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Enterprise vs. SMB Marketing Trends for 2018: 22 Revealing Facts

Enterprise vs. SMB Marketing Trends for 2018: 22 Revealing FactsWhile it’s no surprise that enterprise marketers face significantly different challenges and priorities in 2018 from their small-to-midsize business (SMB) counterparts, the specific contrasts are intriguing. It’s also interesting to note what isn’t different between the two groups.

As the statistics below illustrate:

  • Both enterprise and SMB marketers face content marketing challenges—but the nature of those challenges is quite distinct.
  • There’s a wide disparity in the importance placed on influencer marketing between the two groups—though not in the direction you might expect.
  • And both groups are embracing social media—though in quite different ways.

Conventional wisdom would suggest that enterprise marketers are more process-oriented, while SMBs are more experimental. So it’s fascinating to note how recent research indicates enterprise marketers are embracing new channels while their SMB counterparts are investing methodically.

Here are 22 statistics detailing both the differences and similarities between enterprise and SMB marketing plans and obstacles in 2018.

Content marketing: Both enterprise and SMB marketers struggle, but in different ways.

For reasons that aren’t entirely obvious, large enterprises lag in blogging:

  1. Large companies are failing to capitalize on the benefits of blogging. Back in 2008, 16 percent of the Fortune 500 had public-facing blogs. By 2014, that number had only climbed to 31 percent. (Forbes)
  2. And event at the end of 2017, the share of the Fortune 500 actively blogging was still less than half (42 percent). (MarketingProfs)
  3. For comparison, 66 percent of companies overall have blogs. (IMPACT)

Smaller companies, on the other hand, are challenged by video marketing, which seems logical given its higher production costs:

  1. One in four marketers and SMB owners feel they are behind on video marketing. (Medium)
  2. And 22 percent of U.S. small businesses plan to post video content this year. (LinkedIn Pulse)
  3. But video marketing is less of a challenge for big companies. Three-quarters of Fortune 500 companies have YouTube accounts. (MarketingProfs)

Enterprise and SMB marketers have sharply different views on earned media and influencer marketing.

Enterprises place a priority on distributing press releases on a regular basis (probably because their news is more likely to get picked up than announcements from smaller, lesser known firms) while SMBs put weight on case studies (to build credibility).

  1. The three earned media methods used most by large enterprises are regular press releases (96 percent), pursuing speaking opportunities (96 percent), and encouraging customer testimonials (95 percent). For small companies, the top three methods used are encouraging testimonials (78 percent), pursuing speaking opportunities (76 percent), and publishing case studies (71 percent). (TNW)

Larger companies are four times more likely to use influencer marketing as a channel (though they don’t want to pay for it) than their SMB counterparts. This seems surprising, as smaller companies stand to benefit more from the credibility built by favorable association with industry thought leaders.

  1. Among companies with 1,000+ employees, 71 percent say that influencer marketing has become a strategic goal. (Maximize Social Business)
  2. However, for three out of four large-company marketers (75 percent), the influencer marketing budget is less than $250,000, and 84 percent of the investments are for content (22 percent), staff (20 percent), Events (17 percent), technology (13 percent) and agencies (12 percent). Barely 10 percent returns to influencers. (Maximize Social Business)
  3. Just 17 percent of SMB marketers say influencer marketing will be important to their companies in the coming year. (BigCommerce)

Companies of all sizes have embraced social media, and investments there will increase. Large and small companies have surprising agreement on channels, though divergent views on tactics.

Both enterprises and SMBs will expand their use of social media in the coming year, with smaller companies making greater use of paid social media advertising specifically as a promotional channel.

  1. The nation’s largest companies are embracing social media. LinkedIn is the most popular social network: 498 of the Fortune 500 (98 percent) have accounts there. Twitter is the second most popular platform (88 percent). (MarketingProfs)
  2. Meanwhile, 58 percent of small businesses increased spending on social media in 2017, while 56 percent spent more on their website. 39 percent budgeted more for email marketing, and 35 percent invested more on SEO. (MarketingProfs)
  3. The top online channels/tactics that SMBs expect to be a primary driver of revenue in the coming months are social media advertising (51 percent), SEO improvement (46 percent), and email marketing (40 percent). (BigCommerce)

Big and small companies agree: Facebook and Instagram are hot platforms.

  1. Facebook is the third-most popular network for large enterprises; 85 percent have a presence there. And more than half (53 percent) are now on Instagram, up from just 9 percent in 2013. (MarketingProfs)
  2. 75.6 percent of SMBs feel Facebook and Instagram have the highest potential for driving growth this year. (BigCommerce)

But views differ on using social media for customer service. Large companies increasingly recognize the importance of this. As Daniel Newman writes in Forbes, “Customer experience/service is fast becoming the most important tool for business success…A survey by Bain & Co. estimated that 89 percent of businesses rely on customer service as their primary means of competition,” with social media taking on more importance. But smaller companies appear to be missing this boat.

  1. Nearly a quarter of small businesses don’t use social media for marketing or customer service. Eight percent say they probably won’t ever use it. (V3+Broadsuite Blog)

If there is one area of clear agreement between large and small businesses, it is optimism for 2018.

  1. 57 percent of CEOs at the world’s largest companies predict “improved” global economic growth this year, nearly double the percentage who said the same last year and the first time since PwC began tracking global CEO sentiment that the share of optimists has surpassed the 50 percent mark. 42 percent say they’re “very confident” in their own organizations’ growth prospects in the next 12 months, up from 38 percent in 2017. (Fortune)
  2. Within North America, the positive near-term outlook among enterprise CEOs is at historic levels. 52 percent expressed confidence in their own business growth this year, up from 39 percent in 2017. (Fortune)
  3. Meanwhile, 90 percent of online small businesses expect to grow their revenue. 45 percent expect to grow more than 25 percent year over year. (BigCommerce)
  4. It’s a great time to be marketing to small and midsized businesses. The small business optimism index hit a 12-year high in December 2016, according to the National Federation of Independent Businesses. (CNN Money)
  5. SMBs spend, on average, between 4 percent and 12 percent of total revenue on marketing. And they spend nearly half (46 percent) of their total marketing budgets on digital marketing. (Bizness Apps)
  6. 70 percent of SMBs plan to increase digital/web marketing budgets in the coming year. (Bizness Apps)

Based on the findings above, enterprises that haven’t yet launched blogs may want to make 2018 the year. And rather than rely solely on internally produced clients, they may want to engage industry influencers to try out products and comment on their initiatives, a strategy embraced by leading tech companies like Adobe, Samsung, and SAP.

SMBs struggling to produce quality video content on a budget can benefit from the latest generation of online video creation and editing tools, which make it faster and easier than ever to edit live video and create animated content. It’s also a good idea to revisit social media strategy in the context of the total customer experience, rather than just a channel for paid promotion.

This article was first published on V3Broadsuite.