Lack of Marketing Knowledge Plagues Almost Half of Small Business Owners

A recent study has revealed that nearly 50 percent of small business owners are completely unaware of how to effectively market their firms. The research, which surveyed 500 leaders of small to medium-sized organizations, found that 42 percent had no idea how to create an online profile, a key element in promoting their businesses. Shockingly, 39 percent of the entrepreneurs polled didn’t even have a company website.

Among those who did have a website, 10 percent sought help from a friend to set it up, while 5 percent relied on family members. Surprisingly, 60 percent of business owners hadn’t even considered using social media as an advertising platform.

The study, commissioned by Adzooma, a digital marketing platform utilizing AI technology to assist businesses in succeeding online, shed light on the challenges faced by small business owners in the digital marketing realm. Rob Wass, director and co-founder of Adzooma, commented on the findings, stating, “We’re currently undergoing an unprecedented digital transformation, making digital marketing and online advertising more crucial than ever before. As businesses increasingly move online, it’s not surprising that around 50 percent of small business owners struggle with marketing, as it can be complex and challenging for those not well-versed in digital marketing techniques.”

Despite their lack of knowledge, many business owners are taking steps to market their services. This includes setting up a website (35 percent), creating a social media profile (33 percent), and utilizing social media advertising (31 percent). Additionally, 26 percent of owners actively seek online reviews from their customers, while 20 percent specifically target local media and participate in online communities.

The study also revealed that although entrepreneurs hadn’t invested in paid advertising on social media, 80 percent regularly utilized platforms like Facebook (73 percent) and Instagram (59 percent) to promote their products and services. However, only 20 percent posted regularly on LinkedIn, half the number compared to Facebook.

While some business owners were unfamiliar with SEO (Search Engine Optimization) and its functionalities, with 30 percent having no idea about it, 39 percent expressed their interest in implementing an SEO strategy to enhance their business’s Google rankings.

In terms of advertising budgets, the results indicated that 36 percent of business owners allocate at least 10 percent of their revenue for advertising purposes, while 20 percent increase this figure to a minimum of 25 percent.

When it comes to marketing a business online, 37 percent consider a website as the best way to guide customers in finding them or learning about their brand. Meanwhile, one-third value a social media presence, while others prioritize advertising on social media, online reviews, and maintaining an offline presence.

However, nearly half of business owners (49 percent) admitted that their businesses could have achieved greater sales if they had effectively marketed themselves online. David Sharpe, co-founder of Adzooma, emphasized the importance of online marketing, stating, “Establishing an online presence to gain visibility and expand client exposure is invaluable in today’s market. Having no online presence at all poses a significant risk to sales and long-term relationships. It’s understandable that business owners struggle with this aspect as they may not possess marketing expertise. That’s where Adzooma comes in—to make digital marketing accessible and straightforward for businesses of all sizes.”


  1. Setting up a website
  2. Creating a social media profile
  3. Utilizing social media advertising
  4. Encouraging online reviews
  5. Creating an online listing
  6. Advertising in local media
  7. Joining online communities
  8. Distributing flyers locally
  9. Utilizing directories
  10. Implementing search engine optimization (SEO)
  11. Running Google Ads / PPC (Pay-per-click) campaigns
  12. Using content marketing
  13. Employing SEO strategies
  14. Establishing a blog
  15. Participating in local/online events
  16. Utilizing influencer marketing
  17. Advertising in national media
  18. Running Microsoft Ads / PPC campaigns (formerly Bing)
  19. Microsoft Search Engine Marketing
  20. Seeking assistance from a marketing agency

Sam Allcock

Sam Allcock is the founder of PR Fire. He helps small to medium-sized businesses land coverage in publications through smart press release distribution.

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