Media faces many challenges in its ability to reach the SMB audience on a local level. These challenges may include availability, technological resources, target appropriateness and cost efficiencies of localized media outlets.
On a local level, there are truly very few media outlets/publishers available that exclusively target the SMB space. Several markets offer publications and Websites dedicated to the SMB space, such as The New York Enterprise Report, Smart CEO (Baltimore/D.C.), Dallas CEO, SmartBusiness (Cleveland, Cincinnati, Indianapolis), but other than these few publishers, the next best means of targeting the SMB audience on a local level are business journals. While these journals are relevant editorially, there is a good amount of waste, as they do not exclusively target SMB. Beyond business journals, the next best route to follow is a local market daily newspaper, and its media properties, but again, targeting through these properties is essential.
Overall, the most effective, efficient and impactful way to reach the SMB audience is to be a true cross-platform provider of information. With this approach, you can effectively impact the SMB audience with multiple media touchpoints that have a strong interdependent relationship. This method offers a perfect opportunity to work with a larger publisher such as The Network of City Business Journals, for one of its localized journals, and develop a program that offers:
• Contextually and geotargeted digital media (by IP address)
• Franchise print positioning
• E-newsletter/e-blast targeted program
• Direct mail
• Live events
For example, in a market like Orlando, a company can capitalize on a partnership with The Orlando Business Journal that reaches all of these touchpoints and offers credibility within a local business community. Depending on a campaign’s objectives, be it general awareness or direct response, the tactics of the program may change, but this type of program generally will build awareness through digital media placements in high-profile places like “breaking news” and “business today” and offer further contextually relevant placements in “tools and resources for small business.”
Options also exist to take a leadership role and provide relevant content that can be incorporated into the site or within a well-respected blog spinning off the site. This awareness-building is further used with print advertising coinciding with the digital efforts. The print program can also place messaging targeting “small-business-related” content but also offers the opportunity for high-impact placements with front-cover banner units used to build frequency. With this core foundation, a company can then capitalize on the inroads gained and support a pre-existing, already successful and targeted live event, such as “CFO of the Year” or “Best Places to Work,” or develop a proprietary concept. Support of the event is turnkey by the publisher and offers an explicit environment where the target audience is engaged and their intention is to gain hands-on knowledge. This approach can be used as either an awareness or direct response tactic, or both. It is a good idea to build in a layer of more direct response-oriented media tactics such as targeted direct mail, e-newsletters or e-blasts after a pre-established level of reach and frequency have been accomplished, dependent upon the marketing goals. This tactic enables a platform for capturing target audience information and allows for individualized follow-up by local sales units.
In summary, this type of strategy offers a company targeting the SMB audience an integrated opportunity that effectively reaches their target audience wherever they consume media and information, and it sets the stage to maximize outreach efforts and effective ROI.
Example of Program Elements:
Senior Vice President – Media, North America