By Daniel Hunter

Small to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are abandoning traditional marketing in favour of online and mobile channels. Research released by pbSmart Essentials shows that 26% of SMEs report that traditional offline marketing accounts for just 10% of total marketing activity with a further 22% stating that they don’t do any at all.

Micro businesses are the most likely to have moved away from traditional offline marketing; in total more than half (54%) say that it accounts for less than 10% of their marketing and that they favour mobile and online avenues to grow their business.

Looking at which offline marketing techniques are being dropped, print advertising looks to be worst hit — whilst 40% of SMEs have used it previously, only 28% plan to invest further in this tactic in 2013. Direct mail is still playing a key part in the marketing plan. A fifth of businesses are looking to make an investment here in the next year, although the multichannel approach taken by many SMEs means some funds are being diverted online. The full report is available in online.

In contrast, confidence in mobile marketing is growing; mobile QR codes, mobile optimised websites and mobile payments will all attract investment from more SMEs than ever before in 2013. Additionally, mobile SEO and QR codes are now attracting nearly twice as much interest as previously.

“Many SMEs’ success, and even survival, can depend on targeted, effective and easy to implement marketing that covers a multitude of channels," Ryan Higginson, Vice President Digital Channel Europe, at Pitney Bowes said.

"Offline will always play a very important role in any strategy but online has really come to the fore. Tools, such as pbSmart Essentials, are making this digital marketing transition easy and affordable for SMEs.”

The move to online channels is evident across the entire SME sector.

· The largest SMEs (151-250 employees) aren’t being left behind, four in ten (44%) do less than 10% of marketing through traditional channels.
· Oldest businesses are most likely to have left traditional marketing behind, and a third are doing less than 5% of marketing using standard offline tactics.

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