TAKING DIRECTION FROM OUR CUSTOMERS

Everybody tells us we should be listening to our customers. It is very hard not to make a case that listening to them for their needs, concerns, and goals is very important. But  what if we could listen to local businesses telling us where they were planning to spend their marketing dollars? Wouldn’t that tell us something about how we are going to market?

Below are 6 charts showing SMB sentiment and plans from Borrell Assoc.’s 2018 SMB survey. These 6 charts tell us everything we need to know about the marketing intentions of small businesses going forward. Each chart, takes us further down the road of a significant shift in how we should perceive our own competencies, and how we need to represent them in the marketplace and with local customers.

1) What most SMB’s are NOT buying in 2018?

  • While is should be no surprise that QR codes and Cinema Advertising are not at the top of the wish list this year, ROS (un-targeted) ad banners is also included here. This begs the question, in 2018, why would anyone NOT target their ad message?

2) What SMB’s are cancelling from their schedules, and why?

  • It looks like almost everyone shows up on this list, but the real story is the degree to which SMB’s agree on their plans to cancel and the reasons. For the most part digital channels  score much better than other media in justifying their existence in local budgets. They are not too expensive, and the targeting and tracking capabilities make digital media sustainable in most ad budgets.

3) What media channels are most popular, (or included more often) in SMB spending budgets?

  • Social media advertising is the most popular advertising channel among SMB’s. Newspapers are #2. (Note, this does not measure the $ devoted to media, just the # of times it shows up in budgets in this survey.) Also notice Email is showing up in more than 50% of the budgets, SEM in nearly 50% of the budgets, and banners in more than 1/3rd.

4) What are local ad agencies recommending more of?

  • The top 3 channels that will receive stronger recommendations from agencies in 2018 and beyond are social advertising, streaming video and SEM. Enough said…

5) What marketing channels are receiving the greatest budgets in 2018?

  • While TV (broadcast and cable) may be obvious leaders here, the #3 ranked channel here is SEM. And a little further down the list shows that display banner ads is just about even with newspapers. Does that match our own local market recommendations?

6) Is Facebook’s effectiveness changing?

  • The Russians are coming, the Russians are coming…so what! In spite of all the “noise” about what FB does or doesn’t do, local businesses feel Facebook is just as, if not more effective than ever before. Thus, their expressed desire to increase use of social media advertising.

What does this mean to me?

  • Local businesses are turning to targeted and trackable media, and are beginning to exclude media that doesn’t provide the same.
  • Social media advertising is used by a vast majority of local businesses, and continues to grow.
  • SEM remains a staple for many local businesses.
  • Video…know what is available and what works because local businesses will want to know.
  • Print remains in many budgets, but it simply plays a smaller role for SMB’s locally and across the country.

As a provider of local media services, a reliance on “print-first” is not where local businesses are living these days. It’s not in alignment with the way our customers are thinking today, and are headed tomorrow. As we move into our Q4 focus, 2018 Holiday schedules, and 2019 forecasts, digital channels (social, SEM, video, and targeted display especially) are the new leads in how we define our services. As a local representative, “digital-first” is not just a tag line. It’s a description of how our own customers are thinking today.


Quote of the week

“People don’t want to buy a quarter-inch drill. They want a quarter-inch hole.”

— Clayton M. Christensen


Mom’s Library

(What’s your mom been reading about lately?)

  • GateHouse Media continues to grow, purchasing the Oklahoman Media Company. The Daily Oklahoman, a 100,000+ circulation daily in Tulsa, Oklahoma has a long history of excellent service and sales. This is important news even for local NC customers, because our ability to grow provides stability and strength for the long-term in all GH markets. Spread the word! More here on NewsOK.com.
  • Outdoor Advertising (Billboards) are showing some life. Adding targeting and programmatic technology to billboards is injecting some new potential into the billboard media industry. This is an interesting take on a legacy media, not unlike everything you see and here within the newspaper industry. Interesting reading here on Recode.com.
  • Want to help local businesses with tips to get ready for the holidays? Here’s some good ideas, even if they do come from a competitor. These are good suggestions, all local businesses can benefit from preparation now for the holidays to come. Check it out on AdTaxi.com/blogroll.

Your MOM Knows Best

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This is your MOM, at least at work that is.

Author: David Prizer

Digital media executive and thought leader, emphasizing local and small business strategies. 20 years of experience in metro and community markets. Still watching Seinfeld reruns and holding out for a Cubs-White Sox subway series in my lifetime.

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