ILM East: SMB panel – Online Advertising Effective; Gets Budget

ILM East
As is usual when we have SMBs on stage, our SMB advertiser panel was one of the highlights of the first day of ILM East. The local Boston area businesses provided attendees with the down-low on what’s working and what’s not working quite as well in local media choices. With the assistance of AT&T Interactive in inviting advertisers, our panel consisted of the following gentlemen:

Carl Izzi, Patriot Lawn and Pest Management
Ed Kelley, Hoffman & Kelley Plumbing and Heating
Jeff Mason, R.C. Mason Movers

BIA/Kelsey’s Neal Polachek and Charles Laughlin led a discussion during which time we found that increasingly more and more of the SMB’s ad budget is moving online. Both Hoffman & Kelley Plumbing and Heating and R.C. Mason Movers now spend about 60% of their ad budget online; 30% in print Yellow Pages and 10% in “other” media which might include promotional materials, direct mail or leave-behinds. Izzi, on the other hand, has moved all of his ad budget online. Why? He feels he spent a lot of money and was made a lot of promises, but some of the print or traditional media wasn’t paying off. Izzi keeps track of lead sources through his business’ operational software.

Kelley was the only panelist who has now expanded into subscribing to a reputation management offering. He’s says it’s pretty cheap, but there’s not a lot of comments being made on his business. “It’s pretty straightforward. It’s cheap. They’re (the provider) going to monitor all different sites and I can respond to comments (being made about our business). Report just came this morning and no one’s posted any new comments for past two months. No news is good news.”

As for deal-a-day offerings, all three panelists are familiar with the Groupons of the world, but all agree that that either do not fully understand the offering or they’re not sure it’s right for their mainly service-focused businesses.

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