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Pepsi announced last week that it will be pulling its television spots for next years Superbowl. Instead, they will be spending their money on a new marketing effort, which is mostly online. This marks the end of a 23 year run of Pepsi running Superbowl ads.  You can read more about it here.

This is not the first big company to drop the superbowl (Shipping giand FedEx did it last year) and it most likely wont be the last. The reason for this change? Cost. Superbowl ads cost anywhere between 2.5 and 3 million dollars per 30 second spot.

They will instead spend the money on a program called the “Pepsi Refresh Project”, which will be an online community that will allow people showcase community work, and recieve funding via public donations. The value of combining community relations and social media is a smart move by Pepsi, and small business owners should take note of the big dogs strategy.

Why is this relevant to small business owners?

As a small business owner myself, I have found that following industry trends and duplicating them keeps my business current and on pace with my competition. Small businesses can’t afford millions of dollars for research and development. They need to rely on watching trends and following suit.

Sure small businesses like yours or mine will never buy air time at the Superbowl, and probably will never even employ a television strategy. We will however have the opportunity to market our businesses online. It is cost effective, has the ability to reach a huge audience and it is results are trackable.

You wont need to create a multi-million dollar online community like Pepsi, but you wont need to. Leverage the already popular social media platform like Facebook and create content that users will find useful or entertaining. Having someone share your content on Facebook is like having customers as ambassadors for your brand. That is a powerful marketing tool.

Remember, you don’t need to outspend your competitors in marketing, just out think them. You can create an effective online marketing campaign that WILL increase sales for a fraction of the cost of traditional marketing. The key? Understand who your customers are, and create content specifically for them. If its valuable, relevant content, they will engage with it.

Chris Stasiuk

Author Chris Stasiuk

Chris is commercial director and founder of SVG, a Toronto based video content agency.

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