SALES OFFICE BY GORDON BORRELL

Stations Can Turn Digital Dimes Into Dollars

Local broadcasters’ $1.8 billion in local online ad revenue this year might represent only the visible portion of the Internet iceberg. A TVB survey found that 61% of the local businesses surveyed said they expected their expenditures on digital media to grow in 2011. The survey identified a large opportunity for local TV broadcasters to tap into that vein: 58% of the respondents said they considered their TV rep a good source of information for digital opportunities, while 71% expressed confidence that the rep was a good adviser on media buys.

 

Most people would agree that media is in a transformative stage, but new research offers a look at just how rapid that change is occurring at the local level.

Surveys conducted this year for TVB indicate that explosive growth may be imminent — or perhaps already occurring — in digital marketing budgets. Sixty-one percent of the nearly 1,000 local businesses surveyed said they expected their expenditures on digital media to grow in 2011. The survey identified a large opportunity for local TV broadcasters to tap into that vein: 58% of the respondents said they considered their TV rep a good source of information for digital opportunities, while 71% expressed confidence that the rep was a good adviser on media buys.

 The nine-month survey was launched through Borrell Associates in an effort to gauge what local TV advertisers were thinking, especially as it pertains to digital marketing. The survey of 956 business managers was meshed with Borrell’s ongoing SMB (small and medium-size business) surveys of an additional 7,305 local advertisers to draw comparisons.

 One of those comparisons indicated that local broadcasters’ $1.8 billion in local online ad revenue this year might represent only the visible portion of the Internet iceberg. Among the TV advertisers surveyed, 50% said they buy online advertising from a TV station. However, compared with all respondents in Borrell’s broader surveys, only 8% said they advertise on a TV website. This suggests that broadcasters may saturate their digital opportunity if they focus on up-selling only their TV clients. The survey found that 78% of local advertisers use the Internet in some way, which means that TV reps aren’t reaching about 90% of the available digital dollars.

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Here are the Top 5 takeaways from the survey:

  1. High growth seems imminent in digital budgets.  As stated, 61% said they expected their online advertising to grow this year. The second-highest category was TV, with 31% saying they expected it to grow. Newspapers and Yellow Pages were the largest targets for cuts, with 32% of respondents saying they expected to trim those print budgets.
  2. Local advertisers are under tremendous sales pressure. On average, respondents to the TVB survey said they fielded 30 sales calls per month from ad reps. This means TV clients are receiving a daily barrage of pitches for everything from print to digital to cable to outdoor advertising. Interesting note:  Across 8,261 respondents, the average was 25 pitches per month. The higher number for TV advertisers means they’re being targeted more.
  3. Current expenditures on online marketing encompass the Web, social networks and email. Ninety percent of the TV survey respondents said they maintain a website (and spend money on it), 72% engage in social networks, and 53% use email marketing. The second fact is worth repeating:  Nearly three-fourths of the respondents engage in social network marketing.
  4. Social networking and mobile are their hot buttons. The most remarkable result of the survey was the finding that 61% of the respondents said they had been pitched some sort of mobile marketing campaign within the past 12 months. Paired with the finding that only 23% have said they’ve used mobile marketing, this indicates very high growth potential for local mobile advertising.  Social networking was another high-interest topic: 47% of respondents said they planned to increase their social marketing expenditures — the largest response for any digital category pegged for growth. For mobile, 37% said they were likely to increase that budget.
  5. Consultative sale approach holds opportunity. The cacophony that advertisers face (from 30 sales pitches per month), combined with their level of trust in TV reps (71% said they were confident in the reps’ abilities to represent other media) indicated a big opportunity to leverage the station’s brand and sales force’s abilities to reach a greater depth in digital sales.
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While the first wave of the survey closed in July, TVB continues to sign up other stations who want to participate and see the results for their markets. For information, contact Jack Poor at TVB ([email protected]) or Greg Harmon at Borrell Associates ([email protected]iates.com).

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Gordon Borrell is CEO of Borrell Associates Inc. All about sales and advertising, Sales Office appears once a month in TVNewsCheck through the cooperation of the TVB, which solicits the columns from its staff and members. To see all the columns in the series, click here.


Comments (3)

Leave a Reply

Gregg Palermo says:

November 4, 2011 at 9:53 am

The biggest challenge is fragmentation. It’s hard to make money when the audience’s attention is splintered into so many tiny pieces.

Dana White says:

November 4, 2011 at 5:12 pm

Since all advertisers want to know if their ads are working, the confident sales rep will need to be able to talk about metrics for buying digital media as well as the metrics or measurment of results. This includes establishing and mananging appropriate expectations and making recommendations to improve their campaign.

Shaye Laska says:

November 8, 2011 at 9:08 am

The clients cash register has to ring. Period.


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