Monday, May 16, 2005


Small & Mid-Size Businesses and Print... and the Internet

There is such tremendous focus on big business and how they use media. More people have apoplexy about what GM and P&G are doing, yet the rug could get pulled out from the printing industry by what smaller businesses are doing with their media allocation plans.

In fact, most small businesses don't even realize they have media plans. They set a budget and kind of allocate it as they go along. This incremental decision-making results in expenses that are reviewed only at the next budget cycle.

Here's a report from Interland, a major ISP (so yes, you have to have a good researcher's skepticism in viewing this, but it does pass the "sniff test"), about how small and medium businesses are spending their dollars. The press release is at A PDF of tables and charts is at

Here's a quote from the release; I have highlighted in bold the items that are print-related:

"Topping the list were community relations (55 percent), Web sites (47 percent), followed by public relations/media coverage (31 percent). ...more than half of the small businesses surveyed now have Web sites in place, and a full 96 percent of those say their online identity is critical to their success." Other tools small-business owners cited included direct mail (26 percent), which just beat out the Yellow Pages (23 percent), followed by email marketing and newspaper advertising (both at 21 percent). Search engine keywords (18 percent), telephone marketing (10 percent) and outdoor advertising (10 percent) all broke the double-digit threshold. At the bottom of the list were magazine advertising, print coupons and radio advertising (all three at 6 percent each), and Web banner adverting (5 percent). "

I have long felt that the printing industry, especially the franchises (who all claim to be focused on small businesses) should have been in the forefront of building web presences for small businesses and showing them how to use the Internet. Now, they've learned how to use it without us.

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