Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Are Canadian Local Search Players Leaving B2B Money on the Table?

Closing remarks at this week's Warrillow & Co. "Stealing Share" event geared towards marketing to Canadian small businesses, confirmed that national advertisers are not only trying to reach this market but they are doing it on a local level.

Canadian B2B advertisers plan on increasing their online media budgets in 2008. Email had a planned increase of 54%, paid and organic search was up 47% and spend towards banners was raised b 39%. The big losers of this survey were television and national newspapers which saw decreases of 7% and 8% respectively.

Another area covered by the trends survey was the tactical approach businesses plan to take in 2008. 17% of B2B advertisers will implement blogging strategies and 16% will pursue online discussion board opportunities.

All indications show that national B2B advertisers are planning to increase their use of online media to advertise to small businesses.

I recently blogged about the lack of true business networks. The issue was brought up again this afternoon when John Warrillow commented on the lack of affinity between small business owners. In some cases, the competitive nature of the verticals make it impossible to connect any social dots. We've also noted that small business owners are primarily consumers and that social networks are already working to blur the lines between personal and professional lives.

When it comes to local search for this market, the field is wide open in Canada. Most options are US based (an option made slightly more attractive by the thriving Canadian dollar).

With major national brands like Costco and Best Buy starting to use localized guerrilla-style tactics to gain market share, it's clear that given the opportunity or appropriate platform, they would certainly use a locally focused search to capture this lucrative target.

The question is whether business owners who are already starting to use social networks as their own advertising platform, will be given the right tools within the social environment to source vendors.

Directories and local search engines have their work cut out for them. I have a feeling we'll see some Canadian developments in this area in the near future.

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