Data: Established SMBs Use Offline, Digital Equally, “Young” SMBs Choose Digital

At one time, digital media was a medium dominated by “young” tech savvy users. Today that is not the case, and a more diverse spectrum of demographics have begun to embrace and understand digital outlets.

This migration and digital disruption has led to countless debates around what the appropriate media mix is for advertisers big and small. While I won’t go into a discussion on what is “appropriate” here, according to new research conducted for LSA by Thrive Analytics, “young” (less than one year old) businesses tend to value digital media more than “older” (15+ years) businesses.

While this appears to reinforce the cliché stereotype of the young vs. old when it comes to digital, a closer look reveals something more interesting at work here. First of all the relationship between business age and media mix is not linear. In other words, the older a business is doesn’t mean the more they spend on traditional media.

In fact the largest sequential increase in traditional media is the 11-point gain from the less than one year old business to the 1-3 year old business.  Perhaps this increase is the result of a realization that not “everyone” is using digital media to connect with businesses and tried and true traditional methods still have a place in the mix.

But the chart is merely a reflection of a point in time and probably shouldn’t be considered as a sequential process among the SMB community. When future spending is taken into account, we can see that the digital media piece of the pie is likely to grow across the board of business ages.


As you can see, the growth in marketing spend is going towards digital outlets with websites, social media and mobile topping the list.  Despite this, traditional media appears to be trending higher when it comes to the “stay the same” classification.

As the digital vs. traditional debate continues, the appropriate marketing mix is not something that can be approached in a “generic” way. Regional, industry and demographic differences require each business to find the right mix for its individual audience.

LSA offers a wealth of SMB research and access to this data is based on membership status. To learn more, contact us today!

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