About the Studio

Agile Marketing Strategies for Your Business with Experienced, Qualified Marketing Managers.

Bridging the Gap

At The Small Business Marketing Studio, our mission is clear: We work to help small businesses market themselves effectively in a fluid business ecosystem while providing sustainable and flexible career opportunities for the unique needs of military spouses, first responder spouses, and veterans.

The Story Behind The Small Business Marketing Studio

The Small Business Marketing Studio was founded by Erika Heeren, an experienced communications professional and the wife of an active duty soldier in the U.S. Army. After building a career and a reputation prior to marrying a service member, Heeren hit a roadblock when she and her soon-to-be husband Jake received orders to another state.
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“I felt like I was starting from scratch. In my home state, I had a network, I had mentors – I knew the market, I had stability, and could easily secure a good job to grow my career. When we moved, I felt like I was back at square one after 10 years in my field. As a military spouse, I realized that this was now my life – and I quickly learned that I was not alone in this struggle.”
– Erika Heeren, Founder & President at The Small Business Marketing Studio

The Military Spouse & Veteran Employment Issue

For military families, maintaining a stable civilian career while their service member is active duty is prohibitive due to the nature of the military lifestyle. Military families of all core branches will move every two to three years, or around eight to twelve times over the course of a military career.

The latest Blue Star Families Military Family Lifestyle Survey shows that today’s military spouses and services members overwhelming reported that financial issues and instability are the top stressors associated with being in the military. In fact:

  • More than 37% of military families reported feeling uncertain about their financial future.
  • Military families report difficulty making ends meet at twice the rate of civilian families.
  • More than half of the families in the report stated that the main reason for financial difficulty is that the family’s nonmilitary partner had struggled with unemployment or underemployment.


The issue is not education or experience related, but directly tied to the unstable nature of the military lifestyle. Military spouses today:

  • 24% of the military spouse labor force remains unemployed. That’s six times higher than the national unemployment rate.
  • The average military spouse makes 26.8% less than their civilian counterparts.
  • Military spouses holding a Master’s Degree or higher make 47% less than their civilian counterparts.
  • 29.7% of the US civilian population holds a college degree. 40% of military spouses hold an undergraduate degree or higher.

Building a Solution

Combining a love for small businesses and a driving desire to help fellow military spouses and veterans, Erika Heeren launched The Small Business Marketing Studio. Our programs are created with the following tenets in mind:
  1. As a nation, our all-volunteer military force is only as sustainable as the family units behind the service members. When the service member cannot support their family, they leave the military. Like any other industry, to encourage the retention of qualified service members, the impact of the family must be considered. To promote a strong military, we promote strong military families.
  2. Digital avenues make high-impact marketing increasingly possible for small businesses as well as enterprise companies for less money than traditional marketing and advertising. However, best practices change frequently – making it more cost effective for businesses to hire dedicated professionals to stay cutting edge and competitive.
  3. Remote work presents an opportunity for civilian companies to provide stable career progression for qualified military spouses. However, the cost of turnover for traditional employees in the military environment and the independent nature of remote workers presents additional risk to the business owner. Mitigating or eliminating this risk will empower more businesses to support military spouse employment sustainability initiatives.
  4. The marketing and communications industry changes at a similar rate to the technology industry. Continual progressive education and field experience for associated professionals is required to stay relevant and effective.

Our Programs

We are a military family-owned and operated business. Our primary focus is bridging the gap between employment issues for military spouses and veterans and the need for small businesses to compete in an increasingly saturated market.

Our mission is two-fold:

To help small companies market themselves effectively in an ever-changing business ecosystem.
To provide sustainable and flexible career opportunities for the unique needs of military spouses and first responder spouses and veterans.

The Virtual Marketing Professional Program

Our flagship program, the Virtual Marketing Professional Program recruits qualified military spouse and first responder spouse marketers and places them with businesses of varying sizes from various industries.
For the business owner, you select the tasks you need completed and purchase a monthly package based on the hours your marketer will need to complete the tasks. We are so confident in our vetting and training process that we do not require long-term contracts for the business owner. You simply pay month-to-month for as many hours as you need. No risk, no hassle, and you’ll be contributing to the financial stability of a military family while growing your business.

The CMO Project

Our network includes a selection of executive-level marketing professionals who are military spouses or veterans.

For businesses who are scaling quickly, our contract CMOs are in high demand for growing small businesses, private and public enterprise companies, non-profit organizations, as well as local, state, and federal government agencies.

For the business owner, you select the tasks you need completed and purchase a monthly package based on the hours your marketer will need to complete the tasks. We are so confident in our vetting and training process that we do not require long-term contracts for the business owner. You simply pay month-to-month for as many hours as you need. No risk, no hassle, and you’ll be contributing to the financial stability of a military family while growing your business.

Internships

This is not a “run and get coffee” type of internship. We offer 3-month, 6-month, and 12-month internships for aspiring marketers and veterans transitioning out of military service into civilian careers.

During an internship, you’ll be going through a comprehensive training program, job shadowing and performing supporting tasks for our Virtual Marketing Professionals, and receiving one-on-one coaching with our President, Erika Heeren. You’ll be working on real client projects, producing great content and driving revenue for small businesses.

Our internship is great for veterans looking to get into the field of marketing right out of the service. As a part of the internship, we’ll work with you to build a resume and portfolio featuring your skillset, and provide interview coaching to help set you up for success as you enter the civilian workforce.

To be notified of the next internship opportunity, join our email list!

The Scholarship

Our network includes a selection of executive-level marketing professionals who are military spouses or veterans. For businesses who arave scaling quickly, our contract CMOs are in high demand for growing small businesses, private and public enterprise companies, non-profit organizations, as well as local, state, and federal government agencies.

Hiring a Virtual Marketing Professional with The Small Business Marketing Studio

Our marketing professional subscription services are designed to fit a wide variety of business stages. For the best fit for you, select your business type:

Soloprenuers

If you are a one-person shop who need marketing help, our Virtual Marketing Managers will be the best fit for you.

Young Small Business

If you are a younger small business without a dedicated marketing department, our Virtual Marketing Managers will be the best fit for you.

Established Small Business

If you are a more established small business with an existing marketing management department, our Virtual Marketing Assistants can help you ease the workload for your team. Our Virtual Marketing Managers can also help you lead your marketing efforts.

Enterprise Businesses & Government Agencies

If you are a business with more than $5 million in annual revenue or a local, state, or federal government agency, our contract CMOs will best suit your needs.

Non-Profit Organizations

Schedule a consultation, and we will pair you with the right plan.

Ready to Learn More? Let’s Talk!

Tell us about your needs, and we’ll connect you with the best plan and team members to help you grow your business.

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