DALLAS, May 4, 2011 — Small businesses have a positive long-term outlook and an eye on growth and investment, according to the results of the fourth annual FedEx Office® Signs of the Times national small business survey released today by FedEx Office, an operating company of FedEx Corp. (NYSE: FDX). The survey found that optimism is on the rise, with 63 percent of owners declaring confidence in their businesses’ long-term success.
By comparison, slightly more than half (54 percent) of respondents in 2010 were confident in the long-term success of their business. With the rising confidence level, decision makers are considering greater investments in their business to support 2011 growth plans, including expanding product and service offerings (44 percent) and hiring additional full-time and part-time staff (26 percent). Marketing and advertising efforts also continue to be a major consideration for budget increases, with more small business owners considering investment in these areas than last year – 55 percent vs. 42 percent.
“Small businesses are a vital economic driver and their outlook for 2011 is an indication that the health of this business segment is getting stronger,” said Randy Scarborough, vice president of marketing for FedEx Office. “We are encouraged by the commitment that we’re seeing among small business owners to assertively and strategically invest in their company’s offerings and image in order to grow.”
The 2011 survey also indicated that nearly one quarter (23 percent) of owners feel that their marketing materials do not reflect the quality of their products and services.
Moreover, nearly half of respondents believe they do not spend the right amount on marketing and advertising materials, with 24 percent saying they spend too little because of budget cuts and 23 percent indicating they spend too much but cannot find a better deal due to lack of time or knowledge.
Print Big, Save Big
The planned surge in marketing spend may be timely and advantageous for owners looking to address these issues and the specialists at FedEx Office can help small businesses overcome these challenges and maximize their marketing budgets.
FedEx Office is currently holding the “Print Big, Save Big” promotion on its most popular banners and posters. The offer includes up to 55 percent off indoor and outdoor banners, a $59.99 poster package and a 20 percent discount on all other poster and banner products.
Also, FedEx Office is making it easier for small businesses to place sign and banner orders online. The company recently launched a new feature for ordering signs, banners and posters via its FedEx Office® Print Online tool. Customers can upload files and customize their order with a number of different options using this feature. Once an order is submitted, customers will receive a call from a FedEx Office team member who will answer questions, offer product and design consultation and provide pricing and completion time estimates.
To learn more about the “Print Big, Save Big” sale and other small business marketing solutions or to place an order, visit http://www.fedex.com/banners.
Small Business Marketing Shift
This latest Signs of the Times survey also analyzed changes in small businesses’ use of traditional marketing tactics versus expanding online options. Fifty percent of respondents indicated that they have experimented with social media to market their business. In addition, 52 percent plan to improve their company’s online presence and 45 percent said they would utilize social media and networking websites to grow their business. In contrast, 53 percent will utilize traditional marketing and advertising materials and 35 percent will distribute their efforts equally among Web and printed channels.
Age emerged as one of the most differentiating characteristics in this evolving marketing trend. Not only were younger owners (ages 18-34) significantly more likely to consider a budget increase for marketing and advertising this year (72 percent compared to 55 percent of the overall sample), they also showed a stronger preference for Web-based marketing tools.
“While this evolution certainly reflects the growing importance of the Internet in our daily lives, it may come at a cost,” says Scarborough. “In the past decade, businesses looking to reach their core customers flocked to the Internet to break free of the traditional marketing clutter. Yet today it seems that Web marketing may be just as overcrowded, and small businesses may struggle to find their voice. Creative and engaging printed materials can help small businesses better stand out from the crowd and highlight their primary capabilities.”
FedEx Office, in conjunction with the Ketchum Global Research Network, worked with Braun Research to conduct the fourth annual FedEx Office Signs of the Times national small business survey. The survey polled small business owners who employ 5 to 100 employees and own firms that generate more than $100,000 in annual revenue. A total of 505 interviews were completed; the margin of error is +/-4.38 percent at the 95 percent confidence interval. Online interviews were conducted March 4-12, 2011. For more detailed information on the survey results, visit http://news.fedex.com/SignsoftheTimes2011.
About FedEx Office
FedEx Office (formerly FedEx Kinko’s) has the world’s largest retail printing network, providing access to printing and shipping expertise with reliable service. The company’s network of more than 1,900 locations includes 1,800 in the U.S. and features FedEx Office Print & Ship Centers, FedEx Office Ship Centers, FedEx Office Signs & Graphics Centers, and centralized production centers. Services include copying and digital printing, professional finishing, document creation, direct mail, signs and graphics, computer rental, free Wi-Fi access, FedEx Express and FedEx Ground shipping, and more. In addition, the company offers FedEx Office® Print Online, an online printing solution for business and personal printing, at home, at the office or on the go. Products, services and hours vary by location. For more information, please visit www.fedex.com/office.
About FedEx Corp.
FedEx Corp. (NYSE: FDX) provides customers and businesses worldwide with a broad portfolio of transportation, e-commerce and business services. With annual revenues of $38 billion, the company offers integrated business applications through operating companies competing collectively and managed collaboratively, under the respected FedEx brand. Consistently ranked among the world's most admired and trusted employers, FedEx inspires its more than 290,000 team members to remain "absolutely, positively" focused on safety, the highest ethical and professional standards and the needs of their customers and communities. For more information, visit news.fedex.com.