Mobile Matters


Businesses Cling to Print Marketing While Customers Move On

by: | January 12, 2012

If you could leverage only one marketing channel to promote your company, which would you choose?

That’s the question posed to 2,500 U.S. small businesses in a recent survey conducted by cost-per-click ad network and its MerchantCircle networking subsidiary, and while it’s no surprise that search engine optimization leads all other options with 32.9 percent of responses, it’s wide open— and eye-opening— from there. Traditional media channels like newspapers, direct mail and yellow pages are next in the survey at 19.7 percent, followed by “None of the above” at 17.9 percent— 16.0 percent would invest all their marketing time and resources into social media, followed by paid search advertising at 9.8 percent. Only 3.7 percent would bet the farm on mobile marketing and advertising.

It’s important to keep in mind the phrasing of’s question when considering merchants’ responses— few if any SMBs are allocating their total marketing budget into a single channel at the exclusion of all others, after all. But it’s nevertheless fascinating to contemplate which marketing platforms merchants deem to be the most essential, especially given consumers’ evolving relationship with content consumption. The reality is that the media platforms where local merchants are spending money do not necessarily correspond with the platforms where their customers are spending time.

A new study issued by eMarketer suggests small businesses are right to place a premium on their web-based marketing efforts: U.S. adults now spend an average of 167 minutes per day online, a half hour more than three years ago. Only television and video consume more of the average adult consumer’s day at 274 minutes, increasing from 254 minutes in 2008. But more traditional formats continue to fall out of favor. Consumers still spend an average of 94 minutes each day listening to radio, down from 102 minutes in 2008.

And while small businesses continue to believe in the power of print, consumer interest in the medium is in steep decline— the average adult now spends 26 minutes each day reading newspapers (down from 38 minutes three years ago) and just 18 minutes leafing through magazines (a seven-minute decline from 2008).  The time once devoted to newspapers and magazines is now allocated to mobile: At the end of 2011, American adults spend an average of 65 minutes per day on mobile devices, up from 50 minutes a day in 2010 and more than doubling from 32 minutes a day in 2008.

Consumers may have moved beyond print media, but marketers are far slower to turn the page. Although American adults now spend 10.1 percent of the average day on mobile devices, marketers continue to earmark just 0.9 percent of ad spending on the mobile channel, eMarketer reports. Marketers instead target 15.0 percent of their spending on newspapers (which make up just 4.0 percent of the average day) and 9.7 percent on magazines (2.8 percent of the average day). The way we live is changing, and marketing has to change with it— consumers are going mobile, and marketers need to go where the consumers are.

So, again, if you could leverage only one marketing channel to promote your company, which would you choose?Marketing Zeus

Posted in: Analytics, B2C, Campaign Development, E-Commerce, Mobile Advertising, Mobile Matters, Optimization, Paid Search (PPC), Social Networks

About the Writer:

Jason Ankeny is the executive editor of the FierceMobileContent and FierceDeveloper e-newsletters as well as a regular contributor to Entrepreneur magazine and the website All Music Guide. Additional credits include efforts for publications including Rolling Stone, Wax Poetics and No Depression, along with liner notes for a number of album releases. He lives in Chicago.

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