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I checked into billboard advertising a few years ago.
It seemed prohibitively expensive for anything but the largest of lawn care companys running many crews. To get a good economy of scale, you need to run multiple billboards for several month stretches. The cost can easily run several thousand dollars / month.
I have seen a new local trend with billboard companies running 1/4 sized billboards.
There are even some local independent businesses that will advertise your business within their business street sign for $25 to $100 per month. This is a much more affordable venue for small LCOs that want local saturation instead of attempting to advertise city wide.
I would like to see more LCOs saturate a very specific geographic location instead of spreading their advertising over larger areas in a "drift net" type fashion. As gas prices remain high, and the cost of servicing wide areas increases, I believe geocentric saturation will become more popular.
It is fascinating to see what other businesses are doing to attract customers.
I wonder at times how much ego effects the marketing one does. I think it can play a huge factor. One of my friends a while back was running a bunch of billboards for his business and had his picture up on it. He asked me almost everytime I saw him, if I had seen his billboard around town. LOL yes I would say, I saw it. I bet a lot of people saw it, but I don't know how many called him because of it.
Maybe the view is, you have 'made it' once you can have your own billboard up in the air.
A guy around here did a bilboard just like the one in the pic rite on a corner of 2 major roads and he gained a ton of business i talked to him once and he stated he gained 500 customers off of the sign .
In advertising, I think there is an effect on future advertisers by the perceived value of current large scale and expensive ads.
Without knowing anything about the ROI of this billboard, a different company might decide to purchase billboards next year based solely on the fact that a successful company used them in 2008.
There is a problem though if the billboards really do not pay off in the long run for the first company. Maybe the first company is just doing an experiment. Maybe they have a $50,000 advertising budget and they are spending $30,000 of it on these billboards. If it doesn't pay off, they will simply rely on their other forms of advertising.
If the next company only has a $30,000 advertising budget and they spend it entirely on billboards based on the idea that "a successful lawn care company did this last year, so, it's gotta work", they might be in trouble if the ads don't work.
I ran a fairly large scale radio advertising campaign one year. It worked marginally well but my ad dollars were better spent in other media. I didn't realize the lack of effect those ads would have. The following year, I dropped the ads but heard a competitor was running similar ads on the same radio stations.
It is interesting to see / hear ads like this run for one cycle (month, year) and then the ads don't run again. It makes me wonder how many advertising dollars are wasted through trial and error.
Personally, I think it is better to advertise small until you know what works for your particular area.