SMEs embrace mobile and digital media to get ahead in downturn

10 December, 2010

New insight from Kantar Media and CultureMap

UK small and medium sized businesses (SMEs) with ambitious growth plans are embracing emerging technology and new forms of media in order to continue to grow their businesses during the downturn. These are newly-released findings from the Business Culture Index (BCI) survey, produced by Kantar Media in collaboration with SME think tank CultureMap.

The new BCI research shows that of the UK’s 4.7 million SMEs, 38% set themselves aggressive growth targets. Of these ambitious SMEs, more than one in ten exploit mobile marketing internet sites or services for business, compared to only 2% of those SMEs not seeking to grow. In a market where mobile internet penetration amongst mobile phone-owning consumers has only reached 33% to date (TGI GB Q4 data), this shows a keen appreciation of getting on board with a burgeoning trend early and exploiting it before competitors pick it up.

In addition to exploiting mobile media, just under a quarter of these aggressively growing SMEs use search engine optimisation sites or services, compared to just 7% of non-growing SMEs.

Added to this, the most popular means for self promotion amongst SMEs are oriented around digital media. For example, 18% of all SMEs and 23% of those with ambitious growth forecasts use social networks such as Facebook and Linkedin to market themselves. Company websites are also of particular importance for SMEs seeking to market themselves (used by 25% of SMEs), along with recommendations/word of mouth (29%) and door drops (15%).

Indeed, SMEs with aggressive growth targets are significantly more likely than other SMEs to prioritise marketing as the most crucial area to allocate budget (15% do so compared to 9% of those who do not have plans to grow). Despite tough times, they are also 54% more likely than other SMEs to have increased marketing spend in the last 12 months.

According to Daniel Flynn, Director at Kantar Media: “Media owners and marketers need to be conscious of the enormous potential value of those SMEs who are seeking to exploit new media and digital channels and who use the downturn as an opportunity to market themselves and thrive rather than simply get by. With SMEs accounting for 56% of the UK workforce and 52% of its turnover, it is a market whose importance and potential should not be underestimated.”

Research methodology
A representative sample of c. 3,500 UK SMEs were surveyed for the Business Culture Index (BCI) over the period September-November 2010. SMEs defined as having 0-250 employees (as per official UK government definition). Respondents are SME owners or board directors. The BCI survey is a collaboration between Kantar Media and SME think tank CultureMap.

About Kantar Media
Established in more than 50 countries, Kantar Media helps clients master the world’s multimedia momentum through analysis of print, radio, TV, internet, cinema, mobile, social media, and outdoor worldwide. Kantar Media offers a full range of media insights and audience measurement services through its global business sectors – Intelligence, Audiences, TGI and Custom. Kantar Media companies also include Compete, Cymfony and SRDS. Drawing upon the deepest expertise in the industry, Kantar Media tracks more than 3 million brands and delivers insight to more than 22,000 customers worldwide. For more information, please visit us at  

About CultureMap
CultureMap is an independent think tank dedicated to demystifying Britain’s small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) and modernising the way they are understood. CultureMap provides business insight and applications for marketers, media owners, their agencies and anyone else with an interest in SME audiences. This insight is underpinned by proprietary intellectual property. For more information, please visit us at  

For further information please contact:
Teresa Horscroft
PR Consultant
Eureka Communications
+44 (0)1420 564346

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