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SME's flirtatious acceptance-reluctance Tango with hiring Online Marketing Agencies

Updated: Jan 4, 2022

DIY Marketing Is a Declining Trend, at least among the SMEs in the USA

Recent research from the USA* has shown that 49% of small and medium business owners do DIY online marketing, 40% hire internal marketers and only 11% hired professional agencies for their online marketing and promotions.

The DIY marketers spend a minimum of 20 hours personally per week on marketing, and 79% of them would rather prefer to spend that time on their core business activities like - customer interactions, employee management and quality management.

Even the 67% of those who hired internal marketers (and believed their investments to be rather acceptable) wished they had hired a professional agency, and almost 93% of them would want to hire in future.

But, there is a Twist in the Indian Tale

When we turn to the Indian small business scenario, where the size and scale of small businesses are much smaller than studied in the above USA-based research, we see some interesting twists.

It is safer to say that more than 49% of small and medium business owners in India would be DIY marketers; with the majority of the remaining going for hiring internal marketers to be in full control of their online marketing. There is a solid understanding of the benefits of online ads as well as organic marketing, and yet, there is a flirtatious reluctance-acceptance of professional agencies.

The Indian small business owners, who are on the educated and the younger side and from the urban areas, would prefer to do their own online marketing until two things happen. Either, they are stuck with the scaling problem - and they just can't think of further organic growth ideas and want to try paid ads, or they hit a technical glitch with the platforms' policies or approval processes.

When they approach an agency, the very idea of paying someone to do something that appears to be casual and easy (and which was why they were into DIY marketing earlier) is rather daunting.

And then there is the budget issue. The concept of allocating an online marketing budget as a formal investment, that, like all other investments needs time to make returns, is somewhat lost. Instead of marketing, the focus is on getting sales from day one so that the overheads like the online marketing agencies' fees can be paid out of those sales.

This is fallacious thinking and limits the scope of online marketing.

Sales are the bottom line. But, there is no overnight magic

Like any marketing campaign, online campaigns, too, need settling in, some experimentation, re-alignment and fine-tuning. In professional hands, social media ads and Google Ads almost always give returns on investments, and if they are not, more often than not, the issue is with the website navigation or the delivery times. A vast amount of valuable data materializes within a week of running a social media campaign, that reveals as much about the potential buyers' personal as it does about any loopholes in your quality, delivery, or customer response. Working closely with the agency to fix problems with the product quality or delivery, or website design, and allocating a tangible marketing budget are required.

*Research of 600 small and medium businesses (in the USA context) undertaken by CallRail.

**The Author is an ex-Google employee and the co-founder of The-Socializers

***pic credit: Phix Nguyen/Unsplash

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