What 7,500 SMB Advertisers Want: CEO Gordon Borrell’s Insights

If you have ever wondered how much local businesses across North America are spending on advertising then you are in the right place.

Borrell Associates works with over 700 media properties, internet companies, investment analysts, and industry vendors across North America. The purpose of their work focuses on helping companies understand the ever-evolving media landscape.

By conducting the largest survey in North America, Borrell is able to collect and sort out where businesses are spending their advertising money. This data helps determine trends across various industries and forecast changes in advertising tendencies from local businesses.

Gordon Borrell, CEO of Borrell Associates, sits down with Vendasta’s CRO George Leith to discuss the findings of the survey and give insight as to what SMB advertisers want.  

(Listen to the Podcast Now!)

Insights into SMB Needs with Gordon Borrell

Understanding Where Advertisers Spend Their Money

Once a year, from the months of April-July, Borrell Associates conducts the largest survey in North America in order to better understand advertising trends and tendencies. After the survey is conducted, their team works diligently to conduct panels of thousands of advertisers to supplement the information from their survey results.

This massive survey finds out where advertising spend is going, whether that is print advertising, broadcast media, digital, etc. This information is provided to give salespeople a better understanding of local businesses, and start to establish better relationships as part of making a sale. With rich data and insight, sales teams can relate more closely to their clients and start to establish a needs-based selling strategy.

Related Reading: New Data: Why SMBs Don’t Trust Advertising Anymore

People are Pissed Off and Confused

The one thing that characterizes everything from the extensive survey results and data is that local businesses are pissed off. They’re confused because they are constantly being sold products or services without understanding or direction.

...people are pissed off and they’re confused, and there’s your opportunity. Go in and talk to them very frankly and don’t try to sell them something, at least not right off the bat. The last thing they wanna hear is how great your radio station is and it’s better than the internet, and the internet’s full of ad fraud. Or how great your newspaper is and that you shouldn’t be listening to the reports about newspaper dying. You have a really healthy audience. Here’s how big it is. They see through that. They really, really do.
Gordon Borrell

CEO, Borrell Associates

Be a Consultant—Not a Salesperson

By showing a local business data about their industry or advertising habits related to businesses similar to them, they will start to understand their own needs. A salesperson quickly becomes an expert, or a consultant, when they take the time to establish talking points and data to back up what they are selling.

Salespeople are required to do more learning, more researching, and more training than ever. This is because the sales landscape has shifted, and advertisers want expert advice not memorized sales scripts.

What they need is for someone to come in and talk with them about what they’re doing, how much they’re spending, and give them some information, give them some research. Don’t just talk to them about it. Show them some data that helps them. One of the things that we offer, George, is the ability to see how much is spent by any particular local advertiser or an advertiser like them, dentist, furniture, store, real estate agent, restaurant, etc., in a particular market, Toronto, Albuquerque, Los Angeles, Ahoskie, North Carolina, etc.
Gordon Borrell

CEO, Borrell Associates

Start by researching and understanding a business before a phone call or email is sent. This helps lead a conversation and establishes a personal relationship with a prospective customer. People are pissed off and confused because they’re not actually being helped, they are just being sold to.
You can’t be a salesperson anymore. You really have to consult with them, have their interest at heart, come to their business prepared, know all about what it’s like to run an HVAC business or a plumbing business and what their particular marketing needs are. You gotta help them.
Gordon Borrell

CEO, Borrell Associates

Cut The Crap, Start Establishing Trust

The Local Online Advertising Conference is a conference hosted by Borrell each year. This year the conference talks about many things but simply put, it is all about cutting the crap. #LOAC2018

As mentioned above people are confused, pissed off, and are starting to ignore sales reps who drop-in with an email or call from time to time trying to push a product.

Local businesses are starting to ignore the drop-in sales rep, but why? Well, up to 15 people are calling a local business trying to sell them on a product or service each month. It is time for salespeople to cut the crap, stop pushing sales on deaf ears. Local businesses are simply not listening to the sales representatives who don’t take the time to understand their needs and approach the sale from a consultant’s perspective.

So [local businesses] are really barraged with calls, and what we believe is that this is a time when weaker media companies, companies that just send out a really experienced sales rep at selling radio advertising or just selling newspaper advertising, just have monolithic skills, they’re gonna fall by the wayside because these businesses very clearly in all of our surveys are looking for someone who is fair and someone who has some expertise.
Gordon Borrell

CEO, Borrell Associates

Show your expertise, be fair and establish trust.

If you’re a salesperson selling to a local business who is inexperienced you better show them that you know what you’re talking about, you’re the expert. These ‘rookies’ or inexperienced marketers are looking for solutions to their advertising problems, but they need someone they can trust and who can help them reach their goals.

That’s what they’re looking for, is somebody they can trust. And one of the things that we have discovered is that the conversations that really, really open up a pot of gold for a media company, an ad agency, are the conversations about how much time and money these businesses are spending in digital media. If you look at all local advertisers in our survey, about 3500 of them, what do you think the average local advertiser spends on social media activities in a given year? You might think it’s $2000, $3000, $4000, or $5000, it’s $17,191 on average. How many hours do you think they spend managing social media on average? 11.8, that’s more than a day, it’s a day and a half.
Gordon Borrell

CEO, Borrell Associates

Local businesses don’t want or need someone who is eager to swipe their credit card, they need someone to establish trust and understand their needs. That way, they will not only pay for your services, but they will come to you time and time again for help, as you (the salesperson) have shown them you are the expert.
So if you get to the advertisers and say, “Talk to me about how much you’re spending on your Facebook posts or LinkedIn or Twitter or whatever? How much time you’re spending?” What you begin to do is open up to realization that they’re overspending and that it’s gotten out of hand. So guess what, media experts, marketing experts to the rescue. We can help you with that. We have social media management. We have listings claiming. We can do search engine optimization. Yeah, we know how to post stuff. We’ve got all these sophisticated programs. By the way, we’re marketing people, we’re media people. We’re experts, you’re not. 74% of the people in our survey are rookies at marketing and we determine that by asking them how many days a week and how many hours a week and how many years they’ve spent on marketing and calculated that if someone has spent 10,000 hours or more on marketing, they’re masters at it. Seventy-four percent are not the rookies. And really, really inexperienced rookies, I’ll tell you that, so they could use the help.
Gordon Borrell

CEO, Borrell Associates

[clickToTweet tweet="Borrell survey results show that 74% of advertisers are considered rookies, in terms of their marketing experience. #LOAC2018" quote="Borrell survey results show that 74% of advertisers are considered rookies, in terms of their marketing experience."]
Give local businesses and people who are considered marketing ‘rookies’ direction. Use data, use research, and use marketing insights to showcase your expertise while closing the deal.

Want to learn more about Borrell’s survey and their insights into local advertising? Tune in to the Conquer Local podcast to hear straight from Gordon Borrell himself.

About the Author

Zach is a former content strategist with Vendasta. He is fascinated by digital marketing, international studies, and exploring the relationship between technology and business.

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