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New Research from Constant Contact Reveals Small Businesses Struggle to Market Effectively Due to Low Confidence, Limited Time, and Lack of Knowledge



73 percent lack confidence in their marketing strategies, and 81 percent are nervous the current economy could negatively impact their business.

WALTHAM, Mass., April 23, 2024 /PRNewswire/ — Today, Constant Contact, a digital marketing and automation platform that has helped millions of small businesses and nonprofits globally, issued its latest Small Business Now report. Featuring insights from over 1,300 small businesses in the United States, United Kingdom, Australia and Canada, the findings reveal most small businesses struggle to market themselves effectively due to low confidence, time constraints, and insufficient marketing knowledge.

With more than 300 million small businesses (SMBs) in the world, marketing is essential for differentiation and conveying value to customers. However, Constant Contact’s Small Business Now report reveals a concerning trend — many small businesses feel overwhelmed by marketing, and they are not confident that their current strategy is contributing to their business goals. Uncertainty about the best methods for communicating with customers and a lack of time to execute campaigns fuel a cycle of procrastination that prevents small businesses from reaching their potential.

“Small business owners are usually much more passionate about their products and services than they are about marketing, but they still need to attract and retain customers to grow,” said Sarah Jordan, chief marketing officer at Constant Contact. “Our research shows that while most SMBs recognize the importance of marketing, they often lack the time and expertise to be effective, especially in the rapidly evolving digital landscape. Constant Contact is committed to providing easy, yet powerful, tools that automate marketing to help our customers achieve better results in less time.”

Confidence is Low, Driven in Part by Economic Concerns

The economy is a bigger concern than in 2023, and small businesses aren’t sure their marketing is effective. To account for that uncertainty and keep up, they expect to spend more time and resources on marketing this year.

  • 81 percent of SMBs surveyed are concerned the current economy could negatively impact their business.
  • Small businesses in the UK report the highest level of concern about the economy (32 percent are very concerned) compared to other countries polled.
  • 73 percent of small businesses surveyed show a lack of confidence in the effectiveness of their marketing strategy.
  • 39 percent of SMBs surveyed plan to increase their marketing budgets this year, and 46% expect to spend at least 10% more.

There Isn’t Enough Time to Prioritize Marketing

The daily responsibilities of small businesses often overshadow marketing efforts. When they do find the time, they say it takes too long, which leads them to procrastinate on the things that could make a big impact.

  • 56 percent of SMBs surveyed say they only have an hour or less each day to spend on marketing, and 34 percent feel marketing more efficiently is an area of opportunity.
  • Small businesses in Canada report the least time available for marketing of any country polled.
  • 52 percent routinely put off marketing in favor of other activities, with Australian SMBs the most likely to procrastinate. Comparatively, their counterparts in the U.S. are least likely to put off marketing tasks.
  • The most time-consuming marketing tasks are posting on social media (51 percent), planning and strategy (40 percent) and determining what’s working (35 percent). Those are also the areas small businesses are most likely to avoid.

Knowledge Gaps Prevent Growth

Small businesses understand that they need to acquire customers, but they aren’t sure which marketing channels to leverage, what strategy works best, or how to improve their campaigns.

  • The top marketing challenges facing SMBs are acquiring new customers (60 percent), understanding what’s working (33 percent), and lack of resources (32 percent)
  • When asked how to improve ‌their marketing this year, 37 percent of SMBs surveyed said using the right channels is their biggest area of opportunity. In fact, 41 percent plan to increase the number of marketing channels they use in 2024.
  • 82 percent agree that using multiple marketing channels leads to better results, but just 16 percent are confident that they are using the correct channels to reach their customers.
  • Australian SMBs cite lack of knowledge as the biggest obstacle preventing them from using more than one marketing channel.

To learn more about the findings from Constant Contact’s Small Business Now, download the report.

Study Methodology:
Constant Contact‘s Small Business Now report analyzes insights from over 1,300 small business decision-makers at the Director level and above at companies with under 250 employees. Polls were conducted in Australia, Canada, the United Kingdom and the United States and aggregated to determine global trends. All stats are representative of their associated demographics. The survey was conducted by Ascend2 in February 2024.

About Constant Contact
Constant Contact delivers everything small businesses and nonprofits need to build, grow and succeed. With powerful online marketing tools, contact management, sales features, and innovative AI capabilities, Constant Contact makes it easy to attract the right people, engage more customers, close more deals and grow.

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UK challenger GB Bank lands £85m investment





GB Bank, a specialist property finance bank based in Middlesbrough, UK, has secured an £85 million investment from new backer Hera Holdings and existing shareholder the Teesside Pension Fund.

Over the next 12 months, Hera Holdings is investing an initial £40 million into the bank, with an additional £40 million earmarked for investment throughout 2025 and 2026.

Meanwhile, the Teesside Pension Fund, which serves as the Local Government Pension Scheme for local authority employees in the Teesside region, is contributing an additional £5 million to the funding round.

Founded in 2017, GB Bank provides financing solutions for commercial and residential property developments in underserved areas of the UK.

The bank, which secured its full banking licence in the summer of 2022, claims to have approved “more than £80 million in loans to support over 100 property projects in locations from Northumberland to the south coast”, while also attracting “over £300 million in deposits from savers” for its fixed-term and instant access accounts.

GB Bank anticipates that the cash injection will drive “extensive growth” for the company, with plans to expand its customer base to include portfolio landlords, expatriates, and foreign nationals.

Specifically, the challenger bank states that the investment will enhance its lending capabilities, allowing it to offer funding of up to £10 million and up to 80% Loan To Value.

Moreover, GB Bank expects that the expansion will boost its capacity for commercial owner-occupier and investment mortgages as well as for its commercial and residential bridging solutions.

The bank projects that the new investment will allow it to increase its lending to £500 million over the next 12 months. As part of this growth, it intends to expand its team and infrastructure, with plans to double its current workforce this year.

Earlier this year, the company appointed industry veteran Mark Sismey-Durrant as its new chair.


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Teal secures $8M seed funding for groundbreaking accounting solution




Teal has announced a significant milestone in its journey to transform SMB accounting with the closure of an $8 million seed funding round.

According to TechFundingNews, the company, which focuses on providing accounting infrastructure for Vertical SaaS businesses, aims to address the critical need for integrated financial solutions within various platforms.

Founded by industry veterans Ian Crosby and Adam Saint, Teal stands out in the FinTech landscape for its unique approach to accounting services. Leveraging their expertise from founding Bench Accounting and working at Shopify, Crosby and Saint have developed a platform that empowers Vertical SaaS businesses to offer customised accounting suites to their SMB customers.

One of the key challenges faced by SMBs is the lack of seamless accounting solutions integrated into their core business platforms. Teal aims to bridge this gap by equipping companies with the necessary APIs and tools to build their own accounting offerings. This enables SMBs to access crucial insights such as real-time cash flow, per-product profitability, and streamlined tax filing processes.

Teal’s comprehensive suite of out-of-the-box tools enables Vertical SaaS companies to launch their accounting platforms swiftly, often in as little as four weeks. These tools include fully functioning app code repositories and seamless data integrations with external sources like Plaid, enhancing the overall user experience for SMBs.

According to Ian Crosby, Co-Founder and CEO of Teal, the company’s vision is to become the “Stripe for accounting,” providing the foundational infrastructure for Vertical SaaS companies to embed accounting features seamlessly. By integrating accounting software directly into their platforms, businesses can enhance customer engagement and drive adoption of financial services features.

The significance of Teal’s innovative approach has not gone unnoticed in the investment landscape. Torch Capital, a leading investor in tools and platforms for SMBs, led the recent $8 million seed funding round. Partner Katie Reiner expressed enthusiasm for Teal’s mission to revolutionize the SMB accounting space, citing the dire need for intuitive and streamlined accounting tools.

In an era where embedded finance is gaining traction, Teal’s commitment to offering tailored accounting solutions signifies a promising step towards empowering SMBs with the financial tools they need to thrive in today’s competitive landscape.


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Digital China’s Guo Wei Shares ‘China’s Sample’ of Global Digital Innovation with London Business School



LONDON, May 22, 2024 /PRNewswire/ — On May 21st, at the invitation of London Business School (LBS), Guo Wei, Chairman of Digital China, participated in the esteemed “Managing the Digital Organization” lecture, engaging with a cohort of prospective business leaders. Focusing on the trending topics of ‘Artificial Intelligence’ and ‘Digital Transformation’, he imparted the digital philosophy and practices of Chinese enterprises amidst the digital civilization era.

Digital China, a prominent player in China’s digital economy, has harnessed over two decades of deep involvement in the nation’s information industry to embrace the power of digitization. This has culminated in what Guo Wei refers to as ‘China’s Vibrant Blueprint for Digital Transformation’, carving a distinctive path of digital metamorphosis. Notably, Digital China’s transformation narrative has been incorporated into LBS’s esteemed case library, underscoring its significance as a teaching instrument.

In his lecture, Guo Wei emphasized that the digital economy now constitutes the backbone of supply, with digital technology emerging as the paramount catalyst for economic expansion. The hastening pace of global digitization propels us into an epoch of digital civilization. For multinational corporations, digital strategies have escalated to the status of corporate strategy, and the amassing of data assets constitutes the pivotal lever for business innovation. Amidst this evolution, AI-fueled digital-cloud integration signifies a disruptive technological innovation, poised to invigorate the global landscape. Digital China feels honored to reprise its role in elite international business school case repositories, thereby contributing insights to academia. This recognition signifies that Chinese enterprises’ digital and AI acumen resonates globally, exemplifying world-class practices.

Professor Julian Birkinshaw, Vice Dean and Professor of Strategy and Entrepreneurship at LBS, remarked, “As a global institution, we constantly seek out exemplary cases worldwide. Digital China was chosen not solely due to its prominence in China but also its sophisticated implementation of digital technologies, demonstrating adaptability and offering invaluable insights to our students about the contemporary business milieu. The story of Digital China encapsulates Mr. Guo Wei’s philosophy – digitization transcends being a mere process; it embodies the existential rationale for companies. This philosophy underpins our decision to feature Digital China in our case studies.”

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