Marketing & PR: Size of Vision Marks out the Winners from Losers; Clive Palmer Highlights a Lack of Marketing Nous among Small Businesses and Says It Is Usually Only When Trouble Looms or Stretching Goals Are Set That People Look to Marketing as Part of the Solution

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Byline: Graham Sidwell

There is a marked absence of experienced marketing management in small and medium-sized companies according to a survey carried out by Intamark, a Midlands based marketing management firm.

'The ongoing effect could be holding many firms back from increased performance and better strategic focus', said Clive Palmer an Intamark marketing manager working with small and medium-sized businesses.

Forty-one companies with an estimated turnover ranging between pounds 850,000 and pounds 10 million were interviewed by Intamark, which operates from Cadeby in Leicestershire.

Intamark manages marketing activities on a project-by-project or contract basis for small and medium-sized companies across the Midlands.

The aim of the survey was to establish how small and medium-sized businesses conduct marketing; who does the marketing and how experienced they are.

'Of all the companies in the survey, just five per cent had a named marketing manager or marketing director,' said Mr Palmer.

'The divide between those companies that do have some kind of marketing function and those that do not appears to be defined by turnover.'

Over half the companies with under pounds 1 million turnover said they had no marketing function at all.

In contrast, of those who said they did have a marketing function, 70 per cent had a turnover of more than pounds 1 million per annum, with 25 pc of those turning over between pounds 3-10 million.

While the cost of employing a marketing manager is seen as a barrier (35 pc of companies with a marketing function sighted cost as a reason why they do not do so), so too is the unseen risk of employment and selection.

Mr Palmer said that there is much confusion about what marketing actually is - especially by companies under pounds 1 million turnover.

However, over 80 pc of companies with no marketing function regard business strategy, marketing planning and customer acquisition as the activities they would value most - given the chance of professional marketing management.

'So there is a definite need,' he concluded.

Some of the reasons, given by firms who said they did not do any marketing, range from: 'Tried it once - didn't like it!' to 'We've never needed to. …