Stop Selling Ads-Part II

Stop Selling Ads To SMB’s…They Need Your Service

Earlier this year, in the Feb 6 edition of MOM to be exact, we discussed how local businesses don’t really purchase ads, they actually want solutions to a need. But that was our own take. Now it’s time for some experts in marketing services to weigh in on the same subject. The recent StreetFight Summit featured a panel including some the biggest names in marketing services discussing the challenges of serving local SMB’s. Their consensus was that marketing services are commonplace, and the way to successfully serve local businesses was to actually be of service to them. (Not a revolutionary concept, but one that deserves reinforcing.)

You can find a feature on this panel in the June 15 edition of StreetFightMag.  But boiling it down to it’s basics, here are the take aways of the panel’s observations.

  • “…SMBs want not only a product tailored to their needs but also a personalized service experience in the form of someone on the digital marketing side who can discuss the problems and needs particular to their businesses.”
  • “There’s no such thing as a small business when trying to reach a small business… It’s a person…(you need to)…love the idea that you’re going to spend time talking to each person, to each business.”
  •  “You have to create a perception of value through good service.”
  • Digital marketers working with SMBs should ask themselves, “How can they capture more value for the customer with whom they build a great relation?”
  • “Their (SMB’s) bottom line is: are there customers coming through the door for me?”
  • “Attribution is key…staying in touch with clients to make sure the product is meeting their expectations is essential.”

The bottom line is this…EVERYONE is in the marketing services game. GoDaddy and VistaPrint can update online business listings, Deluxe Check Printing can improve online visibility, Google is offering free websites, and my nephew Sam, just finished his YouTube video lessons on website coding, so he is offering a great deal for local businesses. SMB’s have no problem accessing “stuff” to “do” marketing. However, research tells us that they are severely challenged when it comes to an understanding of how to make the stuff work for them, whether it’s working (or not) along the way, and whether or not the person, i.e. my nephew really cares whether or not they are successful in the first place. If we aren’t showing our local businesses how to accomplish their goals with the services we provide, we are no different from anyone else. But if we are going to show them HOW to be successful, and take time to help them monitor the ideas we provide, we are their friend, their partner, and part of their success.

Our job is not to SELL STUFF, no matter what anybody says. Our job is to show local businesses how to be successful. The GateHouse shift in focus from Propel to ThriveHive supports that. Their customer service outreach, and features like the Guided Marketing Platform support us, and local customers. Making sure that every local business within our reach is aware of our capabilites, being expert in understanding those capabilites, and then actually staying in touch with them to provide guidance along the way before, during and after campaigns is our real job.  If we are just selling ads to local businesses, my nephew will be in touch soon.

Quote of the week

“If you have everything under control, you’re not moving fast enough.”

-Mario Andretti

Getting To Know Your MOM

  • 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 5M

Test your knowledge with MOM’s 5 Minute Quiz. 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

Business Boost Summer Giveaway-July

This Summer Giveaway has already begun. Yesterday, ThriveHive began it’s Business Boost Summer Giveaway with in paper ads and email blasts. Local businesses will have the opportunity to enter this giveaway, and win great prizes for their businesses. In fact, one lucky winner will receive a custom digital marketing campaign worth $10,000!

Across all our markets, Gatehouse Media Promotions will run display ads and social media ads to promote the giveaway. When people click on the ad or go to the URL on the print ad, they will be taken to a form where they will fill in their information in order to be entered. People can enter once a day.

Take a look at the great prizes GateHouse and ThriveHive are offering…  

  • Grand prize: One lucky winner will receive $10,000 in FREE custom digital marketing, run by our experts
  • Runner-up prizes: Two lucky winners will receive $5,000 in FREE custom digital marketing for their business
  • Additional prizes: Each week during the length of the contest, 15 lucky participants will receive a $50 Amex gift card
  • Everyone who enters will win a free digital marketing consulting session with one of our experts

Take a vacation from planning your marketing alone, and let our experts do the hard work for you!

This contest is designed to drive leads back to the markets, so each week, markets will be provided with a list of the leads who entered from their specific location.

Local Email Marketing to Our Own Customers

We’ve already sent our own email marketing announcement out to our own B2B list announcing the change to ThriveHive. You can check it out here,  Kinston, Jacksonville and New Bern each received their own custom version. Everyone should be letting local businesses know of our exciting change, this is a great chance to start new conversations and showcase our expertise including your own Google Digital Sales certification, imminent Google Analytics certifications, Premier Google SMB Partnership, and more.

Note: please remember that our own B2B database is dependent upon your updates. With just 2,700 names in the database today, I know we have room to grow. Please send a list of customers including name, company, job title, phone, and email address and they will be added very quickly to our own B2B list. 



Readers Choice-Best of the Best 2017

We are off and running with our Best Of section sales. Remember we have a limited sale window, all winners (Gold, Silver and Bronze) need to know that they’ve been selected. Please remember all winners should know that this information is confidential so an embargo is in place  until we publish. New Bern and Kinston will hold special receptions in September for the local community to see the winners face to face and sample some of the great food that the restaurants have to offer.


Latest Ad Inventory and Rich Media Calendars Available

As we approach our Readers Choice selling season it will be more important than ever to CHECK INVENTORY AHEAD OF TIME before placing orders. Just because your proposal outlines 30,000 impressions over the next 10 days, does not mean that we ACTUALLY HAVE 30,000 impressions over the next 10 days, the way you are proposing. Please check with Jennifer, Tina, Mariela, or myself before we are committed to the customer. We will also be able to help recommend modifications to the campaign if we are running short on inventory.

See the latest ad inventory for all Gatehouse properties here.

ENC Medical

  • All ENC Medical ad’s and articles should already be in but if not please make sure they are by the end of Monday, July 17.

Reader’s choice

  • Reminder that all Reader’s choice order confirmation forms need to be turned in to Tina
  • Please add your information to the shared spreadsheets once you have a signed contract.

Sticky Notes

  • Please remember that the backside of sticky notes must now only have a white background and black text.  If it is sent with anything else it will be sent back to you to have it redone.

Make The Grade

  • Please ask Tina Gilmore if you have any questions on these ad’s The sell sheets are on the drive.  Make sure that if you have sold a package that you put your info in sales web for the digital portion.


Athlete of the Week

  • New Bern – SOLD
  • Jacksonville – AVAILABLE
  • Kinston – AVAILABLE
  • Alissa is calling on customers. If they are a good prospect, they will be called. Do not expect to get notified if they have been inactive for 90 days or are new business and in your territory.
  • No AOW Sponsorship is sold until a signed contract is given to Alissa.

Upcoming Promotions – soon to be available!

  • College PICKOFF
  • Home and Holiday Show Promotion
  • Labor Day Promotion
  • Veteran’s Day
  • Halloween Sponsorship
  • Breast Cancer Awareness Promotions (Pink Sponsorship is SOLD)

Have A Prospect?

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

Contact Alissa Garfinkle with ALL QUESTIONS regarding upcoming promotions. 


Pie Chart of the Week

Where Do Furniture Stores Spend Their Marketing Dollars?

In the Coastal NC 7-county region, Furniture Stores still spend a few dollars in newspapers. But the overwhelmingly large componnet of their marketing budget is devoted to online channels.

Advertising Budgets (2017 Forecast) for Average Furniture Store (Brunswick, Craven, Lenoir, New Hanover, Onslow, Pamlico, Pender Counties.) 

Note: Because the 2017 SMB survey is still not compiled, 2017 stats are a forecast emanating out of the 2016 survey. Borrell’s experience would suggest such forecasts to be relatively accurate.

  • Online is the most used channel for advertising approaching 50% of the ad budget%
  • A surprise for radio here, they are the 2nd most used channel for advertising accounting for 12%
  • Newspaper and Local TV are tied with just under 10% of the advertising spending.

As an aside, Borrell Compass data also tells us that Furniture Stores spend approximately $9.6K on advertising for every employee. So, if a local furniture store in your area employees 20 people, you can anticipate that the total annual ad spending would be more than $180K!

Do your campaign recommendations look anything like this data? They can, just ask. And remember, the 2017 SMB Survey results should be compiled later in Q3. This will provide even more insight for your customer discussions.


…training…the new norm

Note: if you have yet to do so, please log into the new GateHouse Media Learning Management System.

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.


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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