The Changing Advertising Landscape for SME's

July 4, 2012, 1:39 pm Tim Wingrove Yahoo7

Consumers are now far more mobile and consume media in very different weightings to how they did previously.

The Changing Advertising Landscape for SME s

The notion of being able to use the same media channels to promote your business you did 5 years ago and expecting to achieve the same results is a growing trap for SME’s.

Consumers are now far more mobile and consume media in very different weightings to how they did previously. The usual choices for local area marketing (LAM) are quite simply underperforming.

If you consider your own behaviour, I am sure that you are spending less time reading the newspaper today, for example, than when compared to as little as three years ago and compared to your parents… Our time at the breakfast table with a newspaper is really a thing of a bygone era.

With free to air TV making it difficult to reach traditional audiences and the distractions of busy lives, the consumer and their undivided attention is very hard to garner. The most obvious to consider is the letterbox and just how much is placed into it everyday from the raft of advertisers all seeking to find a way into the home.

The unfortunate byproduct of the letter box drop (LBD) and its increased attractiveness for immediate results has been the dilution of its effectiveness by virtue of the increased volume of advertisers – more pieces, less “cut through” and poorer returns on investment.

More From Tim: Fundamentals of Advertising for SME's

Whilst advertising options are creating headaches for businesses, there is one element that businesses have significant control over and one that pays huge dividends – SERVICE.

For SME’s, award modernization has impacted greatly on a businesses ability to provide outstanding service, but this is the one key driver in a business that can set you apart from your competitors.

Ask yourself the question when was the last time I walked out of a business and commented to a friend about “how great the customer service experience was”. It’s very rare now. It is also one of the very few differentiation points that a business can have when so much of the competitive landscape all looks the same.

In the face of diminishing returns from many of the advertising channels available to SME’s, one could do far worse than displaying to a customer the generosity of spirit that they deserve in choosing your business over your competitor.

The “mystery shopper” is not just for large corporations to identify shortfalls in service levels.

Incentivising staff to provide great service is a small investment and a “dinner for two” to the employee that wins the mystery shopper award each month is a small, but meaningful way to inject some enthusiasm to the service experience.

With social media now taking its place as a channel of influence, the opportunity for positive comments about your business filtering through to a large audience cannot be underestimated. Embrace the changes upon us and do whatever is required to position your business to take full advantage.

About the Author: Tim Wingrove is the National Sales Manager for Shop A Docket Pty Ltd