You’re developing a growth strategy for your small business, making sure to include plenty of wiggle room for marketing online and rebuilding your website. You’ve considered social media planning, writing for online search engines like Google and Bing and the development of print advertising to get the word out about your company. Not only have you laid out quarterly budgets for each aspect of your marketing growth strategy, you’ve even defined how to test all your tactics to figure out which ones work for you and which ones to discontinue. That’s a great place to be; you’re firing hot on all cylinders.

There’s one question left to answer: Is traditional video advertising right for my business?

Digital Killed the Video Star

Investing in advertising on local and cable television is not a decision most businesses can make on a whim. As a small business owner, you need to research if the cost of production and placement for your video advertising is worth the potential return. Let’s start the conversation by looking at both sides of the TV ads debate:

Television has the largest reach of any medium. You should be there.

By all estimations and industry measurements, 2013 was a growth year for television ad revenue across the board. Sales of television ads are generally resilient to competition because of the huge audience they deliver to the advertiser. This is an enticing bit of information for businesses wanting to get into the advertising marketplace. Many businesses will want to buy air time before commercial placement prices increase in response to the apparent demand for television ad space.

It’s one thing for large corporations to continue their usual ad spending on expensive cable and network programming to keep up their image and reinforce brand familiarity. The ballgame is completely different for small businesses whose main goal is to attract potential local customers and guide them to a website homepage. You have to consider the end-goal of your marketing spend and whether or not the cost to get there is worth it. Can you afford for your ad to go unnoticed?

Consumers with buying power are leaving television behind.

By examining our own entertainment usage habits, it should be no surprise the research shows 7 in 10 TV households in the US have a DVR, subscribe to Netflix or use video-on-demand from a cable or telecommunications provider. This is a big deal for small business owners looking for customers using modern technology.

Why pay the expensive cost of producing and programming television advertising if there’s a significant chance viewers will fast-forward through it? At best, a handful of viewers see your commercial once or twice instead of skipping over it, but it’s much more likely it will never been seen at all. With young audiences leaving traditional television in droves in favor of subscription based, on-demand streaming services like Netflix and Hulu, small businesses can’t afford to roll the dice with customer visibility.

The Verdict

I’m confident in this bit of advice: Television is not the place for small businesses to spend their marketing budget. Building your brand takes plenty of time and resources, most of which you can keep to a minimum with proper planning and a system for measuring results. Tactics like social media advertising, blog content production and search engine advertising are all proven ways to bring customers to your site and drive revenue up at reasonable costs.

TV ads don’t play nice with small business budgets. In the amount of time it takes to shoot and produce a commercial spot, your marketing team could be designing landing pages to help capture customers who are actually searching the web for your products and services. In the long run you’ll save money, time and walk away with a much better idea of your what your potential customers actually want by steering clear of traditional television advertising.

Have you had experience running television ads for your small business? Do you think they are effective in the modern age of digital media?

Cover photo credit: .reid. via photopin cc