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March 7, 2013

Change in TV Viewing Habits will Help Small Businesses Compete with Big Brands

Here’s some good news for small business owners who can’t afford to buy TV air time: young people aren’t watching much television these days.

No need to feel bad that you couldn’t afford the $4 million CBS charged for a 30-second Super Bowl slot in January or that your advertising budget doesn’t allow for even a 4 a.m. infomercial.

For little or no money, you can reach the all-important 18-34-year-old demographic through the channels they use most:  laptops and Smartphones.

Just 3 in 10 Young Adults Rely on TV: Survey

A survey of 2,000 adults found that just 30 percent of young adults expected TV to be their primary source of news and entertainment in 2013.  Some 28 percent said they would be relying mainly on their laptops and 17 percent said they’d use their Smartphones instead of TV, according to a survey by Belkin and reported by

This means that you could reach nearly 33 million young adults without spending a penny on TV advertising.

Sure, you can get super results without a Super Bowl-sized advertising budget, but, rather than spending millions on a 30-second commercial, you can spend hundreds — or less — on a YouTube video that can be played for weeks, months or years without additional expense.

Consider the Charlie Bit Me video that garnered more than 8 million views and the sequel — Charlie Bit Me Again, which has been viewed more than 513 million times.

$500,000 Home Video Proves Power of Content Marketing

The video, an amateur effort by the father of two cute kids, was never intended to hold marketing value.  But the mega-popular video has earned the family nearly a half million dollars and parts of it have been featured in ads for Sprint, Google and Tripit, according to a story by ABC Nightline.

And the 56-second piece of content, originally posted for the benefit of the boys’ grandfather, has been on YouTube since 2007.  It has enjoyed more than five years of play and cost nothing to produce.

There’s nothing stopping you and your company from producing something equally inexpensive and compelling and enjoying the astounding success of viral marketing.

The Internet has leveled the marketing playing field for small businesses and entrepreneurs.

Consider that even the big brands with big budgets also rely heavily on YouTube.

A number of companies leaked their Super Bowl ads on YouTube before the game, and ads from the 2012 Super Bowl continue to chalk up views 12 months after their original airing.

Viral marketing gives businesses of any size what I call the Domino Effect.  You just push the first domino and it sets off a chain reaction.  There are many ways that smaller businesses can start a viral campaign with a few dollars and reap tens of thousands of dollars worth of free advertising.


Great Content Markets Itself

People like to share, and they’ll share almost anything that grabs their interest.  We like to watch things and we like to share what we watch.

Sharing turned “Charlie bit my finger” into an Internet sensation and it can turn your marketing efforts into money-making powerhouses.

The key is to make your video interesting and entertaining.

If you just sit in front of the camera and tell your audience to buy your product or services, you probably won’t get great results.

But create a compelling video and you’ll draw customers and clients to your site for years to come, without spending another penny.

Before you make a marketing video, study the types of content that have gone viral. What do they have in common? What can you produce that would have similar appeal?

Depending on the type of business you own, you might want to hire a professional film production company to help you make your video.  But, if you’re on a tight budget, contact film students and independent filmmakers.  They might provide their services for little more than the credit they’ll receive for helping your company receive widespread exposure.

Or, if you have, or know, cute kids or animals, just grab a camera and start shooting. A hugely successful marketing campaign might be sitting or playing right in front of you.

Follow David on his blog for more insight and information for all business levels. You can also follow him on Twitter: @_DavidAnderson

6 Responses to “Change in TV Viewing Habits will Help Small Businesses Compete with Big Brands

    avatar Marilyn D says:

    I recently read that teenagers aren’t using Facebook. And now, it seems, they’re not watching TV either. This means they’re looking for something new and exciting to grab their attention. It’s the perfect time for small companies and start-ups to beat the big brands at their own game — by coming up with a new game of their own.

    avatar David Anderson says:

    Hmm…Time to put our thinking caps on and work out something new and exciting !

    avatar Katey McLaughlin says:

    I used to watch the Super Bowl only for the commercials. Now, I just watch the ads on YouTube. So I think the trend toward content marketing and away from advertising provides a great opportunity for small companies. The trick, though, is to make a video worth watching. Thanks, David, for showing the little guys how they can compete with the big boy competitors.

    Thanks Katey, and yes you need something just a little bit different to be worth watching, but when you get it right…!

    avatar Tom Grey says:

    This is the kind of thing you sort of know to be true, but don’t realize the implications of until the facts are spelled out for you. I find it fascinating that only 3 out of 10 young adults rely on TV for entertainment and news purposes. It makes sense, given how many young adults you see on their smartphones and given how reliant we all have become on the internet for our source of just about everything… but when I see actual statistics like this I can’t help but be a little shocked, even though it all makes sense logically. And I think that’s so smart for small business owners to use these statistics to their own benefit. The internet has made it possible for any person, product or business to become an overnight sensation; no funds required. It has leveled the playing field. You don’t need millions any more to spend on a TV commercial to get yourself or your product seen. All you need is a camera, internet access and some creativity. Sure, we know it’s not really as easy as all that. How many video are there on YouTube that practically no one has seen, compared to those that have gone viral? But the POSSIBILITY of being seen, the POSSIBILITY of going viral, particularly with little to no cost on your end, is still pretty fantastic, all things considered. It provides you with a much greater chance than you’d have if TV commercials were your only chance of being seen and you couldn’t even begin to afford the cost of this! Kudos to David Anderson on a smart concept and a thought-provoking article!

    Absolutely Tom and thanks for the kind comment. You hit the nail on the head with the word “Possibility” All things are possible 🙂

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