58 Percent of Small Businesses Spend 5 Hours or Less on Marketing

2019 Small Business Marketing Challenges

How much time do you spend on marketing for your small business? A new survey carried out by OutboundEngine reveals 58% spend five hours or less on marketing. And stress is a major contributing factor for how much time small business owners spend.

Titled “Stress, Time & Growth: Factors Affecting Small Business Marketing in 2019,” the report looks at the marketing strategies of small businesses. And according to OutboundEngine, the complexities of today’s small business ecosystem is making marketing much more difficult.

The complexity is driven by the sheer number of options available to businesses in marketing today. For small business owners who don’t have the knowledge base or the budget to capitalize on these options, it can indeed create a stressful environment.

In the report (PDF), Marc Pickren, CEO, OutboundEngine, says marketing is a key factor in driving the growth or slowdown of a business. And business owners must commit to investing in their marketing efforts.

Pickerin goes on to say “There are now numerous technologies to help small businesses automate their marketing, but even those take a weekly commitment that small business owners just don’t have time for.”

2019 Small Business Marketing Challenges

For most small business owners, marketing is not their primary skill set. And if they don’t have the budget or in-house talent to carry out the task, it becomes a problem. This inevitably creates a stressful environment for small businesses.

In the survey, 62% of owners said they are as or more stressed about their business in 2019 than they were last year. And the lack of resources seems to be the biggest hurdle to overcome when it comes to marketing. This includes finances, knowledge, and talent.

The problem of finances was stated by 28.5% of the respondents who say they just don’t have enough money. This was followed by 22.39% with not enough time and another 14.25% who can’t identify the best marketing tactic for their business.

Others said they don’t have the staff they need (11.96%) and they don’t know where their customers are (2.80%).

When it comes to spending on marketing, more than half or 54.45% spend 5% or less of their revenue. And only 4.33% spend greater than 20% of their revenue on marketing. But according to the survey, businesses who spend more on marketing experienced higher growth rates.

Finding the balance between spending the right amount of money and time is key. But it is not as simple as that.

How Much Time are Businesses Spending on Marketing?

Small businesses are not spending the necessary time on marketing to get the results they need. With 58.27% spending less than five hours per week, the data shows owners clearly give other parts of their business operations a higher priority.

Only 4.33% of owners spend more than 20 hours per week. Another 5.34% spend 15 to 20 hours and 22.14% spend 5 to 10 hours each week devoted to marketing.

With more business owners spending less time on marketing, it is not surprising their growth is suffering. But the survey shows a clear correlation between spending more time and higher growth.

In 2018 more than 79% of respondents who spent 5 to 10 hours per week on marketing reported revenue growth. For those who spent less than five hours per week, the number goes down to 52%.

Marketing and Small Business

With so many challenges, where are small businesses finding success with their marketing strategies?

For the majority of the respondents or 39.72%, organic social media is delivering for them. In the digital realm, this was followed by paid social media (17.22%), email marketing (9.72%), and digital advertising (8.06%). Traditional advertising came in at 11.67%, followed by events with 13.61%.

The issue of time still persists for businesses who have found social media to be a successful marketing strategy. More than half (52%) said organic social media is the greatest time-suck for them, followed by events and paid social media at 15 and 13 percent respectively.

According to OutboundEngine, small businesses can overcome these challenges by deploying marketing automation solutions. The operational framework this technology has introduced is giving small business owners more bang for their investment.

By relieving owners from the time-consuming maintenance of customer engagement and other marketing tasks, it will get rid of the stresses of running their business.

The Survey

OutboundEngine carried out the survey with the participation of more than 350 small and medium-size business owners in February 2019. The businesses were based in the U.S., and the goal of the survey was to explorer marketing related topics.

The survey looked into how business owners felt about the future success of their enterprise by exploring their sentiment toward and knowledge of marketing. This includes tactics and time management preferences along with other stressors and concerns.

Image: Depositphotos.com

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Michael Guta Michael Guta is the Assistant Editor at Small Business Trends and currently manages its East African editorial team. Michael brings with him many years of content experience in the digital ecosystem covering a wide range of industries. He holds a B.S. in Information Communication Technology, with an emphasis in Technology Management.

5 Reactions
  1. That’s tough. Clearly, marketing grows revenue, but it appears that there are always more pressing things for small business owners to do. It speaks to the importance of bringing in good marketing talent, either on staff or as freelancers.

  2. Hi David,
    You are right.

    Highlighting the importance of marketing for small business owners is absolutely essential, especially with all the available tools they have at their disposal today.

  3. This is good. This means that most of the process is automated or outsourced.

  4. Yes you are right marketing should be the main concern for small business completely agree with that.

  5. The top challenges for small businesses include client dependence, money management, and founder dependence, among others. You have shared an amazing detailed report.