TV remote

Not so long ago – 25 years or so – TV advertising was the pinnacle of any marketing strategy. Little has changed on that front but far too often, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and brand owners dismiss TV advertising from their marketing mix thinking that the millions spent by big brands are still required to make an impact.

Things have changed and it couldn’t be further from the truth. TV advertising should be a part of every founder or marketing directors mind as they plan for the year ahead.

It’s very true that the big brands of the UK – the likes of M&S, Argos and many others - spend significant amounts of money on advertising, hogging the Coronation Street slots. But it’s important that SMEs aren’t deterred by this and embrace TV advertising to target core audiences.

And here’s why.

How has TV changed to benefit SMEs?

In the nineties, Sky TV and cable services ripped the broadcast rule-book up. Sky spent millions of pounds on a service which today reaches more than 26 million homes. They did this by launching their own network of channels, opening the door to international channels too. It was the beginning of something bigger for the industry. It instantly broadened the advertising potential for brands having gone from five channels, to one-hundred-and-five.

Fast-forward ten years and the internet, with its advertising potential, was being recognised by brands too. The two scenarios – mixed amongst other developments – meant that the cost of TV advertising came down and opportunities arrived.

Not only that, but the continued developments in free digital television and the ability for broadcasters to effectively, built their own channel brought further potential for all types of business, operating in different sectors.

Isn’t TV suffering a slow, painful death?

Not at all.

TV viewing figures may have fallen in the past 20 years but according to Ofcom, we still each watch an average of more than three hours of TV every day. Astonishing really. More importantly, we’re just watching the TV differently these days.

What we’re seeing today is the adoption of multi-screen whereby we are sat watching TV, while messaging others on our mobile phones, and checking emails on a laptop of tablet. Which, in itself, gives marketers yet another challenge – how do you find your true audience for your product or service?

Targeting your audience

The vast majority of SMEs and start-ups know who their core audience is. Once determined, moving on to targeting them is the main objective of a growing business. Many use PR as it is one of the cheapest ways to build awareness, but issues over control of message can creep in.

Advertising is therefore a potential avenue to explore. Yes, there are magazines for property lovers – to pick a sector I’m familiar with – but to have a long-lasting effect, TV is now a very real possibility for SMEs.

What does it mean for SMEs?

More communications channels, more choice to get to market simple means that SMEs and big brands can tailor their audience targeting better, and manage costs as a result.

As a result, TV advertising should be considered when looking at ways to promote your business.

And don’t forget, in a recent IPA study of Advertising Effectiveness, none of the 1,000 marketing campaigns studied achieved substantial long-term profit growth without an investment in TV advertising. It has also been found that 84% of adults believe TV advertising is most likely to influence their purchase decision.

Now, where’s that 2016 marketing plan?

By Michael Hammond, founder of Property TV (Sky 238)