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U.S. Small Businesses Are Projected to Spend $36B on Marketing Activities in 2012

Total marketing spending by U.S. small businesses (SBs, or companies with fewer than 100 employees) will expand in 2012, as an increased number of firms invests in advertising and promotional activities. According to New York-based Access Markets International (AMI) Partners, Inc., overall spending is expected to grow 4% rebounding from 2010 recessionary lows.

These findings from AMI’s 2010 - 2011 U.S. Small Business Marketing Activity and Spending Study reveal that apart from social media marketing, which is estimated to grow a considerable 35%, most marketing categories are still slowly rebounding from the economic downturn.

“In 2010, we saw a significant drop in the number of small businesses actively investing in any marketing activities,” says Jacqueline Atkinson, Research Manager at AMI New York. “Boosted confidence in the economy is leading many firms to return to advertising and promotional tactics and experiment with new channels, such as online digital media,” Atkinson continued.

The study, which provides an in-depth analysis of U.S. SB present and future marketing trends, also uncovers that while print media accounts for the bulk of small business marketing spending, the market is rapidly shifting dollars to online and social media. In fact, U.S. SB Internet-based marketing was the channel least impacted by the economic recession.

“Much of small business online marketing behavior is reflective of what they are accustomed to doing offline,” notes Ms. Atkinson. “For instance, instead of printed directories, many U.S. SBs are now buying listings in online directories—while the source is new, the strategy is the same. Internet advertisers, who offer a departure from traditional models, will have to do a lot of hand holding to capture a greater proportion of U.S. SB online spending,” stated Atkinson.

This study is a part of AMI’s SMB Marketing Advisory Practice, which provides research-based market intelligence and essential guidance on maximizing SMB sales and marketing programs and spending. Additional research topics include social media, mobile marketing, and the influence of information sources.

About the Study

AMI’s 2010 - 2011 U.S. Small Business Marketing Activity and Spending provides an in-depth analysis of the marketing mix used by U.S. SBs including over 20 marketing channels with specific spending information for each. In addition, the study identifies trends around social media marketing and e-commerce activity.

The overall market sizing data in this report has been determined through an extrapolation of survey finds, secondary research information, and AMI-Partners’ proprietary small and medium business (SMB) Global Model and U.S. small business marketing forecast model.

For more information about this study, AMI-Partners, or our global SMB research, call 212-944-5100, e-mail ask_ami@ami-partners.com or visit the AMI Web site at www.ami-partners.com.

About Access Markets International (AMI) Partners, Inc.

AMI-Partners specializes in IT, Internet, telecommunications and business services strategy, venture capital, and actionable market intelligence — focusing on global small and medium business (SMB) enterprises. The AMI-Partners mission is to empower clients for success with the highest-quality data, business planning and go-to-market solutions. AMI was founded in 1996. Since its inception, the firm has built a world-class management team, each with ten to fifteen years’ experience in IT, telecom, online communications or multimedia.

AMI-Partners has helped shape the go-to-market SMB strategies of more than 150 leading IT, Internet, telecommunications and business services companies. The firm is well known for its IT and Internet adoption-based segmentation of the SMB markets; its annual retainership services based on global SMB tracking surveys in more than 30 countries; and its proprietary database of SMBs and SMB channel partners in the Americas, Europe and Asia-Pacific. The firm invests significantly in collecting survey-based information from several thousand SMBs annually, and is considered the premier source for global SMB trends and analysis.

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