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The Smallest of Small Businesses Do Their Own Advertising

by | May 24, 2017 | BIA, Blog, SAM, SMBs

One thing has been obvious across the past several waves of BIA/Kelsey’s Local Commerce Monitor™ survey of small businesses — the bigger the small business the more likely they are to choose to have assistance with their digital advertising (the “Do It With Me” model) or for someone to do the work for them (the “Do It For Me” model). Wave 20 of LCM (Q3/2016) is no different, as you can see in the chart below. We looked at digital advertising model preferences of small businesses by number of employees.

Solo or very small businesses (1 full time employee) have a strong preference for the “Do It Myself” (DIY) model. Not surprising, as very small businesses often do the advertising and marketing work themselves out of economic necessity. Once a small business starts adding employees, however, they start preferring paid assistance. The slightly bigger small businesses, those with 2 to 9 full time employees, still greatly prefer DIY to paid assistance models (DIWM/DIFM), but by a smaller margin. The larger small businesses in our survey, those with 10 to 100* full time employees, also still prefer DIY models to paid assistance, but the margin is even smaller.


Very small businesses are generally self-reliant, as money is tight. They also report valuing the low cost, convenience and ease of use of DIY services. Service providers targeting this group of small businesses need to offer, and show the value of, introductory managed services that can relieve them of their DIY burden. Services such as social media monitoring, review monitoring, and presence management will resonant with this group. They also expressed interest in SEO and email marketing.

More information on very small businesses is available in our newly released Solo and Very Small Businesses – Advertising and Marketing Trends report released today. Reports on small businesses with 2 to 9 employees and 10 to 100 employees will be coming in June.


BIA/Kelsey’s LCM, Wave 20 reports can be purchased a la carte in the BIA/Kelsey eStoreOur LCM reports look at where particular SMBs (broken out by size, vertical, etc.) spend the most, as well as the top channels for marketing and advertising. Additionally, our reports provide analysis on the best product and service offers for highly coveted groups of SMBs.

* BIA/Kelsey’s Local Commerce Monitor survey of small businesses looks at businesses with 100 or fewer full time employees.