Back to Gartner for Marketers Blog

Marketing to Small Business Owners in a “Post-Covid” Environment

By Halle Feuerman | June 10, 2020 | 0 Comments

MarketingContent Marketing

As the environment around COVID-19 continues to shift, marketers are expected to move at a quicker pace than ever before to respond. One of the most prominent questions we’re getting from marketers is “How should we be communicating with small business owners post- COVID-19?”. As states start to lift regulations and slowly phase into reopening, marketing leaders may anticipate that pandemic is coming to an end and life will return to what is was in early-March.

The truth is, however, although parts of the country may be shifting back into more normal activities, small business owners will face a unique situation that requires marketers to truly understand their most pressing challenges. Although it’s hard to predict with full certainty, there really won’t be a complete economic recovery for most small business owners for likely a few years.

We know from studying the recession in 2008, small business owners required a much longer recovery time compared to midsize or large enterprises. This acknowledgement of prolonged pain points is something that should be reflected in messaging and content directed to small business owners. Helping owners to overcome these prolonged pain points should be a primary objective of the content you’re producing.

Creating Impactful Messaging That Will Help Small Business Owners Adjust to a Prolonged Recovery Period

When we speak with clients about what best practice messaging and content looks like now for small business owners, there are certain elements that we advise marketers to keep in mind.

  1. Small business owners wear a ton of different hats, often with little experience in some crucial areas of business. One of the most important activities that small business owners will need help with is determining how to effectively communicate with their customers. What insight can your organization leverage to help owners strategically communicate with customers to boost engagement? Are there templates that you can provide to owners as a framework for impactful communications?
  2. We know from our research over the past decade that small business owners struggle with scenario planning and forecasting. Especially in the uncertain environment that they are living in now, what tools, resources, or advice can you provide, either on your website or through email communications, that will help small business owners evaluate what their short and long-term goals look like?
  3. Remember that small business owners are much like consumers, in that they’re people. People with similar concerns that we all have. Small business owners are worried about their family getting sick and balancing homeschooling their children while working remotely. Think of the ways your organization can create resources that help them manage the stresses of owning a small business and channels their human side. Check out our Consumer COVID-19 Concerns Tracker
  4. And of course, small business owners are the most concerned about their cash flow. Think through the different unique offerings that your organization can provide to customers to alleviate or mitigate this concern. This may take the form of finding ways to help small business owners identify opportunities for cost optimization or to project future cash flow.

This is not to say that all these elements should be covered in messaging and content or that these are the only things small business owners are concerned about, but this a good starting point for meeting owner expectations from their suppliers.


Our team of experts is working with marketing leaders every day to help them think through how they can help small business owners navigate times of extreme uncertainty through document reviews, brainstorming sessions and reviewing research on small business owner behaviors, pain points and trends. If this is something that you are looking for help with, please reach out to your account team to schedule a phone call.



Leave a Comment