to experienced marketing professionals who can quickly develop plans and campaigns on the tightest of schedules. You can just say “Run with it” and start focusing on the crush of your other competing priorities.

Colleen Edwards
President and CEO
The PowerMark Group
San Juan Capistrano, Calif.


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Insourcing – Keeping “outsourced” tasks in America

Insourcing – Keeping “outsourced” tasks in America

Reposted from The Press Enterprise

‘Insourcing’ outsourcing to other American firms a benefit

Sarah Cullins

04:03 PM PDT on Saturday, August 20, 2011

Outsourcing has become a dirty word in the American labor market, because it brings to mind the image of employers sending jobs overseas to countries where they can pay workers less than a dollar an hour.

Many companies have realized that outsourcing comes with its own set of problems, as customers complain when they have trouble understanding customer service reps based in other parts of the world. Outsourcing also can cause quality control or supply line issues, as seen in the recent Japanese earthquake.

However, many American companies have opted to outsource some of their in-house services to American contractors. This has been termed “insourcing.”

The work is contracted out of the company, but remains with American businesses. Companies often decide to insource auxiliary work, such as accounting, public relations and IT, which are important, but not central to the company’s mission.

Here are some of the reasons why companies opt to do this:

It’s cheaper. If you have to pay an in-house HR or IT person, it will probably cost you at least $3,000 a month in wages. When you add on benefits, you are looking at a total cost of more than $4,000 per month. For many companies it easier to pay an outside company $2,000 for the same services. Employers also know there is no way they can find a top-level employee for $2,000 per month.

It’s more efficient. When you insource some of your duties, you send the work to a person who is not going to get caught up in office politics or water cooler chat. Most contractors realize that if they don’t perform, they don’t get paid. This ensures that the work will be done right and done on time. Insourcing also allows you to hire experienced people who have the skills to complete projects faster.

Insourced workers can also adapt to change faster. One of the biggest complaints about working in a large organization is trying to implement a new procedure. The decision has to be kicked up several layers of management, and it can take months for it to be approved. With a contract employee, the decision can be made fairly quickly since they do not have to go through as many layers.

It allows you to focus on what you are really good at. If you make tires, you want to focus on making tires and not have to worry about accounting, HR or public relations. A large company has divisions to focus on these areas. But in small companies it is the owner that has to handle all of these duties. Of course, while he is doing this, he does not have time to focus on his actual business. Insourcing this kind of work to contractors frees up the owner’s time and allows him to concentrate on actually running his business.

From the points I have listed, it is easy to see why more and more American companies are moving to towards insourcing work, as a way of staying leaner and meaner. In today’s market companies are constantly looking for ways to shave fat off the bottom line, and increasingly that means sending work to local contractors who save time and money.

Sarah Cullins is president of Finesse Staffing in Rancho Cucamonga. Reach her via 909-466-9933 or scullins@finessestaffing.com.

Henry Isaacs

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