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Recent research commissioned by Microsoft has revealed that medium-sized businesses face a number of challenges in improving their approach to customer sales and marketing.
The research looked at the attitudes to customer management of medium-sized UK businesses, as well as looking at how customers are researching and making their purchase decisions.
Looking at UK businesses, the report found that:
- 90% of those surveyed felt they needed to improve understanding of customer wants and needs. 41% define this need as significant.
- 61% see e-commerce as a critical part of sales strategy, while 57% of respondents currently advertise online. This figure is predicted to rise to 89% by 2009.
- The main marketing priorities are customer retention (63%) and customer acquisition (59%), while brand awareness came third on 39%.
- In measuring the effectiveness of online marketing, companies are more likely to compare offline to online sales (30%) than to capture sales lead information from their customer base (26%).
- Only 15% of businesses believe they have used internet marketing to its full potential.
- Only 49% of companies surveyed are conducting market research amongst their customer base, while 47% collect feedback via their website.
Customer attitudes to purchasing decisions:
- 92% of people are more likely to make a purchasing decision based on information from a variety of sources.
- 68% always research purchases on the internet first.
- 55% of people would be willing to provide simple demographic information on a website in order to get a more personalised experience.
Online Surveys and Research Buyer's Guide 2007