An increasing number of companies plan to raise their investment in direct marketing over the course of the next 12 months, a new survey shows.

According to a study conducted by Lloyds TSB Commercial, 40 per cent of small and medium-sized firms anticipate increasing their marketing activity this year, while more than a third (35 per cent) plan to divert their attention to business retention and acquisition.

The survey also found that the current economic downturn is giving firms cause to worry about the state of their businesses.

More than half of firms surveyed said they are concerned about business demand amid the current climate, while 42 per cent expressed worry about late payments.

John Maltby, managing director of Lloyds TSB Commercial, said: “British businesses are going through an extremely tough trading period and many have already made some difficult decisions to help mitigate the impact of the recession.

He added that as the economy continues to worsen, it is “critical that businesses get the support they need”.
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