Mid-sized companies are contacting their customers primarily through digital channels, according to the latest study by Kontor Digital Media carried out for the German Confederation of Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises (BVMW) in the Hamburg Metropolitan Region and published Wednesday (August 24th).
Six of the ten most important channels for such contact are online and led by company web pages. Some 85 per cent said the corporate web site is the most important means of addressing customers and success. Corporate web sites were followed by search engines (60 per cent) and social media profiles (52 per cent), fairs (45 per cent), sales representatives (43 per cent) and classic face–to-face contact. Newsletters (35 per cent) came sixth, followed by social media advertising (25 per cent), shop i.e. office contact came eighth followed by online shops (16 per cent) while print catalogues came tenth and last (14 per cent). A total of 129 marketing decision-makers from mid-sized member companies in BVMW were interviewed for the survey in July 2016.
Firms to invest more in the following channels
Andreas Feike, State Representative of BVMW in the Hamburg Metropolitan Region, said: “The results of the survey show that firms are communicating digitally, but are still partially stuck in old structures and habits, which cannot be dropped from one day to the next.” A third of mid-sized firms, who spend part of their marketing budgets on digital measures, still lack a strategy for digital marketing. Only four of the firms with a digital budget gauge the success of their digital marketing strategies comprehensively and use the results to improve their future campaigns.
At the same time, mid-sized firms wish to address their customers increasingly via digital channels over the next two years and to invest in five, exclusively digital channels. Nearly eight of ten want to expand their web pages while three-thirds of interviewees are relying more on search engines and social media accounts. Over half will use adverts in social media and newsletters. One quarter of firms wish to use apps or online shops.
Healthy proportion of investment and profits
The most frequently used non-digital channels i.e. fairs and sales representatives will not lose importance in future, but will lose relevance compared to digital means of addressing customers. Shops or office businesses as well as print products are slowly leaving the marketing mix: 31 per cent plan to reduce the use of office or business. Some 43 per cent and 54 per cent respectively of mid-sized companies intend to reduce the use of print catalogues or mail circulars.
Thomas Kabke-Sommer, Managing Director of Kontor Digital Media, said: “The mid-sized companies must deal with a multitude of channels and instruments for addressing customers. Moving image platforms and banner advertising are important customer contact points as well. The trick is to rely only on communication channels in which investments and profits are in a healthy proportion.”
- (c) Tina Gothe © Tina Gothe