OPINION: “All Business Sizes Matter – The Ad Industry Needs to be More Inclusive”

OPINION: “All Business Sizes Matter – The Ad Industry Needs to be More Inclusive”

Leah Cioccio, Head Of Strategy at Equality Media and Marketing, gives her views on why the marketing industry should widen its focus to include small and medium-sized businesses.

At the height of the pandemic, I thought it would be a good idea to add the IPA’s online course in Advanced Advertising Effectiveness to my locked-down, home-schooling state of life. I know I wasn’t alone; I also know in hindsight it was too much for that particular moment in time.

Despite the underlying stress that I was swallowing up, I thoroughly enjoyed the course, and it has helped immensely to sharpen my skills in holistic marketing and advertising planning. I am a more confident planner and feel empowered to advise good practices like test campaigns (to enable a/b testing), as well as to better identify the connection between channel-specific output reports to determine overall effectiveness.

At the time that I undertook the certificate in Advanced Advertising Effectiveness I was employed by a national broadcast business (thank you SCA for supporting my learning and development), and prior to that I had only ever worked in big business or at least on big businesses. The case studies that I trawled through to gain context around advertising effectiveness were drawn from the IPA’s rich databank of award winners – big, enviable brands boasting campaigns that are etched in the history of advertising. John Lewis, Unilever, CUB to name a few.

Since that time (almost 2 years ago), the context that I consider advertising effectiveness has significantly changed. I am currently employed at an independent full-service agency with a roster of clients whose advertising campaigns are built on small budgets and directly impact business performance. The clients that I work with are less likely to be marketers and instead are business owners or directors. Many are not in a position to allocate the industry standard of 10% per cent of their total revenue to marketing and although they are leveraging advertising to grow their businesses it is the type of advertising that largely remains unseen to the industry.

Despite having upskilled in advertising effectiveness, the biggest challenge that I continue to confront is shifting the perception of advertising from a short-term expense to a long-term vehicle for growth amongst small to medium businesses.

I do wonder if it is because we don’t have enough of the right type of evidence to support diverse businesses (size) and if the enviable brands that we hold up as champions of industry are simply not relatable or translatable, to businesses that have a tenth or less of their budgets and yet still need to deliver effective outcomes via advertising.

The awards season is now upon us and even though they are an incredible platform to elevate success from all corners of the industry, I do not see many if any, that are calling for effective advertising campaigns with small budgets ($500k is not a small budget). This is not an overt criticism of the industry associations that facilitate recognition through award categories, it is just an example of how there is a chicken-and-egg effect in play.

I recently took a look at Nielsen advertising expenditure data for the recruitment category and was shocked to see that of the 2,000+ advertisers in that category, less than 100 spend more than $100,000 in advertising each year. I almost didn’t believe my eyes when I saw that (and of course acknowledge the gaps in data) so I decided to dig a little further and better understand the ratio of big versus small businesses in Australia (assuming that impacts the availability of advertising spend). I turned to the Australian Bureau of Statistics which is home to all of the information you could ever imagine needing, even if it’s not the thing you go to bed dreaming about. In Victoria alone, there are 726,839 businesses, of these only 2.3% are considered medium to large businesses iii.

These 2.3 per cent of businesses are most likely the ones who understand the benefits of advertising and are being captured by industry expenditure data and concurrently assessed for impact (by professionals who may or may not have completed a course during lockdown to hone their skills in advertising effectiveness). But what about the remaining 90+ per cent – or in the case of the recruitment category 97 per cent – whose investment is invisible to our industry data collection and do not fit the form for industry recognition?

We know that the Government injects significant support into the small business sector from infrastructure, recruitment, and start-up funding through to mentoring, however marketing and advertising is lower on the agenda. As a large industry sector (made up of many small to medium businesses), we have a vested interest in helping one another to demonstrate the power of advertising to businesses of all shapes and sizes. Our power to tell stories is the secret sauce of our industry and if we can use it in a broader context than we currently are when it comes to advertising effectiveness, we might yet turn a vicious cycle into a virtuous one for business and advertising a-like.

The start point is a conversation, from there some case studies and shared learnings. Eventually, a record of small to medium business success that we can celebrate.

i Gartner ‘the state of marketing and budget strategy 2022’ ii Nielsen Adquest Standard Report, Recruitment Category, Jan -Dec 2022 iii ABS , Victorian businesses by size and industry class June 2022




Please login with linkedin to comment

Marketing Opinion

Latest News

Australian Agency Signs APAC Deal With Data-Driven Platform To Remove Bias In The Sports & Entertainment Decision-Making Process
  • Marketing

Australian Agency Signs APAC Deal With Data-Driven Platform To Remove Bias In The Sports & Entertainment Decision-Making Process

Super-Sub, an independent Australian sports and culture business has partnered with UK sponsorship insights platform, Luscid to empower brands to make smarter, more impactful partnership decisions, by addressing the lack of data in the Australian sports and entertainment rights market. Australia has one of the most densely populated commercial rights markets per capita globally, with […]

Adland Leaders Launch Pembleton: A Clubhouse For Creative Ideas
  • Advertising

Adland Leaders Launch Pembleton: A Clubhouse For Creative Ideas

Matilda Hobba, Simon Bagnasco, Alex Speakman, and Mac Wright have launched Pembleton, a “clubhouse for creative ideas.” The four partners combine their strategic, creative, and project management experience with leadership roles at independent agencies like Taboo and multinational icons like Saatchi & Saatchi. They have helped create some of the most effective and awarded work […]

Dwyane Wade “Toasts” To The Finals In New 2024 NBA Finals Campaign
  • Campaigns

Dwyane Wade “Toasts” To The Finals In New 2024 NBA Finals Campaign

NBA Legend and three-time NBA Champion Dwyane Wade gathers a cast of former champions and famous NBA fans to celebrate the pinnacle of the NBA season with a toast “to the Finals” in the 2024 NBA Finals campaign “The Toast”. Ray Allen, Mike Breen, Ken Jeong, Magic Johnson, Jimmy Kimmel, Isiah Thomas, Queen Latifah and […]

Year13 Launches Virtual Work Experience Program
  • Marketing

Year13 Launches Virtual Work Experience Program

Thousands of school students have engaged with Youth Engagement Platform Year13’s recently launched Virtual Work Experience during National Careers Week, May 13-19, 2024. Year13’s Virtual Work Experience platform seeks to solve the problem of school students struggling to find placements by moving employer branded Work Experiences online for students to participate in. Year13’s After The […]

Taskmaster’s Tom Cashman Reveals Why He Is More Relaxed This Season
  • TV Ratings

Taskmaster’s Tom Cashman Reveals Why He Is More Relaxed This Season

Network 10’s hit improv comedy show Taskmaster Australia returned last night for a second season. Joining Tom Gleeson and his sidekick Tom Cashman were a slew of new comedic talent including Josh Thomas, Jenny Tian, Lloyd Langford, Anne Edmonds and Wil Anderson. The unscripted comedy show in which comedians are tasked with a random task […]

QMS Put Brands Up In Lights For Vivid Sydney 2024
  • Advertising

QMS Put Brands Up In Lights For Vivid Sydney 2024

As Vivid Sydney 2024 kicks off, QMS is embracing the celebration of creativity, innovation and technology with a powerful collection of advertisers for the annual festival of lights. QMS’ world-leading City of Sydney digital street furniture network will proudly showcase campaigns from brands including Kia Australia, Visit Victoria, Foxtel Hubbl, Kayo, Universal Pictures, Chemist Warehouse, […]

A Current Affair EP Fiona Dear Appointed Nine Director Of News & Current Affairs
  • Media

A Current Affair EP Fiona Dear Appointed Nine Director Of News & Current Affairs

Nine has announced the appointment of Fiona Dear, currently EP of A Current Affair, as the new director of news and current affairs. This appointment comes at a time of rapid change in our news division as Nine continues to rise to the challenges of an ever faster, more dense media environment and an audience […]

Cashrewards: A Decade Strong!
  • Partner Content

Cashrewards: A Decade Strong!

This month, Cashrewards celebrates its 10th birthday. In this op-ed, Anthony Seymour-Walsh, CEO, reflects on the journey of this inspiring Aussie business, which has evolved from humble beginnings to become Australia’s leading cashback ecosystem and a key strategic partner for clients.   Lead image: Anthony Seymour-Walsh – CEO, Cashrewards.   I am excited about the next chapter as […]

Partner Content

by B&T Magazine

B&T Magazine
Gold Artifacts Give Clues To Apple Music’s 100 Best Albums
  • Campaigns

Gold Artifacts Give Clues To Apple Music’s 100 Best Albums

Apple Music has unveiled its complete 100 Best Albums list, celebrating the greatest records ever made. Crafted by Apple Music’s team of experts and artists the lists includes Maren Morris, Pharrell Williams, J Balvin, Charli XCX, Mark Hoppus, and serves as a love letter to the records that have shaped, inspired, and fundamentally changed music. […]

Chook & HOYTS Celebrate Webby Honouree Recognition At The Australian Web Awards
  • Advertising

Chook & HOYTS Celebrate Webby Honouree Recognition At The Australian Web Awards

Chook, a strategy, design and development agency that specialises in bespoke digital experiences, has received international acclaim at the 28th Annual Webby Awards and clinched the Best in Show in the SEO effectiveness category at the Australian Web Awards for the HOYTS’ Australia and New Zealand websites. Lead image: Adam Dipper and James Hartcher, Chook […]

Salesforce’s Bobby Jania: AI Has Flipped Marketing Campaigns On Their Head
  • Technology

Salesforce’s Bobby Jania: AI Has Flipped Marketing Campaigns On Their Head

Bobby Jania, CMO of Salesforce’s Marketing Cloud has said that AI has flipped the traditional marketing campaign on its head, with customers — instead of brands — being in the driving seat. Speaking to a panel of journalists at Salesforce’s Connections event in Chicago, Jania told B&T that the attention economy and AI will force […]

by B&T Magazine

B&T Magazine
Network 10 Axes Gladiators
  • Media

Network 10 Axes Gladiators

the network has dropped its third tentpole show in recent months after cancelling The Bachelor and The Masked Singer. First airing in January this year and hosted by Beau Ryan and Liz Ellis, the reboot features contenders from all walks of life in the ultimate test of speed, strength, stamina, agility and power. It is […]