It’s an age-old question encountered by every marketer; do marketing tactics utilized for local or small business work for a much larger company? Is there a cutoff?

Naturally, marketers begin their careers servicing small businesses or startups; its an easier sell, there is less money on the line, and the expectations are much lower. It’s how I started; for exactly the same reasons. And it is true – in the sales sense, its always easier to sell to a smaller company than a bigger one – the decision-making hierarchy is smaller, the players more identifiable, the needs – right there out in the open.

But does that carry over into marketing? Well, the answer is more complicated. Let’s run through the individual differences and get a basic perspective on the description of marketing techniques as you grow and graduate.

1. The Budgets Are Larger

To the novice, a larger budget for ads can seem like a massive opportunity. But in many cases, campaigns that worked with a small, niche audience become wasteful as budgets get larger. The conversion ratio goes down, and those CPA #s go up faster than your bank account

Any startup founder who has spent lots of money on Facebook in the early stages know this “plateau” stage of PPC intimately.

You’re going to need a lot more time to spend on splitting and dividing campaigns into different groups; testing more creatives, and so on and so forth. Planning becomes a necessity, no longer just a beneficial factor.

2. There Are More Human Variables

With a small business, generally, there is only one marketer – or in many cases, there are none. You’re working with one or two decision-makers, maximum, and the extent of the internal implementation team is generally one content-specific intern or junior manager.

As marketing campaigns and programs increase in size, the chances are greater that a marketing team will expand; not only will you have to create and execute strategy; you’ll have to get others to execute on the strategy. And that’s almost never easy…

3. The Products Are More Differentiated

Really, in most cases, if you look at a Fortune 1000 company – you’re generally looking at a company that has multiple – if not many – product lines. In reality, you’re actually marketing a number of small companies – and this is a great way to look at it. Each product should have its strategy developed and implemented separately.

So small business marketing is kind of like training wheels for the major leagues; what you learn generally applies at the higher levels. That being said, while the strategy is similar, the pace is different, the problems are greater, and the complications more frequent – don’t jump from a $5k monthly ad-spend to a $500k monthly spend in one week.


Looking for marketing content? Starting an agency? Trying to grow your startup? The fundamentals are all the same; check out my recently released course, The Marketing MVP for the blueprint for marketing success from a no bs, high-velocity marketer. I tested everything so you don’t have too.

I’m always open to training and discussion – book me on for more.

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