No matter where you look, you can’t escape the headlines about digital marketing investment expanding at the expense of traditional ad spend.

A recent case in point, last week’s eMarketer article, “Traditional media ad spend dips lower as more dollars shift to digital.”

While marketers are focused on digital connections, we have an opportunity to be their (or at least part of their) digital solution and continue to offer other product components that our competition cannot.

As our own industry moves through its transition to multiple solution offerings, we can see clear areas of opportunity in reviewing the business categories in our markets by focusing on solving their marketing needs and seeing where they are spending their marketing dollars.

A simple example

Using the Borrell Associates Compass report, we review the current estimate of local ad dollars being spent by media channel:

  • Total local ad dollars spent by medium for the market overall (Figure A).
  • Local ad dollars spent by medium across over 100 retail categories, by medium share.

  • Projected local ad dollars to be spent by medium within the next few years (where growth in local ad spending is going).

For growth in digital spend, we review what type of digital channel will see spending grow: targeted display, paid search, static display/ROS, online video or audio, or e-mail?

One simple process is to export the category data to a spreadsheet, then narrow the data to focus on three columns of spending: total local ad dollars spent, local online/digital dollars spent, and total newspaper dollars spent.

Each of those column headings have breakdowns for current year (2012) and projected (2017). Then it is easy to calculate change in dollar volume and percentage.

What we conclude from that spreadsheet:

  • Dollars in local ad spending are projected to rise US$180 million, up 32% by 2017.

  • Local dollar spending in online/digital is projected to rise US$180 million, up 157% by 2017.

  • Local dollar spending in newspapers is projected to rise US$7 million, or 4.3% higher than today, by 2017.

Reviewing the category spending, financial services caught my eye for a few reasons:

  • Dollars in local ad spending are projected to rise US$4.7 million, up 225%.

  • Local dollar spending in online/digital is projected to rise US$4.3 million, or by 658%.

  • Local dollar spending in newspapers is projected to rise US$83,000, or by 16%, from a small base of current business.

I’ve isolated this category to demonstrate several points:

  • We honestly don’t have a well-developed foothold and penetration of this category in print now.

  • The growth in digital for this category is going to be extraordinary.

  • We have the best local media suite of digital products in the field.

  • We have an opportunity to break into a category and develop new business, primarily digital, but maybe incremental print, too.

Note the dramatic increase in digital targeted display advertising and the projected slight decline in paid search.

Targeted display advertising happens to include many of the options we deploy as digital solutions, such as behavioral targeting in Yahoo or our premium news network in Audience Express; geo-targeting via Web or mobile; contextual targeting in our eByline offering, social, etc.

Paid search, still important in the digital mix, is a less important proportion of the digital spend than it was years ago.

So, we have the story of where the ad spending is trending. Now, we go to our local business listings and create a target list of the small-to medium-sized, local financial services businesses to target for needs analysis and follow-up proposals.

Nearly 100 businesses in our primary market that are not typical newspaper accounts but are projected to be spending tremendous amounts of digital ad dollars.

Let’s go open up a new category!

What are financial services companies wanting to do? Reach people with money that are looking for services to help manage it, invest it, and grow it.

Our proposal for digital business will be focused on matching their business goals to our product strengths in delivering that audience segment. And it just so happens we have another option that the competition does not: Print is actually still a good option to include in a multi-channel proposal.

Print reader demographics skew to older, more affluent segments of the marketplace. And with very affordable print rates, including print is a good option for the advertisers in this category.

Our Scarborough Research data show 29% of our market adults have stock investments, while 50% of those with stock investments read our print newspaper. Our readers are 24% more likely to have stocks and investments than the average market adult. And our visitors are 36% more likely to have investments.

For a business in this category, we are going to lead with digital options and support with print.

Success today is not about being all things to all people, but rather optimising the mix so you present the most desired options before the right targets.

Leverage your data to create new opportunities.