5 Keys to Marketing Success (According to Our Survey)

7 min read
Oct 11, 2021

If you’re not fully satisfied with your company’s marketing strategy, we’ve identified five factors that could make a difference.

Zach CapersSr. Content Analyst

Your business relies on marketing to engage consumers and let them know about your products or services. But our research finds that only 34% of small-business leaders say they are very satisfied with their company’s marketing efforts. The remainder are either somewhat or not satisfied with their marketing efforts.

company's marketing efforts

(See our survey methodology at the bottom of the page.)

If you're one of those unsatisfied marketers, you're probably wondering what those one in three businesses are doing differently.

Read on to discover the five factors that our research says makes the difference in marketing satisfaction.

1. Make as many of your products and services available online as possible

Last year, we found that 92% of small businesses pivoted their business model in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The top pivot by far (58%) was adding a new online sales channel, such as taking orders directly on your website or selling through an online marketplace.

Our recent research finds that companies with all of their products and services available to purchase online are nearly twice as likely to say they are very satisfied (50%) with their marketing efforts as those that only offer some or none (26%).

So not only is it crucial to have an online sales channel, but it’s also important to make as many of your products and services as possible available online.

If you need help getting an online sales channel up and running, check out our eCommerce Category Leaders report to compare top-rated tools.

And if you already have your inventory online, learn how to optimize your online sales with these resources:

2. Include content marketing a part of your strategy

Content marketing generates demand for your business, helps build awareness of your brand, and signals expertise in your field. It’s also more effective than you might realize.

A full 58% of very satisfied marketers use a content marketing strategy, compared to only 44% of those only somewhat or not satisfied marketers.

To develop a content marketing strategy, learn as much as you can about your customers, research other content within your industry, and consider which formats work best for your target audience (e.g., blog post, video, ebooks). Then set metrics for how you will evaluate your content’s success so that you can optimize your process moving forward.

If you’re just beginning content marketing, one place to start is to select search engine optimization (SEO) software. SEO tools help you understand how your content ranks on search engine results pages (SERPs), the search terms your audience uses to find your content, and what your competition is writing about.

To learn more about how SEO can help your company, read our recent article: "How to Increase Online Sales Through Organic Traffic."

Category leaders report

Check out our unbiased, data-driven Content Marketing Category Leaders report to compare features and evaluate tools.

3. Focus marketing efforts on digital channels

There’s still a place for traditional marketing through channels such as print, direct mail, and broadcast media, but a successful digital marketing strategy has never been more crucial. Three in five (61%) very satisfied marketers are focusing most of their efforts on digital channels, while only 42% of less satisfied marketers are doing the same.

primary focus of marketing efforts

In contrast, significantly more unsatisfied marketers rely on an even mix of traditional and digital marketing. If you’ve been holding out on tipping your marketing plan toward a stronger focus on digital, our data suggests now might be the time to change that ratio—and a good place to start is social media marketing.

Of those businesses focusing primarily on digital marketing strategies, a full three in four (75%) are spending their efforts on social media advertising.

In short, shift your focus to digital channels, and consider increasing focus on social media marketing. To get started, visit our social media marketing software catalog.

4. Adopt software to automate and simplify your workflows

Marketing automation software streamlines marketing campaigns by automating and tracking repetitive marketing tasks. Our survey finds that 56% of very satisfied marketers use marketing automation software, compared to only 37% of those somewhat or not satisfied.

Similarly, 53% of those very satisfied use customer service software compared to only 34% somewhat or not satisfied. Customer service software helps your company interact with customers across multiple channels, resolve issues, and provide self-service options, all from a single platform.

Surprisingly, our survey found that one in three (33%) small businesses have not adopted any digital marketing software. If yours is one of these, check out our recent report to get started: "What Marketing Tasks Should I Automate?"

5. Increase your marketing budget—even a small amount could make a big difference

The number and variety of marketing channels has exploded in recent years, complicating and straining marketing budgets. It makes sense, then, that the top marketing challenge our respondents are facing is their marketing budget (88%).

When broken down among our two groups, only 31% of highly-satisfied marketers spend less than $1,000 per month on marketing, compared to 44% of less-satisfied marketers.

On a similar note, our marketing technology survey found that 48% of small and midsize businesses have increased their marketing technology budget since early 2020. Only 8% report decreasing their marketing technology budget.

Of course, it makes a big difference how and where you spend that marketing budget. Our research finds that if you do choose to add a bit more to your marketing budget, you should consider using it to:

  • Optimize your online sales channel

  • Invest in content marketing strategies

  • Increase focus on digital marketing channels

  • Adopt cloud-based marketing software

If your marketing budget is already maxed out, you can always take advantage of free marketing software or tools that offer a free trial.

Want to know more about marketing trends?

Survey Methodology

GetApp’s Marketing Trends Survey was conducted in April 2021 among 455 U.S.-based respondents to learn more about marketing and technology trends. Respondents were screened for decision-making roles in sales, marketing, or customer service at companies with 2 to 250 employees.

GetApp’s 2021 Marketing Technology Survey was conducted February 18-25, 2021 among 344 respondents to learn more about the use of marketing technology tools by small and midsize businesses. Respondents were screened for leadership positions at companies in healthcare, IT services, marketing/CRM, retail/eCommerce, software/web development, or AI/ML.

About the author

Zach Capers

Sr. Content Analyst

I’m a senior content analyst at GetApp where I've been covering security and tech trends since 2018. The one tech trend I think you should keep an eye on: How emerging data privacy laws are impacting the ad tech industry.

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