The landscape of small businesses advertising and marketing is a constantly changing structure, which seems to be redefined every few years. Each year seems to present a new method for businesses to reach consumers, adding further complications to their efforts to maximize exposure.
Despite the massive impact of digital advertising in recent years, Frank Buono, president of NEXT! Ad Agency, notes that some things have stayed the same.
“I still think traditional media plays a significant role, without a doubt,” Buono noted. “Whether it be newspaper, radio, TV, or even out-of-home signs in yards. All those things still play a key part.”
Whereas digital advertising is all the rage, traditional methods still take the cake in terms of advertising dollars.
In fact, Strategy Analytics projected that TV advertisements would represent 42% ($78.8 Billion) of all ads in the U.S in 2015. Additionally, radio (10%, $17.6 Billion) and print (15%, $27.9 Billion) will continue to be significant players in 2015’s advertising market.
Another traditional method, which is often overlooked when talking about advertising, is word-of-mouth. An unmeasurable asset to any business owner, word-of-mouth has been the strongest ally to businesses throughout history.
“Traditional word-of-mouth, if you ask any business owner, is their best form of marketing and advertising” said Buono. “Anytime a business gets referred, that’s their reputation at work. Traditional word-of-mouth goes from one person to another person over the white picket fence or at the back yard barbeque. ‘Oh, who did your patio?’ ‘Joe’s landscaping. He did a great job!’”
Reputation through word-of-mouth can make or break a business, and that is more true now than ever before. Buono pointed out the significance of the digital era and how it has amplified the importance of a business’ reputation.
Having internet users advocate for a business online is word-of-mouth on steroids, essentially. When searching for a service in your area, some of the earliest search results are likely to be online ratings for related businesses.
The internet has been a momentous tool since the mid-1990s and continues to grow at an incredible rate. It’s popularity opened the door for an entirely new and effective way to reach potential consumers.
Digital advertisements are projected to account for 28% ($52.8 Billion) in advertising revenue in 2015, and will likely keep growing in future years. It may seem like alternate platforms are becoming outdated, but the digital market should really just be seen as additional advertising tool at the disposal of business owners (albeit an extremely important one).
Within the internet are many new sub-platforms for advertisers to target, but none of which quite match up to the status of Google.
“In essence, Google has made traditional yellow page advertising obsolete,” Buono said. “Google and the internet afford you a great level of research that you just weren’t able to do before”
Google truly is the modern replacement for yellow pages, which was a crucial tool for all businesses in previous eras.
Getting placed as high as possible on Google search-results is very important for businesses, just as it once was with yellow pages. Unfortunately, it is much more complicated to be placed atop Google results organically (without paying for advertisements).
Buono joked that, previously, a business just needed to name their business “AAAA” or “AAA1” to be placed atop yellow pages. Now, they will require more in-depth attention to achieve favorable positioning on Google, which often means working with an ad-agency, like NEXT!
Another vital aspect of Google is the growing trend among younger demographics to research a business or service, rather than ask friends for suggestions.
“In the past, you would ask your friends and neighbors,” Buono acknowledged. “Today, people are less inclined to do that. The current generation isn’t as inclined to ask rather than just Google something. You’re not going to call your buddy up and say “do you know a good dentist?” You’ll just research it. That’s common under that age of 35.”
Buono also noted that while it’s important to have your pages found online, it is equally important for your pages to look good once their found.
Modern advertising for businesses is a steady diet of new and traditional marketing methods. From advertisements on Google and the trend to become mobile, to word-of-mouth at family picnics, there are undoubtedly many methods for owners to consider. But where will advertising and marketing move from here?
“What’s after mobile?” Buono asked. “Holograms? That wouldn’t shock me. Something interactive and real-time. Our Go-Cast product is an example of the hybrid of real-time and interactivity.”
Go-Cast is an interactive video product created by NEXT! Ad Agency’s parent company, CGI Communications. The technology allows business owners to record videos and upload them directly to their website directly through their mobile device, which can be very useful for businesses running promotions or events that require instant updating.
Considering video content is expected to account for 55% of all internet traffic by 2016, Go-Cast will likely become a very powerful tool for business owners in the near future.
Small businesses have a lot to consider these days. The constant evolution of marketing and advertising may seem to move too fast for owners adapt to, but thankfully there are agencies like NEXT! at their disposal.
What has been your business’ most influential advertising method? Where do you see advertising going in the future? Comment below!