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Converting Non-Believers: 5 Points to Support Out of Home Advertising

Media Buyers and Small Business Owners Crave Data

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baerboards, Outdoor Advertising, Charlottesville Va

Last month, our longest tenured advertiser (Car Dealer) explained to me how genuinely happy she was with the 3 permanent billboards we provided her over the last 7 years. “It’s been a great run”, she said. In the last 5 years, she bought into changing message every 4 to 6 months,(at additional cost to her) keeping the perm locations ‘fresh’ and never part of the landscape. (Which so many others are guilty of ignoring). In the same meeting, she said she was not renewing and trying ‘another direction’.  OMG, how I, you, we, all of us! have heard that before!  New Code for, I am going online digital.  I have known her long enough to realize she was not going to change her mind. It struck me with full on, red-faced embarrassment, as I suddenly realized my absence over the years in keeping close to her on a more personal level was probably to blame for the loss. She assured nothing could have prevented her decision. She went on to say she was not renewing any of her other Out of Home (OOH), which did not make me feel any better. Nor did it stem the pain for the other rep I suspect, who, as one of the Big 3, and had so much more business to lose or replace. With every defeat comes another opportunity.  We sold one of the locations immediately without gap and at a substantial increased rate. The other unit, the larger, higher rate one, remains open.  ugh!

I share the story above as an intro for Joshua Lawton, who wrote an article on converting OOH ‘Non-Believers’. While his data isn’t necessarily new information we have not heard before, his insights, together, with his recommendations builds an effective approach and positioning.  I wish I had this knowledge on hand three months ago for my Car Dealer.

Lawton’s Converting Non-Believers: 5 Points to Support Out of Home Advertising: is published below in full, with complete sources and attribution. Joshua Lawton’s article is one I recommend if you sell or buy OOH.  Sellers’ needs are obvious.  But as every experienced seller knows, in most cases, the buyer has to sell or defend a plan to someone else above them. Good buyers need solid information as well.  Lawton suggests, (providing) “data which media buyers and small business owners are craving…will help you sell more ad space and increase value.”  

Lawton suggests, (providing) “data which media buyers and small business owners are craving…will help you sell more ad space and increase value.”  

My story was not converting a ‘Non Believer’, however, had this information/data been in my grasp prior to meeting with my 7 year Car Dealer, perhaps, I could have prevented the customer’s migration to online digital.  I have it now and so do you. Or you will, as soon as you stop reading me and move on to the message below. Use it in your next client meeting. Combine it with your current pitch or proposal information.  I sincerely hope you find it as valuable as I did.  Please let me know what you think.  Is the comments box still working?  Thank you Joshua Lawton.

Converting Non-Believers: 5 Points to Support Out of Home Advertising


“Advertising on billboards is a waste of money.”

You’ve probably heard this before if you’ve worked with an advertising agency or after someone asked you “What do you mean that you work in the Out of Home market?” The misconception that billboards are a waste of money is a dogmatic ideology based on counterfactual anecdotal information. (If you don’t know why this information is counterfactual head on over to this article that I previously wrote: “You Wont Believe Which Advertisements Drive the Most Online Activity”.)

Beyond just understanding the data, what OOH owners and believers need is the ability to connect and explain their medium’s value to marketers, advertisers, and most importantly small business owners who are all dogmatic believers in the strength of online marketing. The OOH market needs to be able to break through the general malaise with which the OOH space is viewed because unlike the online space, the Out of Home market on the whole lacks the data that marketers, advertisers, and small business owners believe is essential to their campaigns.

Beyond the product that we at Abraxas Technology provide to fix this lack of OOH data, there are several key points that can refute the strongest misheld belief and convert non-believers into believers:

Business is global and marketing needs to reach that audience.

This is an often misheld opinion by many within the marketing space. Sure some businesses have a global footprint and some businesses want to have a global footprint. However the vast majority of U.S. businesses do not have a global footprint, much less a national one. To be frank, utilizing a medium that has a higher cost and produces less online activity makes little sense for campaigns that have a budget (By the way I’m referring specifically to Facebook ads, not billboards. Read this article if you don’t believe me “You Wont Believe Which Advertising Medium is Cheaper Per Impression Than Facebook Ads.”). So what should you point to in order to counter this argument? Focus on the reality of the US business sector:

  1. According to the Small Business Administration, small businesses make up 99.7% of U.S. employer firms and 46% of private-sector output.
  2. While 51% of Americans prefer to shop online, 74% of small business websites do not have e-commerce.
  3. 6 out of 10 small business owners cannot track their social media marketing ROI.
  4. 72% of individuals who did a local search visited a store within 5 miles.
  5. 62% of small business owners say Facebook ads miss their targets.

Beyond these bullet points, it is important to remember that most business is transacted locally. 64% of consumers’ budgets are still spent in store versus 36% being spent online. The range that people are willing to drive to buy non-luxury cars, a big-ticket item, on average is less than 30 miles, and the range becomes even worse for non-big ticket items.

The range limitations are further compounded by the total market share of e-commerce within the United States. While e-commerce has continued to take up more of the total retail dollars spent, it still accounts for only 9%. This means that even though we viscerally feel like most of our retail transaction occur online, they in fact do not, and therefore are constrained by the time that people are willing to travel.

None of this is to say that online retail transactions are unimportant. Rather it helps focus the attention on where and how consumers are spending their money. Yet, creating believers out of disbelievers is hard. If you are lacking the data that these media buyers and small business owners are craving, you will not be able to sell more ads or increase the value of your boards.

If you’re interested in how Abraxas Technology can help you convert these non-believers don’t hesitate to send me an email at  JLawton@abraxastechnology.com.

Joshua Lawton is the COO and Co-Founder of Abraxas Technology
Follow Abraxas Technology on Twitter @Abraxas_Tech

Here’s is the blog site for Converting Non-Believers: 5 Points to Support Out of Home Advertising

Joshua Lawton-Belous
COO and Co-Founder
Ph: 571.232.8300


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