Lots Of Small Business Clients Need Lots Of Help, Media Companies Are Cool With That

Media companies are increasingly turning to marketing services as a revenue source. And it seems that newspapers are well positioned to do so on a local basis, where they already have traction with the small- and medium-sized businesses that advertise in their pages.
According to Crain’s Chicago Business, Tribune Co. is starting a new consulting business in its digital department, allowing the newspaper company to sell its social media and Internet advertising know-how to small and mid-sized businesses.
The new business is called 435 Digital Services. Bill Adee, the newspaper’s digital department vice-president, said 435 Digital grew out of the paper’s Chicago Now blog network. When Chicago Now began working with small and mid-sized businesses it found that many client-owners knew they needed social media advertising — such as a presence on Facebook — and understood the importance of search engine optimization to help maximize exposure on the Internet, but few knew how to execute on those needs, Mr. Adee says.
This development, and others like it, interests me in that even boutique agencies are not typically equipped to work with small clients. Which leaves small businesses to piece something together in DIY fashion, whether it’s a new logo they need or a social media marketing plan.
Some small businesses do reach out for professional help, but the owner-managers often don’t know where to turn or whom to trust. The digitally inclined among them might turn to a crowdsourcing site for help, but trust me, that’s not an option on the top of many non-digitally obsessed minds.



About David Burn

I wrote my first ad for a political candidate when I was 17 years old. She won her race and I felt the seductive power of advertising for the first time. Today—after working for seven agencies in five states—I am head of brand strategy and creative at Bonehook in Portland, Oregon.