A new survey of small and medium business (SMB) owners from marketing automation software firm OutboundEngine offers insights on revenue growth and marketing efficacy, as well as stressors and preferences that inhibit the development and execution of marketing strategies.
A critical finding of the report, Stress, Time & Growth: Factors Affecting Small Business Marketing in 2019, is that many SMB owners do not have formalized marketing goals established for 2019. In fact, nearly 50 percent of those surveyed do not have a marketing plan for the year, and 58 percent only spend five hours or fewer on marketing each week.
“There is a common misconception among small business owners that marketing requires a lot of time and money to produce the results needed to grow their business,” said Marc Pickren, CEO of OutboundEngine, in a news release. “The secret to an effective, stress-free marketing plan lies at the cross-section of affordability and efficacy. Today’s business owners, who are often not marketers by trade, have plenty of tools at their disposal to help achieve this balance.”
Other key findings include:
- Of those who spend the least amount of their time on marketing, 47 percent did not experience revenue growth in 2018 and 36 percent are unsure how they will grow their business in 2019.
- SMB owners overwhelmingly prefer to spend their time running their business (36 percent) and helping customers solve problems (28 percent) rather than marketing to customers (14 percent). However, respondents who invested slightly more time or percentage of revenue in marketing reported revenue growth at higher rates.
- Sixty-two percent of small business owners are as or more stressed about their businesses in 2019 than they were in 2018, citing finances, limited time and lack of knowledge of business-specific marketing tactics as the most influential barriers to achieving their objectives.
- SMB owners value social media engagement across paid and organic. Nearly 40 percent of respondents view organic social media posts as the most successful part of their customer marketing strategies, followed by paid social posts (17 percent).
Marketing automation has introduced a new operational framework for SMB owners to help them spend less and get more out of their marketing strategy. Automation tools offload the time-consuming maintenance of a consistent customer engagement program and help eliminate the stresses of operating a business.
In February 2019, OutboundEngine conducted a survey of more than 350 small and medium business owners throughout the U.S. The survey explored sentiment toward and knowledge of marketing tactics, time management preferences and the stressors and concerns owners feel about the future success of their enterprises.