It’s no secret: A clear company vision, efficient allocation of marketing dollars, and the use of digital media to support sales will accelerate the return on a marketing or PR initiative. Yet only 12% of surveyed firms are adept at all three.
Peppercom conducted a survey of 104 c-suite executives at small- and mid-size firms. The findings reveal that companies across various sectors do not have their act together. Almost half (48%) of the firms have no clear digital media strategy, absolutely no idea where and how their marketing dollars are being spent, and no agreement over the company vision at the executive level. As our findings show, the know-nothing approach comes with a high price tag of missed market opportunities, limited exposure to the target audiences, and foregone sales.
Crystallize your digital radarEffective communications is not only a function of dollars spent. Everyone’s pouring money into digital initiatives, but very few are digitally savvy. In fact, only 38% of executives believe their company has a clear digital media strategy to support sales and marketing. So it’s no surprise that only 26% believe their company’s digital media solutions are exposing them to relevant audiences and translating into sales.
But what’s more telling are the specifics of the two groups: those that do digital right and those that don’t. Of the former group, 60% report having exposure to relevant audiences which is translating into sales, while 95% of the latter group believe exposure and sales have not increased as a result of digital media initiatives.
A wasteful tide lifts no boats
Budgets may be tight, but spending doesn’t seem to be. Less than half (46%) of corporate executives know how and where marketing dollars are being allocated and how consumers are responding. This poor allocation of resources is invariably correlated with a lack of adaptability and market agility, and translates into missed market opportunities and the potential for growth.
As a matter of fact, companies that know where and how marketing dollars are channeled use resources efficiently and can quickly reposition according to growth potential. That is why 63% of this efficient group report their company’s core competencies are being resourcefully used, while 67% are ready to take advantage of market opportunities and 85% are prepared to respond to shifts in the business climate. However, where marketing outlays are an untraceable and unplanned process, core competencies are not efficiently utilized (64%) and, as a result, very few are prepared to respond to business climate shifts (44%), let alone take advantage of market opportunities (25%).
The trickledown of a company vision
At the end of the day, a company without coherent leadership is like a ship without a captain. Our findings confirm that internal consensus among senior management regarding a common company vision has a direct and positive effect on internal and external communications. Where senior managers have a clear direction, employees and strategic partners can not only describe, but subscribe to the company value proposition. To survive in today’s economic climate, senior management, employees and strategic partners need to work off of the same compass; else they will be lost at sea.
In companies where senior managers agree on the company vision, 53% report that a majority of their employees can describe the unique value proposition, while 65% report having external strategic partners that know and share the company vision. More alarming, however, is the finding that when senior managers are split, 88% have employees that cannot describe the value proposition, while an astounding 96% believe that external strategic partners don’t know, let alone share, the company vision.
There are no barriers to entry
The results are clear: A company vision, an efficient allocation of marketing dollars, and a clear digital strategy will not necessarily result in a competitive advantage, but falling short will guarantee a competitive disadvantage. Only one out of 10 firms gets all of it right, and that means there’s plenty of room for more.
About the Survey
Peppercom’s Business Intelligence Group conducted a detailed statistical analysis of a 2009, 10-question survey taken by 104 c-suite executives at small to medium sized firms. The study was administered to uncover the gaps in company vision, allocation of marketing dollars, and the use of digital media at firms most sensitive to the current economic climate.