Large Business Versus Small Business Marketing

Here is the transcript of the Large Business Versus Versus Small Business Marketing

IntroductionTracy recording her Large Business Versus Small BusinessMarketing podcast

“Hi, I’m Tracy Heatley.  Thank you for listening to this Be Better With Tracy Heatley podcast episode.   This is your small business marketing and networking podcast.

In this episode, I want to chat to you about the differences between small business and large business marketing.

You May Have Worked In Corporate

You may or may not have worked in a large corporate environment before. Either way, it’s very useful to understand the fundamental differences between small business and large businesses when it comes to marketing because we can learn new ways to improve our own businesses through this powerful knowledge.

The Reason For This Topic

The reason I Want to talk to you about this topic is because during my years as a business radio broadcaster, plus working with my clients, one of the key things that many small business owners have struggled with is the transition from having the ‘security blanket’ of being part of a large business to ‘flying solo’, especially when it comes to marketing.

Why You Set Up In Business

If you’re anything like many of the business owners that I’ve worked with over the years, you will have set your business up because you’ve got an amazing product that you believe in, or you found a gap in the market for your service.

This makes you knowledgeable about your product or you provide and exceptional service and you’re brilliant at what you do.  What it doesn’t mean is that you know everything about running and business and marketing.

I Worked In Corporate

It seems like a million years ago now, but I once worked in corporate. My last corporate role was in the Design & Marketing Centre of a large well-known brand.  A company that is still thriving today.  I think it was around 1999 ish.  I may not be able to remember the exact year that I left, but I do remember the structure, bureaucracy, internal politics and the amazing management structure, operational processes, and scalable efficiencies that the company had.

Making A Business Scalable

Making a business scalable is what some business owners want to achieve. Others are happy to remain small and have a lifestyle business. Either way, marketing efficiently and effectively is crucial. This means that there’s a lot to be said for some elements of large business marketing.  However, I don’t’ know about you, but I’m much without the bureaucracy and internal politics.

Pros And Cons Of Large Business Marketing

So, let’s look at some of the key pros and cons of large business marketing and how we can adapt this to suit your business.

Firstly, the whole marketing department structure within a large business is worlds apart from what you and I are used to as small business marketers.

The Marketing director and or senior leaders will develop the marketing strategy. There will be people constantly looking at ways to develop the strategy to achieve overall business objectives. That’s their full-time role.

There may be product managers looking after different elements of the product portfolio.

There may be a brand manager. Then, there will be someone or a team responsible for marketing communications. This may include an individual or team managing social media, and often 24/7.

If You’re A Small Business Owner…

If you’re a small business owner, all the above may start and stop with you.  Even if you have a marketing ‘person’ conducting the marketing communications like newsletters and social media, for examples, the buck stops with you in terms of objectives and strategy.

With large business marketing it can often take time to have major decision made. There is often a hierarchy of levels and red tape to get through to get things signed off.

There are often substantial marketing budgets. However, sometimes this isn’t monitored closely enough.  There may be a keenness to spend a particular marketing budget because if it is not spent then the following quarter or annual budget may decrease.  This means that sometimes, marketing money may be wasted on ineffective marketing. However, if the overall targets are achieved, then the marketing is considered a success.

Small Business Owners Don’t Have That Luxury

As a small business owner, you don’t have that luxury and it’s vital that every penny counts, so monitoring and evaluating is crucial.

Some of the things I’ve covered in previous episodes will help you to start formulating your strategy and planning, but there’s a bit more to it than that.

Pros And Cons Of Small Business Marketing

The beauty with your small business is that you get to select what you do and don’t want to include for your business.

Marketing Budget

I often hear clients say that they wish they had a large marketing budget like big businesses do. Well, you know what, it’s all relative, those large business also have large overheads.  Plus, marketing is all about being customer orientated. It’s about giving you customers what they require.  Obviously, large successful organisations are doing this. However, as a small business you’re perfectly placed to focus so much more on your customers.

I’m not saying that large businesses don’t do this because they do.  However, it could be that they are making marketing decision based on a particular sample of clients.  Whereas you can really focus on the unique differences and needs of more or all of your customers, and on a more personal scale. The likelihood is that you’re heavily involved with your customers.  Even if you have a team of employees working within your business, you’ll be perfectly placed to assess what’s happening in real time.


Being Agile

This leads me to my next positive point, which is about the ability to be agile and adapt quickly to changes. If there’s one powerful realisation there has been over the last couple of years, it’s how flexible small business are.  Whereas changes can take a long time to implement within a large business. As a small business owner, you might decide to make a change and it’s implemented within weeks or even days.  That’s just not going to happen within a large organisation.

I personally, think this is a big reason, why small businesses were able to adapt so quickly when the pandemic hit in 2020 and why we continue to adapt now. That ability to react and adapt is crucial when it comes to marketing because it means you can continue to meet the requirements of your customer. It means that you’re aware and responsive to internal and external influences, so that you can swerve negative impacts and grab opportunities quickly.

Exploit The Gaps

As a small business you can exploit gaps in the market that larger business either can’t or haven’t filled.  You can react quickly and be initiative-taking by keeping abreast of what’s happening within your industry.   Moreover,  you don’t always need a massive marketing budget.  It’s imperative that you must the right messages, reaching the right people, in the right place, at the right time.

Levels Of Care And Attention

The level of care and attention that you give to your customers is as important to you as it is to your customers. Small businesses tend to have an Aire of genuine authenticity and caring when it comes to interactions with customers. Not because you’re trained to do so, but because you just do!  Again, levels of care and a desire to help your customers can truly set you apart from other larger competitors. This is crucial when it comes to marketing. After all, if your customers are getting the care, attention and service that exceeds their expectations, then they’re unlikely to go elsewhere, even if a lower price was offered.

So, when you’re focusing on your customers journey, have this in mind.  Customers are often less driven by rock bottom prices and more in favour of high service. Not always, but this is true in more instances than a lot of business owners realise.

Happy Employees

In my experience, often, employees tend to be happier and more content within a small business. I often wonder if that’s due to the ease of approaching managers, having flatter organisational structures or perhaps it’s a more relaxed atmosphere.  It’s because they feel more appreciated, acknowledged and listened to.  It’s a whole bunch of things.  Whatever the reasons, this is fundamental to the customer experience.

A large organisation can have the most elite products in the world and be running a tight ship with great processes, but if the employees are unhappy, there is no hiding it, and it will be revealed through the levels of service that the customer receives.

Importance Of Good Leadership And Management

I am no HR specialist by any stretch, but I do understand the importance of good leadership and management and how this can impact marketing. So, get your team fully on board, think about internal marketing, make sure they understand the marketing goals, maintain effective communication with your employees, and your customers will feel the difference when they’re dealing with your business.

If you don’t have any employees, think about how you yourself may be perceived by your customers.  I think it’s perfectly reasonable to say that the attitudes of the people within your business, including you, will determine the aptitude you reach.

Marketing Budgets

I recognise that often larger businesses have larger marketing budgets. However, that doesn’t mean that you can’t reach your target audience, because you can.  Get your strategy, planning, marketing messages right and you will be on your way. The marketing methods you have available to use will depend on your marketing budget, however, there’ lots of ways to reach your audience at a low cost of even for free, so don’t compare and despair when it comes to budget. Let your creative juices flow, so that you can find diverse ways to reach out to your target market. Get the right advice and guidance and you’ll be well on your way to getting your marketing on point.


To summarise, the fundamentals of marketing are the same whether you have a large or small business. However, as a small business you can achieve your marketing desires. Recognising the power of the intangible elements that can impact your customers experiences, will help you on the way to small business marketing success.

As a marketing consultant, mentor and networking trainer and I’m here to help you if you need me. If you have any questions about your small business marketing, get in touch with me via my website and I’ll come back to you.  Plus, I’ll do a podcast or write a blog on the topic for your choice too.

If you would like to take part in this month’s competition to win a free forty-minute online marketing mentoring session with me, all you must do is subscribe to this weekly podcast and leave me a review.

You can subscribe to this podcast on any podcast platform, including iTunes,  Spotify, Amazon Audible.

My name is Tracy Heatley and I thank you for listening to my Be Better With Tracy Heatley Podcast.”

Better Business, Better You!