That Moment When You Realize Your Customer Is Really Your Competition.

Can’t We All Just Get Along?

How many times  do you hear the word “agency” when discussing a possible sale with a local business? While it does likely does not happen daily, it comes up enough that it’s a good idea to take a look at a new dynamic.

In the “old” days, (like about 6-7 years ago) we might have presumed that presenting to an ad agency may have been just another sales call. The local business decided they wanted a 3rd party to help make the decision for them, and we decided that the “agency” now became the party to whom we were selling. In other words, the agency became the customer. The truth of the matter is that the “ad agency” was NEVER the customer, they were merely an intermediary step in our closing process. We had to convince the agency that they should convince the real customer (i.e. the  local business) that we were the best source into which to place ads. Again, the ad agency was NEVER really the customer, but we may have treated them as such.

Winding the clock (i.e. calendar) forward, our business has morphed into that resembling and agency itself. WE help businesses determine their USP and then their sales messaging, WE can create the ads, WE can help determine the actual media mix that a local business uses in their overall ad budget, WE have access to sophisticated ad networks and exchanges, and WE have deep expertise in emerging platforms upon which local businesses need to rely. This has evolved to the point, where our own company owns their own digital agency, that can do just about anything any other 3rd party can do with digital components. True, we are not in TV or Radio (at least we weren’t the last time I checked), but ThriveHive is in actuality a digital agency that has capabilites extending beyond that of many stand alone agencies in which we may come it contact.

Ad agencies now feel that WE are their #1 competitor.

Ad agencies today, feel that local media companies are their primary competitors. Not Google, not Facebook, not even other ad agencies, local media companies are their biggest threat.

This makes sense, when  you look at everything we are now doing, and are capable of doing for local customers. From managing social media, providing SEO consulting services, taking advantage of the most sophisitcated programmatic ad networks in the world, are even merely creating a new ad, we actually serve very similar functions.

What’s the difference?

The overwhelming difference between us and an ad agency is in the relationship we have with the actual customer. An agency positions themselves as an impartial 3rd party. (In all due respect to agency professionals, NOBODY is truly impartial.) While we are busy selling OUR services, an agency can stand back and evaluate our capability to deliver. This is where our position needs to start shifting today.

When local businesses feel we are focused on selling them our “stuff” we are no better than we were years ago before we grew up and became Premier Google Partners. When we limit our customer discussions to spending money in our media channels, our services, and our owned audience…well…we LIMIT ourselves. In 2017, our discussions need to be on where the customer is going, what the customer wants to achieve, and the audience the customer must reach. We need to know more about what the customer HAS TO ACCOMPLISH, then limit our recommendations to that purpose, and little else.

Advertising agencies have a tough job. That job is made tougher by the ability of many businesses to support their own marketing needs. So our business needs to shift to making recommendations, consultation, and offering business insight. Wait…that’s what an advertising agency does, isn’t it? You betcha!

Quote of the week

“Change before you have to.”

-Jack Welch,Chairman and CEO of General Electric, 1981-2001

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.
  • 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. This week’s quiz is limited to information contained in ThriveHive’s very first training lesson, “Solutions Along The Customer Journey.” 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

 Q3 Revenue Race

We announced the revenue race this morning…check out details on the Drive. This is our opportunity to show off against other Gatehouse proprieties of similar sizes.

All digital revenue counts towards our overall performance, but we’ve added a few packages to help open up even more conversations. We have intermediate and short term campaign specials that fit many budgets and offer digital campaigns with print support. And in addition, those that participate are able to add additional ENC Media Group components value priced for easy adoption.

For details on the Revenue Race packages check them out here on the Drive.

Business Boost Summer Giveaway-Ends Aug. 28

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!

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.

Special Extension Packages

3 & 6 month specials in presentation format, using the preferred GateHouse presentation

Special pricing on Readers Choice packages now available for ALL BUSINESSES THAT RECEIVED A VOTE.

These lists will be available on Monday, 7/31/17. Check out the list and then make sure you check the pricing on these great packages. Any business receiving even just one vote is eligible for this special pricing.

Please review the presentations available. They will require your customization based on good customer understanding and some needs evaluation.

Identify the business.

  1. Plan and prep: do your research
  2. Call opening: make the right intro based on your research and questions to get the right to perform your needs analysis (remember, you can use the Readers Choice voting as a basis for questions.)
  3. Needs Analysis: start your needs assessment
  4. Develop Solutions:choose the package that fits the needs, just modify the presentation provided
  5. Gain Agreement in Principal: make the convincing presentation, gain agreement in principal to help the business build their brand for a chance at winning next year.
  6. Gain Agreement in Price: close the sale

Note: proposals are on the drive. DO NOT MODIFY THE PROPOSALS ON THE DRIVE. Download and modify on your hard drive.


  • ENC Medical will be inserting on August 20th
  • Making the Grade Inserts on August 13th

Upcoming Deadlines

MY Mag/Reader’s Choice  Magazine and Booth space reservation(new Bern & Kinston)

  • New Bern         August 7           Creative final and approved by Friday, August 25th
  •  Jacksonville   August 14           Creative final and approved by Friday, Sept.1st
  • Kinston           August 21           Creative final and approved by Friday Sept 8th


  • Salute to Hometown Heroes Saturday, August 16th  Jacksonville Mall  Noon-4pm
  • Reader’s Choice Events New Bern will be on Tuesday, September 26th ( New Bern Convention Center) and Kinston will be on Tuesday, October 10th CCS Neuse Center   5pm-7pm (both events)

TV Preview

  • This week we are finalizing Aug 20th all ad’s in and finished by Wed

Community paper deadlines for the month of August

  • Ad’s must be final and approved by 4pm by the dates below please and thank you!

    Trent Woods – Aug 9

    Fairfield Harbour Beacon – Aug 16

    Taberna Tribune – Aug 16

    Riverbender – Aug 23

Digital Notes-IMPORTANT

Just a reminder for Reader’s Choice O&O you need to order an audience package so we have options to fulfill our obligations, also make sure to contact Jennifer or tINA to reserve SBB’s on the Rich Media Calendar.  

Latest Ad Inventory and Rich Media Calendars Available

  • See the latest campaign reports here.
  • See the latest ad inventory for all Gatehouse properties here.

Ad Op’s Meeting

  • Jacksonville-Tuesday, August 22nd, 8:45am-10:00am


Jacksonville – Available

New Bern – SOLD

Kinston – Available

Keep thinking of prospects

Alissa will follow up with what is on the drive



Upcoming Promotions – soon to be available!

ENC Show Promotions

  • Veteran’s Day
  • Halloween Sponsorship
  • Breast Cancer Awareness Promotions (Pink Sponsorship is SOLD)

Have A Prospect?

Tickets for Promotions

  • Tickets need to be written a certain way if an advertiser is participating in a promotion
  • Reach out to Alissa if you do not get a breakout of how tickets should be written for your promotion – it is VERY IMPORTANT we track these correctly so everyone gets the correct recognition of revenue! Including Sales Reps!

Marketing Campaigns in Promotions

  • These are adjustable to fit the advertiser’s needs – to a certain extent.
  • If you would like to change what is created in a promotion, discuss with Alissa.

Contact Alissa Garfinkel with ALL QUESTIONS regarding upcoming promotions. 


Pie Chart of the Week

Business Services Ad Spending 2016-2018

  • Readers Choice categories include a number of business types that we don’t always work with throughout the year, the Business Services category includes a number. Officially this category is defined as follows: accountants, building maintenance, computer-related services, equipment rental, pest control, copy and print services, photographers, religious organizations, security products and trucking services. So if we feel we can work with these businesses beyond our Best of the Best-Readers Choice focus, it’s a good thing to study where they actually spend their ad budgets.

Here’s how the spending from this business category would up for 2016. 

  • Online far and away was the leading category for ad budgets, taking more than half, 56% to be exact.
  • Radio and TV were the 2nd and 3rd most popular channels with 11% and 9% of the budget respectfully.
  • Newspapers were 4th with just 8% of the total ad budget for this category.

But what does 2018 spending look like?

The overall order remains the same, but only 3 categories (online, out-of-home and other print) increase.

  • Online spending is forecast to grow significantly, +27%, and will approach taking two-thirds of the total ad spend, 62% to be exact.
  • Radio will be second, but their share decreases to 9%.
  • TV and Newspapers also drop slighlty and are forecast to be tied with just 7% of the ad spending budgets.
  • What does this tell us about this category of business?
  • If we are going to talk to businesses that fall in this category, (which is exactly what we are asking to do) an overwhelming proportion of our discussion needs to be with the online and digital channels. Any discussion that does not lead with digital in this category is a discussion that will be short lived, and will not hit the mark for these small businesses.


Oh yeah, Borrell Compass also tells us that the average spend for this category of business in 2016 was $537 per employee.

Why is this important?

  • If you know that the local CPA firm employs a total of 8 individuals, a TOTAL advertising proposal of about $4,200 is at the top (on an average). This category does not always include the largest spending businesses, however it is a category that spends and depends on digital services. Our discussions need to be focused in that direction.

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.


…the new norm


ThriveHive New Rollouts-August 2017

  • Please log on to the ThriveHive training website and check out what’s new. There are new rollouts being introduced in the August webinar and registration is required. There are two days to select from. Please check your calendar, register for the webinar that fits your schedule, and place it on your CRM calendar for good measure to insure that it’s on your schedule.

NEW GateHouse Media Learning Management System

Note: if you have yet to do so, please log into the 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. 

ENC People


August Birthday’s:

  • Josh Walton, August 13th
  • Gwen Landry, August 24th


  • Angie Nottonson-Aug 7 thru Aug 11
  • Chris Brown-Aug 7 thru Aug 11

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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