3 Marketing Ideas for Small Businesses in NYC 

The bustling metropolis of New York City is no stranger to marketing and selling. It should come as no surprise that it sits right at the top of the list of cities with the most advertising agencies and varieties of advertisement in the world.  

NYC billboards, like the ones in Times Square are infamous worldwide, and every company dreams of being able to be part of that ad space. Almost 100% of the billboard market in NYC is controlled by a handful of companies, each unique in their advertising capabilities.  

1. Go Public 

Everyone knows that NYC is a “walking” city. Most residents do not own cars and rely heavily on public transportation which is a mecca for marketing ads. Research has shown that nearly 70 million tourists visit the Big Apple yearly, not to mention over 50% of locals who are seeing the ads every day on their commute. 

The US Census confirms that the average commute time of a NYC resident is 37 minutes, and that’s a lot of time to be looking at ads. Not to mention, seeing the same ads daily will help reinforce the message. There are 36 major rail lines in NYC which means limitless options for a clever marketing campaign. 

For a large NYC billboard footprint, consider billboard ads with a company like Outfront Media. Their reach extends from Manhattan to the outlying (commuter) areas of Staten Island, Brooklyn, the Bronx, and Queens. Lamar Advertising also covers these prime areas, and together with Clear Channel Outdoor, reaches 99% of the NYC commuter market on a weekly basis.  

3. Go Digital 

Keeping with the billboard theme but scaling the space to accommodate digital ads has become quite the rage. Digital billboards take up about 9% of advertising space in NYC. Digital out-of-home boards (or DOOH), allow the most flexibility for your ad campaign.  

Outfront Media boasts their “live boards” which give customer’s ads a ton of flexibility and creative options. In Times Square, 9,000 square feet of advertising space belongs to Outfront Media which is made up of six screens in the prime real estate intersection of 42nd Street and 7th Avenue.  

Branded Cities’ dynamic collection of advertisements can be found in the prestigious Times Square along with other key NYC landmark locations such as Bryant Park, Port Authority, Lincoln Tunnel, and Madison Square Garden. Fun fact: this company also manages the NASDAQ screen at the infamous 43rd and Broadway block. 

Due to the interchangeability of the information on DOOHs, they are widely popular. They are also automatically illuminated, eliminating any break in their advertising effectiveness. You will never have out-of-date announcements on a DOOH, changes can also be scheduled to occur at preset times to eliminate constant monitoring or updating. Digital boards are also less expensive and allow the largest variety of options for the advertiser. 

4. Go Traditional 

There is still a lot to be said for the tried-and-true classic advertising methods. Even though half of NYC’s population looking at these ads are pedestrians, there are still a lot of vehicles in the city, especially taxi cabs and Ubers.  

Wrapped car ads are a great advertising model in a city like New York. Even if someone isn’t getting inside one to travel, they can see them (or are almost getting hit by one), so they are likely to notice the ad too.  

A wrapped car is a moving billboard or advertisement. The image will be static since it is wrapped and in constant motion, but a colorful and eye-catching wrapped car can be very effective. It also allows for your ads to reach outlying areas and potential customers that don’t always travel to NYC frequently. 

Keeping with that sentiment, an advertising truck is a fantastic way to advertise. This method gives you the best of both worlds, allowing a digitalized ad that can also be mobile, but focused on a high traffic area to get the best notice. Customizing a campaign via a fleet of advertising trucks can be a great way to raise more awareness for smaller, more localized businesses too.  


There are many ways to successfully market your small business in New York City. While you may not be able to start with a DOOH in Times Square, there will be several options for you.  

Start with the basics, a wrapped car ad or kick-off campaign with an advertising truck will be an effective way to get attention and recognition for your small business, without having to compete with the Times Square ads. 

Eventually, you can upgrade your marketing plans to present on a DOOH, or other signage that will draw in pedestrian traffic in the large metropolis.  

The real trick is – get your business noticed. If what you offer your customers is worth coming back to, a successful ad campaign regardless of method will be a cherry on top.  

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