After making a decision to start a small business, the most important issue is probably the starting capital, which in most cases isn’t very high. How to distribute the money among the many aspects of the business is no easy matter. Of course, investing in the product is a top priority but if no one hears or knows about your product, generating revenues will be difficult, to say the least. That’s where marketing comes in.
Zoomerang, in cooperation with Growbiz Media, distributed a survey among small businesses regarding their 2010 marketing budgets, and tools & technologies used in marketing. 731 companies answered the survey, from all across the United States, with the majority of them (90%) employing less than 25 people, and 95% employing less than 100 people.
Probably the most interesting finding is that over half of the businesses have a marketing budget of less than $1,000. 20% more have less than $9,000. Over half of the businesses (54%) have their own website as well, although mostly as an information platform for the costumer. One thing the survey didn’t specify is the nature of the business. There is no cross section data among different types of business. For example, a car dealership will spend a lot more money in event marketing and in-store promotions than an online store that sells dog food.
Overall, the internet is the leading marketing media among almost all businesses, with print media coming close behind (including direct mail which is a form of print media). 35% of the surveyed are using some form of social media for marketing, and among the leading social media are Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.
Most of the marketing budget is derived of course from the target population of the business. A growing number of people in the US (especially in the 18-35 age groups) are watching more shows online than on TV (via services such as ZULU) and listen to their iPod in the car instead of the radio. However, they spend many hours on Facebook and Twitter, carrying it everywhere on their smartphones. Also, with the dominance of eBay and alike, a lot of stores decided there is no point in paying rent and maintaining a store when everything can be done as easily and effectively online.
Another recent survey indicated that 93% of businesses (not necessarily small businesses) say that social media is becoming an increasingly important part of their marketing mix. 2011 saw a widespread adoption of social media marketing. 2012 is set to be the year when social media marketing becomes fundamental and fully integrated into brand strategy. Small businesses must take it into account when portraying their marketing strategy.