2015 Small Business Marketing Priorities

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Survey Results: Brand Awareness, Budget Decisions, & More

Forward Push surveyed 100 American business owners (50 employees or less) to learn more about their 2015 small business marketing priorities. This article is part of a series to take a closer look at the results, including the decided emphasis on brand awareness.

Question 1: What are your small business marketing priorities for 2015?

Participants were asked to rank their multiple-choice answers from top to bottom. Based on average ranking, the overall results for small and medium marketing priorities were as follows:

  • #1 Increasing & improving brand awareness (2.21)
  • #2 Subscriber acquisition (3.37)
  • #3 Driving increased conversion rates (3.68)
  • #4 Channel expansion by adding new digital marketing channels (3.85)
  • #5 Testing and optimization (3.88)
  • #6 Improving measurement and results of digital channels (4.01)

Question 2: What is your marketing budget for 2015?

Participants were asked to choose between keeping their budget the same, increasing their budget, or decreasing their budget. Based on percentage, the overall results were as follows:

  • 49% Stay the same
  • 47% Increase budget
  • 5% Decrease budget

Analysis: Brand Awareness Is A Top Marketing Priority

Results show that brand awareness is the most important marketing priority for small and medium businesses. By brand awareness, we mean:

  • Building brand exposure
  • Creating positive identification with your message and image
  • Encouraging long-term customer relationships

small-business-marketing-prioritiesBrand awareness is the key to building customer loyalty, as it creates recognition beyond a single purchase. Strong brand awareness generates a de facto association with a service/product need, and encourages word-of-mouth grassroots marketing.

The next three items on the list are all ranked within the 3.X level. Not surprisingly, they all focus on creating direct engagement:

  • Subscriber acquisition: Increasing the number of regular and direct exposure to blogs/eblasts/social media/etc.
  • Conversion rates: Increasing the rate at which people convert from asking questions/browsing to purchasing.
  • Digital channels: Increasing the digital avenues available for exposure (i.e., new social media accounts, adding an email newsletter, etc.)

These items also support brand awareness by engaging the end viewer/reader. To maximize brand awareness potential, customers need to receive regular content to drive their decisions and opinions of your brand. All of this integrates together into one larger goal of creating a successful brand.

Analysis: 2015 Sees Strong Investment In Marketing

Poll results show that most small and medium businesses are prioritizing a similar or greater marketing budget. This is indicative of a recovering economy but also acknowledging a fast-moving market with customer decisions driven by brand reputation built by social media, review sites, and instant smartphone access to websites and research. In short, marketing covers more avenues and requires more attention than ever before — but it creates long-term loyalty and rewards. Related to this, a recent report showed similar results but emphasized the current focus on digital marketing needs.

Looking Ahead: Executing Your Marketing Priorities

This survey proves that increasing brand awareness through content and engagement is the top choice of small businesses owners. The next step forward, then, is to consider which methods work best for reaching your specific target audience.

2015 Small Business Marketing Priorities is one of four parts breaking down Forward Push’s 2015 marketing survey. To learn more about how small and medium businesses are approaching their 2015 marketing needs, download the full guide.

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By Marc Apple

Marc Apple is recognized as a leader in the marketing industry and has 20+ years of experience helping businesses of all sizes improve their digital marketing. He specializes in website design, SEO, social media, and paid search programs. He is a frequent contributor to other marketing websites and speaks regularly about marketing to small business owners and startups. To learn about Marc and to contact him, visit his author bio page.


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