Why Do Customers Say Yes?

Relationships matter, right? Local businesses purchase our services because of our strong ties to the community right? Or do they say “yes” to our proposals because we back them up with such compelling analytics that they can’t say no? Well, it seems that there’s some truth in both assumptions.

Coming out of Borrell’s latest SMB Survey are some details on what local businesses use to make their final decision. A chart on Borrell’s findings can be found here.  

What is telling is that customer decisions to purchase “traditional” marketing channels are simply NOT based on analytics. Local businesses tend to go with their “gut” when making decisions on traditional, or legacy media channels. But when it comes to digital media, they rely on facts, analytics, and statistics to validate their decisions. There’s likely various reasons for this. The most logical is simply that digital media lives and breathes analytics, where legacy media does not, and in some cases CAN NOT. There once was a time (I have personal and professional experience with it) when traditional media leaned heavily on Scarborough, Simmons, Gallup, Nielsen (yes the same Nielsen ratings) and ABC to prove their audience. We could verify, without a shadow of a doubt how large an audience we delivered, or how many were male/female, home owners, multiple car owners, etc. This came in handy.

Enter Digital Media

Then when digital media came on the scene, analytics took on a whole new meaning. Not only could advertisers determine the size, look, and shape of the audience, they could track the customer path all the way to conversion. This inherent quality of digital media, the granular nature of audience and behavioral measurement, has resulted in potential customers that are becoming very discerning in what they will purchase. They are basing most of their decision-making for digital media on hard analytics, not their gut. And what about traditional, or legacy media? Seems that all the focus on hard analytics has shifted to digital, and local businesses are relying on their “gut” feelings to make those decisions.

The Take-Away

Local marketing services providers should be on top of their game when it comes to any analytics that justify recommendations. Local businesses won’t enter into an SEM or SEO agreement without statistics to back up the investment or ROI. Targeted display campaigns won’t be accepted without  hard justification as to how wide and deep the reach is going to be, nor without ongoing measurement tools accompanying the purchase. On the other hand, because local businesses are still using their “gut” feelings for traditional media, it means that we need to be very good stewards of the entire sales process for print components. While we may not have detailed audience statistics on our printed products, we have basics and we should use them. Then, we have to be great sales representatives and not just throw prices and sales sheets at local businesses in justifying recommendations.

Remember, local businesses want to know that they are making the right decision. Facts and analytics will help in justifying digital components, and they will not replace good salesmanship for our multimedia solutions including traditional and digital channels.

Note: While we are on the subject of analytics, don’t forget to register for Google Analytics for Beginners Thursdays. All sales personnel will be required to pass the Google Analytics for Beginners certification by Labor Day. These Thursday sessions will walk you thru the certification process. 

Quote of the week

“You can’t build a reputation on what you are going to do.” 

-Henry Ford

Notes to “Note”

Weekly MOM

Your MOM has changed. MOM’s do sometimes, that’s a good thing right?
The new blog format means that you can subscribe to MOM and get updates sent to you as they occur.
  • You can be notified of the updates, when they happen.
  • The menu in the upper right includes tabs that will maintain static pages. We will keep updating the information on these pages as we go, but you should be able to find links, names, and phone numbers that you need on a regular basis. You can use this kind of like your own in-house directory.
    • The AdOps page will always feature a link to the most recent daily O&O inventory reports and ad campaign reports and contact information
    • The Promotions page will always feature a link to upcoming promotions, the promotions Intake form, and contact numbers
    • The Training page will always feature a link to ThriveHive and Gatehouse training updates
  • Because this is a blog, you can comment. You can discuss things, you have the right to offer your feedback and ask for more information on anything you see, or don’t see. MOM will continue to give you basically, what you are going to need for the whole week to succeed. But now you can give back. Let MOM know what is going on. We can start a regular discussion. If you want to see something more about a part of our business, just ask. We have several individuals now contributing to MOM, so responses will have several perspectives.
  • MOM is available on ALL devices…desktop, mobile (Android & iOS), and tablet.
This is your MOM, at least at work that is.


MOM’s 5 Mintue Quiz is back with a special July 4th edition. Taking this test is mandatory for all members of the MOM audience. Go ahead, the first 5 entries with correct answers will earn my admiration, a hearty hand clasp, and your name will be proudly displayed in next week’s MOM as a learned digital scholar.

Here’s this week’s 5MQ

How many of us have made the announcement to clients about our new brand? We should be loud and proud about this, it’s another way for us to make sure our name is moving closer to top-of-mind positioning. In several community meetings recently we’ve seen that our single masthead brand becomes less of an issue next to other media companies bragging of their capabilities. ThriveHive is the way we can punch through that. Teamed with our regional ENC Media brand, and the weight that the Gatehouse Media brand offers, our footprint is formidable.  If you still need access to the email template that can be sent to all local customers, it’s here. Feel free to let all businesses know. You’ll be seeing in-house ads this week adding to the excitement.


ENC Medical

ENC Medical deadline has come…and gone! We may be able to fit more business in, so if you have anyone on the fence, please let them know we may have a couple of days to make a decision. THIS MAY CHANGE AT ANY TIME, due to print schedules so please let all potential customers know. Final ad copy and editorial must be totally completed and approved by July 14!

ENC Athlete of the Week

We have made several presentations with very good response so far. Because this is a weighty campaign and sponsorship we can allow some decision time. But the clock is ticking now. All presentations must be approved ahead of time by Alissa Bowditch, and are FIRST COME FIRST SERVED. (This means we cannot hold any sponsorship commitment without a firm signed agreement. But once we have that, the sole-sponsorship is closed and unavailable to anyone else in that market.

This is one of the largest sponsorships we’ve brought to market, and one that many local customers will want to hear more about. Check out details under Sponsorships in this week’s edition of MOM.

Contact Alissa if you have questions.


Digital Campaign Reports

June reports are now uploaded to the drive. All digital customers should be receiving traffic reports several times a month. The month end reports (June 2017) should be accompanied by a discussion regarding the overall campaign, optimization recommendations, and campaign adjustments if desired. Please reach out to anyone in AdOps or the Digital Dept if you have any questions. This will be part of our 1 on 1 discussions over the next couple of weeks, so if you would like a deeper conversation on how best to position these discussions, let’s talk.

O&O Site Audience Reports

June website audience reports (traffic reports) are now uploaded to the drive. These reports, include a monthly summary of page views, users, sessions, audience demographics and location. These reports do not represent a “value” for customers, they merely validate the “who” and “how many” our newspaper.com audiences represent as a potential for local advertisers. All digital display campaigns are recommended to include OnTarget targeting PLUS newspaper.com. To validate those recommendations, or in cases where newspaper.com is proposed solely these documents show the size and breadth of the audience as well as how that audience may access our sites.

Feel free to ask questions regarding these reports. We’ll discuss these more in one of our W3‘s (Weekly Wednesday webinars) this month.


July/August Promotion Ideas

  • Check out some ideas HERE

Think promotions are too expensive?

  • Think again… co-op is more attainable than you may think. Need ideas to start? Look at AdMall or Gatehouse’s Co-Op Spreadsheet
    • Note to all sales: Co-op opportunities contributed to one of the largest ThriveHive sales we have closed to date at ENC Media Group, $69K! Don’t overlook this opportunity, and if you need help just contact Alissa

Have A Prospect?

  • Just fill out the Promotion Intake to get the conversation started
    • This is a simple process, and will yield great insight for customers. 

What is a Turn-Key promotion?

  • Some of you may not be aware of the terms that Second Street uses for their promotions.
    • Custom Promotions are just that, they are customized for specific customers.
    • Turn key promotions are ready-made. They are great examples of what you can use to generate business and generate results for customers.
      • Example: New Bern Historical Society will be a NEW ThriveHive customer with incremental spending as a result of two turn-key promotions, taken off the shelf, generating approximately 300 names of local residents that want to know more about them. Would you like to deliver the same type of results? These are quick promotions with little setup needed. Need more?
      • Here’s a couple of examples of turn key quizzes…using these, local businesses extend their brand, and capture valuable user information that they can use to add to their own mailing list.


Pie Chart of the Week

How local businesses, as a group, spend their local ad budgets in 2016.

(Coastal NC Region including the following counties-Brunswick, Craven, Lenoir, New Hanover, Onslow, Pamlico, Pender.)




Between 2016 and 2018, newspaper share of local advertising in our region is expected to decrease by 15%, and will contribute only 7% to local marketing budgets. Online is anticipated to increase by 37%, contributing 59% to local marketing budgets. The only three categories to expect growth will be Cable TV, Out of Home, and Online advertising.


Are you accessing Compass date to validate your proposals? We’ll be discussing this more in our 1 on 1’s but if you want some assistance, see your local Compass Navigator in your office, or contact Alissa Bowditch or myself.  This kind of information is invaluable and is “documented” to help close significant contract proposals.


…training…the new norm

This week’s Training entry includes some extremely important information. All sales personnel should review this and access all sites that are mentioned. You’ll see several training opportunities to which you may register. A couple are mandatory, the new Learning Management System that replaces several other training destinations, and Google Analytics for Beginners. There are also others you may register for. In order for all of us to be of value to local businesses, we will continue to upgrade our learning and enroll in training. While some of the sessions are optional, actually knowing what is being trained will not be. In other words, what we are training to will be expected of all as we evolve into a digital services company.
Feel free to shout out with any questions. This is a great opportunity.

NEW GateHouse Media Learning Management System

The GateHouse Training Team has invested in a new Learning Management System (LMS). This robust platform will be replacing our current training platform (ProProfs/ACE) that many of you have been using to date. The new platform called SmarterU, will provide many new benefits to you and our organization as we evolve and build our training curriculum.

The new learning system is based on Learning Plans and courses and they can be assigned to a user with a simple click, making training opportunities more accessible everyone!  You will also notice that we have implemented quizzes, games and/or tasks associated with some of our courses for improved retention!

Important, please read the information in this folder: Save this folder to your My Drive. 

Google Analytics for Beginners Thursdays

This is just a reminder, all sales personnel will be required to pass Google Analytics for Beginners by Labor Day. You may work ahead immediately by logging into your Google account and proceeding. Or you may pace yourself with other GateHouse employees learning more about Google Analytics each Thursday in July. Simply access the information here, and enroll.

Summer Online Solutions Academy Starts Tuesday July 11

Starting Tuesday, July 11, and for the following two Tuesdays, you have a chance to gain deeper learning about a number of GateHouse and ThriveHive solutions. This is a great chance to get hands-on training and be able to ask questions of the trainers, as well as hear other questions from GateHouse employees just like yourself. Register here.

Author: David Prizer

Digital media executive and thought leader, emphasizing local and small business strategies. 20 years of experience in metro and community markets. Still watching Seinfeld reruns and holding out for a Cubs-White Sox subway series in my lifetime.

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