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Seven top myths SMEs believe about traditional advertising

For many advertising may seem like a no-brainer, but it appears that many small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) don’t agree. Compared to bigger companies, they underspend on advertising: Small businesses account for 40 percent of turnover but a mere 18 percent of advertising spending.

SMEs are missing out on the exposure, business growth and all-important sales that advertising generates.

The problem is that many owners and managers misunderstand advertising. They believe the myths and ignore the reality.

If pressed they mumble something about Mad Men, Super Bowl ads and misquote John Wanamaker, an advertising advocate, who said ‘half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don’t know which half.’

For media owners, this is a missed opportunity. SMBs could and should advertise more – it’s time to bust some myths!

  1. It’s expensive

    Two-thirds (67 percent) of SMEs who don’t advertise believe it is too expensive. Media owners can explode this myth by showing how cost-effective advertising can be, making it cheaper to get started and helping SMEs fine-tune and optimise their campaigns as they run.

  2. There’s no return on advertising for small companies

    This one is easy to refute. In fact, advertising returns are eight times more beneficial to SMEs than larger companies.

  3. It’s time consuming

    Entrepreneurs and managers in SMBs don’t say ‘I don’t have time for sales’. If a customer is ready, willing and able to buy, they will find the time. It’s the same with advertising. Once they see the value, it’s easy to justify the time. But you can make it easier for them by simplifying the process and making it as efficient as possible.

  4. It’s not appropriate for companies like mine

    Advertising is all about communicating a brand; what it does, how it does it and why it’s great. That’s perfect for smaller companies who are not so well known. Positioning advertising this way can help to subvert this myth.

  5. It’s complicated

    The best way to overcome this objection is by making it simple. Make it easy to buy advertising, place it, evaluate the results and SMEs will keep coming back for more.

  6. It’s not measurable

    The point of an advert is to catch a buyer’s eye and empty their wallet. This sounds immeasurable, but in fact sales and attention are both measurable, if you help SMEs find the right tools to do so. For example, encourage SMEs to include dedicated website landing pages and coupon codes in their ads to track where leads and sales come from. Studies show an advert is either successful early on or never will be. So encourage advertisers to pay special attention when a campaign launches.

  7. It’s all about digital now

    Despite the rise of online advertising, people still go out, read newspapers, listen to the radio in the car and actually watch more TV than ever. Even the digital generation thinks TV advertising is more effective than online advertising for branding and messaging. To reach their customers, small businesses still need to get their message in front of them. Where better than the local paper, TV or radio station? Use this to position your ad opportunities against the more nebulous and less-local online alternatives.