Photo: LSA Report: The Customer Funnel

According to the recent Local Search Association report, 30% of small businesses currently work with marketing service providers, and they are discontinuing third-party services at an alarming rate. Unhappy with their programs results, they feel they get poor service, too many errors and pay way too much for subpar results. After reading this report, Camilyo actually spoke to several small business owners to hear in their own words why they abandoned their service providers.

“If you outsource, you want someone who will invest and understand your product and do it better than your own internal resources could. And I never found anyone who could offer that level of service or know how.” (Miriam Lottner, Founder, Reveal Cards, Location-centric family card games)

Miriam’s feeling is supported by 55% of local business representatives surveyed in the LSA report. As highlighted by the findings listed in an additional report,the 2016 Small Business Marketing Trends Report, over half (62%) of business owners polled have a hard time understanding what aspects of their brands’ marketing campaigns are effective,instilling within them a resistance to uphold their working relationships with service providers. In fact, “disappointing or ‘poor program results’ is frequently cited as the primary reason” of opting out of renewing marketing contracts.

“A freelancer may have their own agenda and really doesn't understand or actively listen to the business' needs or able to personalize marketing directly for the business.” (Lisa Parshan - marketing and graphics at Paz Creations, jewelry designers and manufacturers)

Small businesses don’t seem to sufficiently trust their service providers to get the job done - and get it done right. In fact, a 2015 UK-based survey found that less than 20% of SMBs trust the SEO, PPC or marketing firms hired to market their businesses.

“Top complaints [of people who come to me] are poor communication with the firm, their content did not match what the company had in mind.” (Alyssa Magid - Director, Finance and Business Operations at Virtual Assistant Israel)

Maybe it’s not an issue of trust, but of marketing strategies and digital activities that are simply not aligned with the client’s mission, or perhaps the service providers don’t see eye-to-eye with their SMB customer regarding exactly which marketing services are needed. As such, the content simply may not match what the client envisioned, making the partnership less than ideal.

To make matters worse, small businesses are regularly approached by other marketing companies, eager to persuade them to abandon their current service providers. With competition high in the digital marketing field, 32% of SMBs are contacted by a new marketing service provider every single day. With budget an ever-present concern, 19% of sampled SMBs cited lower service fees as the reason behind their switch. This, of course, is in addition to the 55% cited above who feel they are not receiving the level of service they expect.

“Lots of these expensive SEO [companies] have opened up, but it would take them hours to do on social what I could do in 20 minutes.” (Miriam Lottner - Founder, Reveal Cards)

Business owners want to feel in control of their businesses. They find pleasure in learning new skills, trying out new ideas and being responsible for the fruits of their labors. Or, it may be a question of resources. The company’s budget may be tight, forcing them to make tough calls and shift to in-house marketing, either running the marketing campaigns on their own, or delegating the task to an employee.

I wish I could find a company to do it all. Build an ad from concept, graphics and tagline. Created content and did they paid advertising. Putting all these elements together is overwhelming.” (Diana Heuman, Makeup Artist)

But those who have been trying DIY models for a while are not necessarily happy with the results either. So it seems - and the LSA findings confirm that - a more holistic approach to the customer journey is needed, one that addresses the entire small business sales funnel, from attracting new customers, through converting prospective leads to retaining existing consumers. In fact, nearly 83% of SMB customers believe that an effective digital marketing strategy must include all three parts of the funnel and roughly 62% of SMBs feel that an integrated marketing system or platform is necessary for doing so. Camilyo_Logo_gray C only small.png