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Alternative advertising for SMEs

For just a fraction of the tri-media advertising cost, alternative media are delivering as much buzz
By Rafael Santos |


The Antipolo City-based Placem’ad Inc., which specializes in placemat ads, says the medium is a very cost-effective and localized way of advertising for startups. Mavic Relayson, its business development manager, explains: “The majority of our clients are suburban SMEs based in Antipolo that want to disseminate their messages in a more localized way. We target restaurants and food establishments where our clients have potential customers.”


According to Relayson, a 2.8 inch x 2.4 inch placemat ad costs as low as P2,900 inclusive of full-color printing for 10,000 pieces. The company does the design as well as the logo and brand executions for clients that don’t have them yet, then handles the distribution of the placemats to the preselected food establishments.


“Our services can be beneficial to startups and established businesses alike,” says Relayson. “Right now, we are serving BPI Family Bank, Reyes Barbecue, and Aqua Polo, among others. We believe that placemat ads are both cheaper and more effective than flyers because they are more targeted, more focused. A lot of times, people just throw flyers away without reading them. In contrast, placemats are necessities in restaurants. People often have no choice but to look at them.”



SMS advertising


The third alternative advertising model now in use is short message service (SMS) advertising, and among the companies that offer it is the local Web solutions firm Technominds Inc. The company has come up with TextCast, an SMS-based advertising service that enables advertisers to send ads to multiple consumers through text messages.


Alvin Tan, president and CEO of Technominds, says that in the Philippines, text advertising is one of the simplest ways of getting your message across. He explains: “Almost all people in the country have mobile phones, and they use it for most of the day. It’s a huge market, and because SMS usage is universal, it cuts across so many demographic markets.”


He says that for a minimum credit purchase of P1,000 of SMS advertising, Technominds will send 1,250 text messages to the cellular phones of individuals listed in the consumer database provided by the advertiser. For an additional fee, Technominds plans to roll out next year a master list of consumer targets that businesses can reach with their advertising messages.



“At the moment, we are targeting big companies for this service,” Tan says. “They are the ones that can benefit directly from this form of advertising because they have more product offerings and promotional campaigns. However, SMEs can also benefit from this service because it’s relatively cheap, and the SMS medium gives them a huge potential market they can use to grow their business.”


In 2008, Technominds received the Nokia “Mobile Entrepreneur Award” in recognition of the huge success of its D-Loads, a Web-based prepaid reloading service for mobile phones. With its TextCast service, Technominds hopes to replicate the success of its D-Loads reloading platform.


“We plan to come up with more Web-based mobile phone solutions in 2009, specifically targeting small businesses,” Tan says. “With the success of D-Loads and hopefully also of TextCast, we can develop the leverage to build more and cheaper as well as more effective platforms for our customers and distributors.”


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