A recent survey conducted by Constant Contact looked at:

Marketing activities small businesses are currently outsourcing:

  • TV and radio ad creation 40%
  • SEO (search engine optimization) 35%
  • Online banner ads 23%
  • website development 22%
  • local print ads 20%

Marketing activities that were most likely to be performed in house include:

  • email newsletters
  • social media outreach (both with only 3 percent of companies outsourcing)

According to the survey, Internet marketing activities are among the top activities that small businesses tend to handle in house but would prefer to outsource. At the top of the list is social media marketing, which currently is only outsourced 3 percent of the time, with 19 percent of respondents indicating that this was an activity they would want to outsource (a 16 percent gap). Second is SEO, with a 15 percent difference between those who outsource and those who prefer to (35 percent and 50 percent respectively).

The survey also looked into the reasons why respondents weren’t outsourcing. The most common reason cited for not choosing to outsource the various marketing activities was that the company couldn’t afford it due to budget constraints. Another common reason to keep marketing activities in-house was that the company owner felt they had enough internal bandwidth to cover it and that outsourcing wouldn’t be the most efficient use of resources. Other reasons cited include an inability to find effective external outsourcing options and a lack of knowledge concerning the external resources that were available.

This 2013 Constant Contact survey was based on data collected from 1,305 U.S. small businesses and nonprofit entities. The Constant Contact Small Biz Council is a research panel of U.S. small businesses and nonprofits recruited from the Constant Contact customer base.


Nanji, Ayaz. “What Marketing Activities Do Small Businesses Outsource?” Marketing Profs: Real-World Education for Modern Marketers. 9/23/13.