Q1 Small Business Marketing Survey Results

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Precis

Facebook and social media are looming larger in the minds of small business (SMB) marketers and advertisers. In our recent SMB marketing survey (n=8,456) we found that more SMBs were using Facebook to promote themselves than any other site or service. This doesn't mean that they're buying Facebook ads, however. What it does mean is that "social media" are clearly on the agenda for SMBs. 

While social media are considered by some to be on the cutting edge of online marketing, more than 65% of the 8,456 respondents to the survey rated themselves "neutral" or "not savvy" on a marketing sophistication scale. Rather than for their viral capabilities or sophistication, one of the primary attractions of social media platforms, such as Facebook or Twitter, is that they're free. Indeed, 72% of these survey respondents say they spend less than $5,000 per year on all forms of marketing and advertising -- online and off. 

In this context it makes sense that the single biggest complaint among these respondents about online marketing is that it is "too costly." That also partly explains the why the "Groupon model," with its no upfront costs and guarantee of customers, holds such appeal for these small marketers. Yet there was also considerable ambivalence among those in our survey that had actually used daily deals, with a substantial number saying they would not do so again.

The survey was fielded between 1/22/11 - 2/3/11, using MerchantCircle's member database. There were 8,456 total responses with 75% from SMBs with 1-4 employees. The slide presentation below presents the basic data; reports discussing the findings will follow.

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