10 Simple Questions To Assess Your CEO's Marketing IQ

I recently came across a statistic that disturbed me, not that I wasn’t already slightly disturbed in a nice sort of way. 10 Questions To Assess Your CEO's Marketing IQ

That number that had jolted me was that nearly half of all businesses (46% to be precise) don’t have a website. Did I hear someone saying.. “you have to be joking!” (I have just checked the calendar and I have verified by the way that it is 2010 not 1910).

To make more of a point on this, a recent survey by Discover Business Watch found  “Of the 55 percent of small business owners who don’t have a Web site, 57 percent say their businesses will never have one“. Now this is starting to go from the sublime to the ridiculous.

The other not insignificant statistic that businesses should keep in mind is that 93% of buying decisions start with an online search and if you don’t have a web presence it makes it a little difficult (to say the least) to turn up in the search results and people to make an enquiry and consequently buy, if you don’t have a website.

The really fascinating thing about this is that the business owner or CEO could even put up a blog on WordPress very easily for less than $30 with features such as

  • Your own business domain name (Cost $20)
  • Videos from YouTube (Free)
  • Email subscription  to the blog (Free)
  • Images (Free)
  • Content loaded as easily as using Microsoft Word
  • Links to other content and websites
  • Menu across the top
  • Polls and surveys for your customers
  • Traffic statistics for the Blog/Website
  • Moderation of comments
  • Plus many other free features provide by plugins at no cost

Note: Cost is less than $40 and a bit of time and help from your teenage son, daughter or friend if necessary.

So with that in mind here are the 10 simple questions to assess your CEO’s marketing IQ.

  1. Do we have a web presence (website or even a blog)?
  2. Are you still spending money on advertising in the Yellow Pages?
  3. Are you still spending a majority of your marketing dollars on direct mail marketing?
  4. Are you marketing by fax broadcasts?
  5. Are you still “thinking” about having a website for your company?
  6. Have you heard of social media for business?
  7. Do most of our reps still cold call?
  8. Do you use print media for most of your advertising dollars?
  9. Are our carrier pigeons still alive?
  10. Do we have our milk delivered by horse and cart?

So if you think your CEO still has an excuse not to have a web presence so that people can find your business and buy from you then I think you should check your CEO for a pulse.

So do you know of any businesses that don’t have a website?


  • http://www-ad-ology.com Michelle OBrien


    That 46% with no website is from the Ad-ology Research 2010 Small Business Marketing Forecast, and I was so surprised by that number too!

    More than 90% of these small business owners agreed that the best way to get new customers is by networking and referrals, but apparently they haven’t grasped the major role that a website and online presence can play in that process!

    You’re so right that a basic website is super low-cost and brings so much value to a small business. As a consumer, I at least need to be able to 1. find your business physically, and 2. know when you’re open, and I’m looking online for even that basic info. So how do we get small businesses to understand they need a site?


  • http://briancurrin.wordpress.com Brian Currin

    Excellent article … perfect example of what I am trying to convince people of every day!

  • http://www.mltcreative.com Craig Lindberg

    Jeff, you show more restraint than I might have. The really good news is as marketing automation system options evolve like every technology, the user experience will improve so that it becomes more accessible and intuitive, two key factors in adoption rates. Finally will be the compelling statistics that will flow forth making web-centric business models virtually irresistible.
    Thanks for bringing this topic forward.
    Best regards,
    Craig Lindberg

  • http://www.christuttle.com Chris Tuttle


    I agree 100% that every business should have a web presence, but I think you might have made some assumptions about these small businesses.

    According to http://www.entrepreneur.com/sbe/glance/index.html (same site your stat came from) there are over 8 million “Small Businesses” in the US (defined as having less than 100 employees). About 70% of these have less than 5 employees ,92% have less than 20. There are also some very interesting stats about their online usage and marketing efforts: http://www.entrepreneur.com/sbe/online/index.html

    But I don’t think your 10 Questions for CEOs are relevant here… I’m willing to bet that the majority of these small business range from mom & pop shops, to local businesses to self-owned starter companies (66% of small businesses last only 2 years). These businesses don’t have CEOs… they have less than 5 employees who are struggling to keep the lights on–and while they still may not understand the importance of online marketing, or at least, presence–I suspect it has little to do with them believing yellow pages are better than the internet.

    In my experience working with small businesses, they seem to have a misunderstanding that the internet is needed to reach regional and national audiences, not local. And most of these companies do rely on referrals and local networking to make money–sadly, they don’t understand how the internet and social media can actually support these very networking activities.

    My 25 cents,

  • http://WebTechUniverse.com Connie

    Jeff – yes, amazing that some businesses have no website. I know some long-established businesses that still do mostly face to face & referral business. If no website, then no way to analyze how much better they could be doing!

    In my home town, Colorado Springs, there are about 7 percent of businesses with websites named in the Chamber directory that have become inactive in the last 12 months. It’s hard to say if they could have survived & prospered had they used some of the search engine optimization and in-bound link tools readily available to improve website & product visibility now. Thanks Connie

  • Maureen Perou

    This is too funny and real. I have seen both small and big companies fall into this “ignorant” category regarding their presence on the internet and how they interact as a company online with customers. We all need to take your advice to a certain extent to keep ourselves relevant and accessible. thanks for articulating it in a humorous way!

  • http://www.qsbc.com Rob Woyzbun


    Responding to your recent blog re-tweet on 10 questions re. marketing IQ.

    Very good questions – but perhaps a better title is 10 questions to ask your CEO regarding internet-based promotion and communication – or some such thing. Part of the problem is our industry and the social media side equating promotion / media / selling / marcoms etc. with real marketing strategy. There is a huge difference worth exploring and understanding. If you’d like – I can flip you _my_ top 10 questions…

  • http://www.anthonylepki.com Anthony Lepki

    “Note: Cost is less than $40 and a bit of time and help from your teenage son, daughter or friend if necessary.”

    Has anyone actually tried this?

    Small business is always crying for new business, leads or sales. If an website investment turns in to 3 times the business, why would one not consider this medium as part of their advertising expense?

    When was the last time you heard of someone running a business without a phone?

  • http://www.proqure.se Ryan Eriksson

    Hi Jeff.

    Always find great articles in your blog.

    Especially the above statistics… it might sound alarming but it is a fact.

    Just in Sweden wherein developments on webdesign as well as internet speed is advancing quickly, I still know a large number of businesses without websites. I reckon this would be due to the intimidating belief that internet is a complicated tool and there are still a number of business owners who are uncertain on the ROI a website can bring.

    If you’re not present on the we today, you are as good as non-existent.

    Thanks for the great read!

    Ryan Eriksson
    Head of Marketing & Sales
    ProQure | Entremattor & Mattservice
    (Entrance Mats & Matting Service)



  • Lambert


    Can’t help But to agree with you. I been talking to many business owners and some of them still dun pocess a website for their business as they still do not believe in the power of websites. Sadly, I can’t change their mindset thinking….