2011 Small Business Marketing Forecast


Let’s talk about 2011 marketing trends. You may be saying to yourself,

“The year has just begun–how can there be a trend already?”

In November 2010, Ad-ology Research surveyed 752 small businesses owners in order to study “their attitude toward advertising.”  This annual study gives a snapshot of small business owners’ marketing plans and reveals their expected advertising expenditures for this year.  The 2011 Small Business Marketing Forecast included U.S. businesses with fewer than 100 employees (82 percent of those surveyed had 20 employees or fewer).

2011 Small Business Marketing Plans

Ad-ology discovered small business owners’ continuing drive to pump more resources into various online marketing tactics.  After all, online marketing is cheaper, relatively untapped and has ongoing buzz that can have real bottom-line impact if the business owner has a well-executed plan.

Marketing and 2011 Small Business Forecast

Top Online Marketing Choices

According to Ad-ology’s survey, the top places where small businesses will put their marketing dollars in 2011 are e-mail marketing (72.7 percent in 2011 vs. 56.6 percent in 2010) and company website development (70.5 percent in 2011 vs. 57.7 percent in 2010).

In a social media world, it’s nice to hear that small companies are putting energy into their websites and e-mails.  After all, websites don’t build themselves. And as Tim Berry said in an earlier post on Small Biz Trends, “e-mail is the backbone of social media.”

Optimism and New Advertising

Additionally, the forever optimistic small-business community expects more sales this year (more than 56.2 percent).   Simultaneously, they seem to see some relatively untapped, cost-effective digital options like online videos, as well as increased mobile advertising, as viable marketing options this year.

  • 45 percent of businesses plan to use online video in their marketing in 2011, vs. 28.4 percent in 2010.
  • 35.9 percent of small businesses surveyed plan to use mobile advertising in 2011, vs. 21.3 percent in 2010.

Only time will tell whether these goals come to pass, but since more days of 2011 are ahead of us than behind us, seeing what other small businesses plan to do can be a gift for the strategist.  How will you market yourself in 2011?

Learn More

If you’d like to know more about business marketing plans for 2011, the full report is available at the Ad-ology resource store. They also have a cool website filled with Marketing Forecast tidbits and insights.  This is not as extensive as the full report, but you may find an article or two that is relevant to your industry.



Anita Campbell Anita Campbell is the Founder, CEO and Publisher of Small Business Trends and has been following trends in small businesses since 2003. She is the owner of BizSugar, a social media site for small businesses.