What Do Local Business Owners Really Want to Know About Advertising?

09.13.2016 John Chapman

“Is What I’m Doing for My Company Working, or Should I Change My Strategy?”



As we all know, there are many different types of businesses out there and a variety of advertising platforms to pick from.  As someone who speaks with local and regional business owners and decision makers on a daily basis, providing advice, and learning what different companies do to stand out, I’d like to highlight the importance of the process to find the right advertising medium for your business.  Because in my experience, this is really what business owners want to know. Due to the vast number of advertising options any company has, I’d like not to focus on one industry specifically, but rather explore the process as a whole. There are trends and questions that all business owners should be asking to find the right advertising fit for their company. This process may sound obvious, yet it is often overlooked.

Plain and simple, business owners don’t like change, but they do like profit.  I’ve found that most business owners don’t want, or like, to analyze their marketing plan.  They want to set up a system and then hope it brings in awareness and results in profit.  Often times, a business owner will begin by imitating similar marketing plans seen in their industry, which may be a good start.  Some of the more successful business owners will utilize the common advertising mediums for their industry. But the really successful ones, they stand out.  

How do they do this?  They take a chance on advertising options outside of the norm.  If they’re in an industry that typically relies on localized newspaper, social media, or email blasts, they realize that taking a chance on a mass media option like radio, television, or billboards might be the change their company needs. By opting for mass media, which generally reaches more people, could in turn provide that competitive edge most companies are striving for. This sounds very simple, but most business owners are very hesitant.  The risk of sticking with the norm, and never exploring new options, far outweighs dedicating 25% of your budget to advertising for three months.



Knowing your options gives you power.  There are many assumptions and myths about advertising that may dissuade most business owners.  No, you don’t need $30,000 dollars a month to advertise locally on television, the cost to record a radio commercial doesn’t have to be $5,000 dollars, and just because 10,000 people drive past a company’s billboard every day, doesn’t necessarily mean it’s an effective way for that company to promote themselves.  It is always beneficial to know what your options are – take the time to find out the details and pricing of different advertising methods, you will be educating and empowering yourself to make the best decision possible.

Also, business owners may select an advertising option because they initially saw an increase in businesses, so why change it if it worked before?  But if that growth happened two, three, five, or ten years ago, it’s time to start analyzing to see if those results still hold true today.



Predicting what will be effective isn’t easy.  Every business owner is careful with their money, as they should be, and they want to feel confident something will work before they shell out the funds for it.  In the advertising world there’s the term CPM (cost per thousand) and this means how many dollars it costs to reach a thousand people.  Nearly every advertising option out there will be able to give you this information as part of their proposal.  But take this information and apply its effectiveness to the company.  Find out the cost to reach a thousand people and think about what that means for the business.

In summation, consider the following when it comes to advertising your local business:

1.    Consider your options.
2.    Change could be good and testing a new idea or campaign could have huge results.
3.    Know the details of each advertising option is important; don’t let price alone dictate your plan.
4.    Take the time to look at your current strategy.
5.    Find an effective option for your company and goals.


My role within Cox Media is to contact business owners and discuss the opportunity to advertise on cable and online.  In my experience, I’ve found discussing the items previously listed with business owners are often what they truly want to know. This knowledge has helped me guide many business owners into making influential and typically gratifying decisions for their companies.



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John Chapman

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