Marketers Could Lean More Heavily on Small Businesses This Year

All businesses are looking to improve along with the U.S. economy in the coming year, but the ways in which they may do so could change significantly during that time. It seems now that many of the nation's larger companies are hoping to work alongside their smaller competitors to create more sales, but that might be far more easily said than done.

The most recent data suggests that the roughly 23 million small businesses operating nationwide typically make up about 54 percent of all sales in the U.S., but also provide 55 percent of jobs, according to a survey from the CMO Council. That includes the roughly 600,000 franchised small businesses that make up 40 percent of retail sales and employ 8 million people across the country.

With this in mind, many large and well-known companies may look to increase investment in smaller businesses going forward, but some are finding a bit of pushback when they do, the report said. Only 28 percent of major marketers say that they've been able to establish and grow relationships with small companies, and close to half say they have a good rapport with those customers. However, just 22 percent say there is a high level of loyalty or repeat business, and only 36 percent say that these enterprises have a "reasonably positive" view of big businesses.

How are bigger companies approaching the problem?
Today, 36 percent of these larger market participants say that they're trying to improve their experiences with small businesses, and 42 percent have dedicated parts of their operation specifically to working with these companies, the report said. Further, slightly more than half said they are working to develop such a dedicated group, but 35 percent say they've added such focus to their existing operations. Another three in five say that they've put as much as 40 percent of their marketing budgets toward campaigns related to small businesses specifically.

Of course, entrepreneurs might still be a little wary about how working with larger companies will affect their bottom lines, and those who are might want to consider the ways in which they can improve their standings on their own. This could include finding more affordable small business insurance as a way of reducing company expenses. For example, cutting costs on commercial insurance, or workers' compensation coverage, could save companies thousands of dollars per year that can be better invested in other parts of the business.