Report: Digital Media Driving Increase in SMB Marketing Budgets

Since 2013, the percentage of SMBs who plan on increasing marketing budgets has grown 12 percentage points each year. According to the 2015 Small Business Outlook report released today by the Local Search Association (LSA), this year one-in-three SMBs plan on increasing marketing budgets over the next 12 months.

There has been a definite shift in the marketing budget expectations among SMBs. With 85% of SMBs expecting sales to remain the same or improve this year, increasing marketing budgets appear to be in part due to sales optimism. Another potential influence on this increase in spend is a steady growth in the perception that digital media is an effective means (or necessary evil) of reaching customers.


As the chart above shows, the top eight marketing tactics in regards to planned spending increases all represent digital media. Whether a function of more digital confidence and understanding, or meager investments in the past, the move to digital is compelling.

On the other end of the spectrum, seven of the 10 tactics that will see the least amount of growth represent traditional media.  However, these traditional outlets trend a few percentage points higher than digital in regards to “stay the same.” In other words, digital is growing faster than traditional is shrinking.

The report provides a comprehensive look at SMB expectations and needs. The data leads to many interesting conclusions about the state of SMB marketing and offers the following takeaways with statistical support to back each up:

  • SMBs expect increases in sales and marketing budgets over the next 12 months.
  • SMBs continue to focus on digital solutions.
  • SMBs need help with digital media and rate current providers poorly.
  • SMBs want accountable marketing activities.
  • Marketing providers that focus on the SMBs’ needs will win.

This survey was conducted in February 2015. A sample of 3,938 small business owners/members was drawn with 716 usable responses received.

LSA members and research subscribers receive discounted or free access to select reports. To see if you receive access to this report contact us.

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