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Advertising Insights | Fresh Perspectives, New Outlooks

A few weeks ago, Borrell Associates released the results of their 2021 Local Advertiser Survey. The survey was conducted from mid-April to mid-June. More than 3,600 advertisers completed approximately 41 questions, which in turn yielded unique insights about current and future marketing plans.


Borrell asked respondents to select their type of business from a drop-down box listing 100 different types by Standard Industrial Codes (SICs). From there, those businesses were grouped into 21 different categories. Approximately 25% of respondents worked for retail, health care, or social assistance businesses, 21% worked in professional, business, educational, or other service-related businesses and 13% were in construction and real estate. Quite the mixed bag!


From the 41 questions asked, Borrell’s team was able to glean the following five insights into the advertising landscape, both present and future:


  1. Internal marketing teams are gaining influence.
  2. Local businesses “use” marketing more than they “buy” it.
  3. Local marketers want personal contact, not DIY platforms.
  4. DIY platforms are used, but personal contact rules, especially via email.
  5. Businesses will buy from media reps that offer solid marketing advice.


Below, we’ve outlined a few findings from the above insights.


Internal Marketing Teams are Gaining Influence


The survey concluded that 46% of businesses have their owner decide on a marketing plan, 45% of businesses surveyed have an internal marketing person or team make the plan, 8% have an agency handle marketing and 8% have no marketing plan.


Media is Bought Rather Than Used


In prior years, Borrell asked survey respondents which forms of marketing they used. However, this year, they asked respondents what they purchased. Borrell found that 82% of all respondents buy some form of digital marketing – social media owns the largest share of this category at 57%. Also, 78% buy non-digital media.


Gauging Usage and Preference – Personal Sales vs. Self-Service

Borrell asked respondents to provide some insight into the handling interactions while making an ad buyand what their preferences are. About 82% of respondents prefer to deal with a person when buying ads. Only 15% prefer to buy via a self-serve method and even less (<10%) prefer to purchase newspaper, radio, TV, or outdoor media via self-serve.


For local ad buyers, sales reps represent the face of local media companies – and are very appreciated resources for businesses looking for marketing consultations and expertise. Roughly 75% of respondents like the option to meet with a local sales rep in person, while 70% say their local rep is a source of marketing intelligence. Furthermore, 41% of respondents said that dealing with a local rep saves them money.


Influencing Factors


Local organizations have many choices when it comes to giving their marketing business to a local media company. About 90% of respondents expressed that it was “extremely important” for a media company to present well-supported and transparent marketing or media plans, more than 80% of respondents reported that a skilled marketing partner whose advice can extend beyond what products the media company is selling was extremely important.


While ad mediums, budgets and expenses are all important factors when determining the media entity a business uses and the manner in which they use them, the conversation goes much deeper. Our partners challenge us to “think holistically” in order to for us to “demonstrate capabilities, present a clear plan, execute with high quality, (and) well-informed content, keep us updated regularly…”


Especially during challenging times, companies like the Times Union Media Group are tasked with providing fresh ideas to drive revenue for our client partners. And that is what we perpetually aim to do. Contact us today to learn more about how our team can provide your business with access to multiple advertising methods, leading industry data and training to support overall success.


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