Posted November 17, 2009 1:23 pm by with 9 comments

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According to a recent survey by email marketing company VerticalResponse, small and medium businesses are wising up to online marketing. For their 2010 plans, they’re big into SEM, social media and email marketing—but interest in banner ads is quickly waning.

54.2% of SMBs do not plan to use banner ads online next year. Of those that are currently using banner ads, less than 20% of businesses with 11-100 employees reported increasing their banner spend this year (and about 7% of businesses with <10 employees).

A few other advertising media aren’t doing so well. 23.8% of SMBs aren’t looking at paid or natural SEM. Conversely, some 96% plan to use email marketing in 2010, and more than a third of SMBs surveyed are planning to increase their email spending “by a lot” in the coming year. But the big losses come in TV and radio, which has long been a strong seller for local advertising: 79.6% are not planning to use TV, and 72.7% won’t be using radio advertising.

VerticalResponse points out that the low level of adoption is a big opportunity for vendors in the online banner ad arena (and the SEM arena, to a lesser extent). However, unless they mean display ad marketplaces, it’s tough for full-size Internet marketing companies to accommodate the budget needs of SMBs while still offering customized campaigns, advice and value for scale. (I’ve been there.)

What do you think? Should SMBs pay more attention to online banners? How can Internet marketing companies accommodate their needs?