If you’ve read our latest report, there’s a chart that may have raised an eyebrow. It shows our projections for local online ad spending out through 2013. The obvious takeaway is that we expect it to level off and then start declining. Does this mean the Web is dying?
Not hardly, as they say. Local advertisers are beginning to discover what national advertisers are already exploiting: the Web’s ability to foster direct, one-on-one relationships between businesses and prospective customers. Companies are beginning to move money out of advertising per se and into things like contests and sweepstakes. Properly designed, these can deliver contact information (e-mail addresses and more) for hundreds of viable local prospects.
The key point is that the business can then re-market to those prospects in a variety of ways – without having to go through an advertising medium to reach them.
National companies have known for years that the Web is really about database marketing. The tools and techniques that they developed are becoming cheaper and simpler, to the point where small businesses can begin to take more control of their own marketing destiny. And it’s not that Mom ‘n Pop have to learn the intricacies of SQL and CAN-SPAM – there are tons of vendors renting their expertise who can get this job done with a decent ROI.