5 biggest marketing challenges for small businesses

For the last decade at least, technological innovations have completely changed the way businesses operate. With more modern developments, businesses experience many challenges that are entirely different from what they used to face 30 or 40 years ago.  

One of these challenges is the complexity of modern marketing strategies. This limits businesses, especially start-ups and small firms, from effectively competing in the market. 

marketing challenges faced by small businessesThis article walks you through some of the biggest marketing challenges faced by small businesses. But before that, let’s take a quick look at marketing today. 

Marketing in the digital age

These days, most campaigns, especially bigger ones, are run on the internet. But because the world wide web is complex, and not to mention virtually infinite, planning marketing campaigns can come with so many challenges. Digital marketing has also grown to be such a broad field that continues to expand and evolve. To master even just an area in it will take years.

For businesses that can afford the investment, hiring top marketing agencies Manchester is the fastest solution. If you’ve just launched your small business and would like to learn more about the potential challenges you’ll likely face in your brand’s journey, read on.   

What are the marketing challenges faced by small businesses?

1. Lack of leads and visibility

The business world today is primarily digital, with the majority of marketing campaigns ran online. Most small businesses begin their advertising by posting on social media. However, without paid ads, your reach could only go so far. And even if you pay for advertisements, it’ll take a bigger budget and months to years before a significant number of potential customers could be reached. Moreover, not all of the people you reach will be converted into paying customers.

What you can do: Start with small-scale campaigns and focus on smaller goals. Learn about content marketing, build your email list; find out what can make your business stand out and unique, and leverage on that.

2. Limited time and resources

Small businesses are often small for a reason—because they have limited resources. For many business owners, it’s better to invest all their capital into their products. Most of the time, there’s very little allotted for marketing, if there’s even any, to begin with. A limited budget usually also means limited manpower.

What you can do: It’s only a matter of finding a marketing strategy that works but is also well within your budget. Marketing isn’t always expensive, especially when you can be creative. If you have a limited budget, use organic marketing methods. If you don’t have time, outsource tasks. 

3. Fierce competition and saturated market

Whether you use traditional or digital marketing strategies, competing with giants will always seem impossible. Aside from being established already, they also serve a larger share of customers in the market. It’s even more challenging when your market is saturated already.

What you can do: Conduct a competitor analysis to learn more about their best practices that you can adopt. To get an edge, again, leverage your strengths and what makes your brand unique. 

4. Lack of marketing knowledge and experience

A lot of small business owners don’t have a business or marketing degree. It’s become very common for small businesses to just use social media to promote their products and services. If you have a budget for marketing but have been running campaigns without learning and planning first, it may just be a waste of money.

What you can do: You can either hire a marketing agency or a professional marketer. If this is something you can’t afford yet, learn the basics of the type of marketing campaign you want to run. However, if you want to learn faster, it may be more worth your time and money to consult with marketing experts that can guide you in running the best marketing strategies for your business.

5. Keeping up with technology

Technology evolves so fast it’s often difficult to catch up for business owners who want to switch to modern methods. Modern marketing today, especially digital methods, are far more complex than before. 

What you can do: Outsource marketing services that you don’t feel knowledgeable enough about. For example, complex areas in digital marketing that may help your business such as site engine optimisation (SEO) and affiliate marketing.


Starting a business will always come with challenges. However, for small businesses with more constraints in resources, challenges in marketing are often magnified. The good news is, marketing doesn’t always have to be expensive. While it does take time to learn, if you’re a small business owner, simply start and focus on an immediate but realistic goal in the beginning. Proper planning, leveraging your brand’s strengths, and staying updated with the latest and upcoming trends in marketing will be your keys to successful marketing. It’s also worth investing in professional outsourcing services and consulting with marketing experts. But more importantly, learn continuously and use your challenges as your stepping stones to growth and improvement.