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Report Examines Shift from Lead-Gen Advertising to Engagement-Oriented Spend by SMBs

Jun 25, 2014

New BIA/Kelsey Insight Paper explores the drivers and challenges surrounding content marketing’s resurgence among small to medium-sized businesses

CHANTILLY, Va. (June 25, 2014) – The shift from performance to engagement marketing is not lost on small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs), according to a new BIA/Kelsey Insight Paper titled, “Content Marketing: The New SMB Paradigm,” which examines the market and technological factors that have led to content marketing’s resurging popularity with SMB merchants and the companies, technologies and products that support them.

“Content marketing is not new,” said Abid Chaudhry, senior director of industry strategy and insight, BIA/Kelsey. “Small businesses have been using an analogue version of content marketing for ages. Today’s version is largely digital, far more targeted and is at the heart of an evolution taking place from performance-driven media like SEM to a more engagement driven marketing approach.”

According to the report, the traditional marketing funnel consisting of awareness, opinion, consideration, preference and purchase is shifting to a more complex and dynamic process that incorporates user-generated content (ratings and reviews), word of mouth and recommendations, along with new marketing access points like mobile and social media. This shift has forced SMB advertisers to engage in multiple formats and styles.

“Changing consumer behavior is at the heart of this shift,” explained Chaudhry. “Consumers no longer sit back and respond to inbound messaging. They lean in and evaluate how and where they will spend their money by reading consumer reviews, reviewing websites, viewing images, watching videos and tapping into their social networks for ideas and recommendations. Today, SMBs that want to rise above the pack need to include some form of content marketing in their media mix. Therefore, a sizable opportunity exists for those that can build solutions for SMBs that are both authentic and scalable.”

Additional findings from the report include:

  • The rise of integrated solutions. An evolution is taking place in which formerly single-point solutions (e.g., listings, reputation management, social media) are becoming more integrated and focused on satisfying the three core tenets of a robust content marketing program: content creation, management and distribution. The solutions that come closest to elegantly aligning all three of these components will capture market share and position themselves for acquisition or further investment.
  • The need to manage location and social data. Modern online content marketing solutions leverage location and social media data to provide accurate and relevant information. Managing that data, along with the components that facilitate the creation, management and distribution of SMB content has become a viable growth business for some solution providers.
  • SMBs adopt “do it with me” thinking. With higher expectations for performance, more SMBs are making the decision to partner with professional marketers in their efforts to engage with customers and prospects online. According to BIA/Kelsey’s Local Commerce Monitor™ (LCM), 40.9 percent of small businesses surveyed said they are willing to pay for assistance to update their online properties.



Availability of ‘Content Marketing: The New SMB Paradigm’

The 17-page report, which includes five data charts and features interviews with several content marketing solution leaders, is a useful resource for marketing and sales executives at companies selling advertising to SMBs, multi-location businesses and national brands; investors assessing future opportunities in the local media space; and anyone who follows the development of local media advertising models. BIA/Kelsey advisory services clients can download the report in the client portal. The report is available for purchase for $495. More information about the report and how to purchase it is available at

About BIA/Kelsey

BIA/Kelsey advises companies in the local media space through consulting and valuation services, research and forecasts, Custom Advisory Services and conferences. Since 1983 BIA/Kelsey has been a resource to the media, mobile advertising, telecommunications, Yellow Pages and electronic directory markets, as well as to government agencies, law firms and investment companies looking to understand trends and revenue drivers. BIA/Kelsey’s annual conferences draw executives from across industries seeking expert guidance on how companies are finding innovative ways to grow. Additional information is available at, on the company’s Local Media Watch blog, Twitter ( and Facebook ( Stay connected by subscribing to the firm’s bi-monthly newsletter.

For more information contact:

Eileen Pacheco
For BIA/Kelsey
(508) 888-7478