Constant contact highlights SMB marketing struggles

New report shows small businesses face challenges with confidence, time, and knowledge in marketing efforts

Constant contact highlights SMB marketing struggles

Today, Constant Contact, a well-known digital marketing and automation platform that supports millions of small businesses and nonprofits worldwide, released its latest Small Business Now report.

This report, compiling insights from over 1,300 small businesses in the US, UK, Australia, and Canada, highlights the struggles small businesses face in marketing themselves effectively. The common challenges include low confidence, time constraints, and insufficient marketing knowledge.

The report indicates that while over 300 million small businesses globally recognize the necessity of marketing for differentiation and customer engagement, many feel overwhelmed.

There is a prevalent concern among small businesses about the adequacy of their marketing strategies in contributing to their business goals. Many are uncertain about the best methods to communicate with customers and often lack the time needed to execute effective marketing campaigns, leading to a cycle of procrastination.

Sarah Jordan, chief marketing officer at Constant Contact, commented on the findings. “Small business owners are usually much more passionate about their products and services than they are about marketing, but they still need to attract and retain customers to grow,” she said.

“Our research shows that while most recognize the importance of marketing, they often lack the time and expertise to be effective. Constant Contact is committed to providing tools that automate marketing to help our customers achieve better results more efficiently.”

 Economic Concerns Impact Confidence in Marketing

 The economic climate is a growing concern for small businesses, with 81 percent of those surveyed worried about its potential negative impacts. Small businesses in the UK express the highest level of concern, with 32 percent being very worried about the economy.

Additionally, 73 percent of small businesses report a lack of confidence in the effectiveness of their marketing strategies. To address this uncertainty, 39 percent plan to increase their marketing budgets this year, with 46 percent expecting to spend at least 10 percent more.

Time Constraints Limit Marketing Efforts

Daily operational demands often overshadow marketing efforts among small businesses. Fifty-six percent of respondents have only an hour or less each day to dedicate to marketing, and 34 percent see marketing more efficiently as a key opportunity for improvement.

Canadian businesses report the least amount of time available for marketing. Furthermore, 52 percent of small businesses admit they routinely prioritize other activities over marketing, with Australian businesses most likely to procrastinate on marketing tasks.

Knowledge Gaps Hinder Growth

Despite recognizing the need to acquire new customers, many small businesses are unsure which marketing channels to use, what strategies are most effective, or how to enhance their campaigns.

Sixty percent cite acquiring new customers as their top marketing challenge, followed by understanding what's working (33 percent) and a lack of resources (32 percent).

Thirty-seven percent of surveyed SMBs believe that using the right marketing channels is their biggest area of opportunity this year, and 41 percent plan to expand their use of marketing channels in 2024.

Although 82 percent agree that using multiple marketing channels leads to better results, only 16 percent feel confident they are using the correct channels to reach their customers. Australian SMBs particularly cite a lack of knowledge as the main barrier to using more marketing channels effectively.