U.S. small businesses: marketing spending 2017

The majority of small businesses in the United States in 2017 devoted less than 10 thousand U.S. dollars to marketing activities. Only about eight percent said they put aside one million dollars or more towards a marketing budget. Some 25 percent invested between just 10 and 100 thousand in promotional undertakings, suggesting that small business equals generally equates to a smaller marketing spending.

Small business marketing usage

For the most part, SMEs in the U.S. indicate using digital and social media for advertising and promotion purposes. Owing to its reach, referral potential and low cost, social media seems to be the obvious choice for business with limited marketing budgets. In fact, about half of surveyed small businesses in the country were spending on social media in 2017, with the largest share placing focus on investments into their websites. When asked about who is responsible for all these marketing processes and spending decisions, the majority (64 percent) responded that the owner was taking care of all marketing efforts, while in comparison a quarter of surveyed SMEs said that marketing was a team effort but there was no dedicated full-time position for that purpose.

Small businesses marketing budgets in the United States in 2017

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Release date

March 2018


United States

Survey time period


Number of respondents

351 small business owners

Special properties

businesses with fewer than 500 employees

Method of interview

Online survey

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Statistics on "SME marketing in the U.S."

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