When I started my first marketing company in 2007, social media was just beginning to catch on as a viable communication channel for marketing to consumers and businesses alike. After successfully selling that company in 2011 and starting a new digital marketing agency later that year, the online landscape has changed significantly for small business owners. Email marketing company Constant Contact recently surveyed small business owners and asked how running a small business today, differs from just 5 years ago.
Need a refresher on what was happening 5 years ago?
- Top Political Event: Barack Obama elected President
- Top Buzz Word: Change
- Top Financial Collapse: Lehman
- Top Movie: Wall-E
- Top Sports Moment: Tiger Woods’ U.S. Open Win
Running a Small Business Hasn’t Gotten Any Easier
- 59% say it’s harder to run a business today
- 30% say it’s the same
- 12% say it was harder then
Small Business who think it’s harder point to:
- 55% The Economy
- 49% Keep pace with technology
- 40% More competition
The 3 biggest differences in doing business then vs. now
- 84% Use more online marketing tools
- 59% Economic uncertainty
- 27% Use more automated business solutions
Supporting Local Business – Is being locally owned important to customers? More small businesses are saying Yes! (42% vs 51%)
Top concerns of small businesses
Then / Now – Getting new customers (78% / 75%), Low on Time (61% / 65%), Keeping customers (49% / 58%)
The Right Tool for the right marketing job (Then/ Now)
- Email Marketing (64% / 98%)
- Online Directories (21% / 36%)
- Event Marketing (20% / 44%)
- Social Media Marketing (10% / 87%)
The growing importance of word of mouth can’t be overshadowed. It’s no coincidence that the rise in social media coincides with a rise in importance of word of mouth. Social media is amplifying word of mouth referrals.
I’m always interested to hear how other companies have embraced change over the past decade, please leave your comments below.