Good news, bad news in Borrell’s latest study on local ad spending

By Gretchen Peck, Editor & Publisher

Since 2016, Borrell Associates — a Williamsburg, Va.-based consultancy — has been taking the quarterly pulse of small- and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) to better understand their marketing and advertising strategies and concerns. Borrell empaneled a group of SMB representatives, including owners or those responsible for marketing decisions. The firm surveyed them again in August 2021, compiling the data in the September-published “Q3 Borrell Business Barometer: Signs of Trouble Ahead.”

Those “signs of trouble” are formidable; 40% said they expected economic conditions for small businesses to worsen over the next six months. A mere 14% expected a sunnier forecast.

COVID-19’s delta variant is top-of-mind for small and medium-sized businesses.

“The intriguing thing here is that their outlook on current economic conditions slid back to where it was in February of this year,” Corey Elliott, executive vice president of local market intelligence for Borrell Associates, explained. “That’s not horrible — and certainly better than all of 2020, but it is as if the optimism I saw in May (and) June has tampered a bit. …

When we ask them to look out over the next six months, here, too, you see some pessimism creeping in, at least more than was present February to June.”

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