Outdoor marketing refers to advertising campaigns that employ outdoor media such as billboards, transit vehicles and other types of outdoor signs, including the signs on the outside of businesses. It also includes efforts to promote the company’s products on its own vehicle fleet, even if the effort is limited to brand displays. Outdoor marketing that uses several different media is usually coordinated for maximum impact and is targeted to displays in areas that will get the attention of your target consumers.
Outdoor ads are relatively inexpensive to prepare, especially when compared to video and radio campaigns, and they usually result in high local visibility. In a 2009 marketing study described in Forbes, researchers at the Arbitron media firm found that 71 percent of those in sight of a billboard often look at it, and nearly a third will notice the advertisement multiple times. In addition, billboard ad viewers usually make shopping decisions on their way home, when they see the ad.
Transit advertising can play a role in your outdoor marketing strategy. In much of the United States, it is common for transit agencies to raise money by offering transit stations and the sides of vehicles as an advertising medium. These ads have the local marketing advantages of a billboard but also cover a large target area. The entire route along a bus or transit line gets exposure to the ad rather just those areas near a stationary billboard. As with other forms of outdoor marketing, it is often difficult to ignore, and impossible to “turn off,” a transit ad.
Disadvantages for Small Businesses
While outdoor marketing often reaches a large number of local consumers, it comes with some disadvantages. According to the Small Business Administration, outdoor advertising enjoys very little time with the reader — usually 2 to 3 seconds. In addition, either the audience or the ad is often in motion, which makes it even more difficult to ensure the ad captures their attention. Finally, because of the logistics of changing signs, advertisers usually must commit to a longer-term campaign.