Digital media had long been popular with so-called “young” tech savvy users; however, today, the demographic has broadened to include a more diverse group that understands digital outlets.

According to Local Search Association (LSA) Insider, new research conducted for LSA by Thrive Analytics found that young businesses—those less under one year old—seemed to value digital media more than business that were in operation for 15 years or more—so-called “older” businesses. Thrive Analytics’ “Local Pulse Survey” (January 2015), conducted for LSA, broke down the SMB media mix by business age:

Less than 1 year:
• Traditional media: 27 percent
• Digital media: 73 percent

1-3 years:
• Traditional media: 38 percent
• Digital media: 62 percent

3-6 years:
• Traditional media: 46 percent
• Digital media: 54 percent

6-10 years:
• Traditional media: 45 percent
• Digital media: 55 percent

10-15 years:
• Traditional media: 57 percent
• Digital media: 43 percent

15+ years:
• Traditional media: 59 percent
• Digital media: 41 percent

The figures, notes LSA, point to the relationship between business age and the various types of media, noting that the mix does not appear to be linear. For example, older businesses do not necessarily spend more on traditional media. According to LSA, the largest sequential increase seen in traditional media was in the 11-point increase from business that are listed as less than one-year-old to businesses in the 1-3-year-old group. The increase may be due to an understanding that not everyone uses digital media to reach businesses and that traditional methods still offer value.

When considering future spending, digital media will likely increase broadly among all business areas, which may be seen in Thrive Analytics’ “Local Pulse Survey” (January 2015) data entitled, “SMB Planned Change in Media Spend Over Next Year”:

MediaGrowNo ChangeShrink
Company website36 %59 %5 %
Social media35 %62 %4 %
Mobile Advertising/Marketing34 %60 %6 %
Online display advertising33 %60 %7 %
Paid search advertising33 %58 %8 %
SEO/organic search visibility32 %62 %6 %
Online Video32 %62 %6 %
Email marketing31 %64 %5 %
Event marketing30 %61 %9 %
Direct mail29 %62 %9 %
Blogging29 %65 %6 %
Outdoor advertising27 %66 %7 %
Traditional Newspapers26 %64 %10 %
Television25 %65 %10 %
Magazine advertising24 %66 %10 %
Press releases23 %68 %8 %
Radio23 %65 %11 %
Internet yellow pages22 %68 %10 %
Print yellow pages16 %72 %11 %

Marketing spend growth is moving toward digital outlets; websites, social media, and mobile rank the highest. Also, traditional media seems to be trending higher in the “No Change” category, notes LSA.

An appropriate marketing mix is to be approached generically, warns LSA. Regional, industry, and demographic differences come into play into each individual’s business and its audience.

Data: Established SMBs Use Offline, Digital Equally, “Young” SMBs Choose Digital; June 3, 2015; Contributed by: Joe Morsello.

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