What are customers buying…what’s up and what’s down?

The 2017 Borrell SMB Survey is telling us much more about our local businesses than we ever knew before. And it’s information that we should be listing to as we are preparing recommendations for holidays and the New Year. For example, if you knew that more customers used one media channel more than any other for their advertising, wouldn’t you want to “lead” with that media channel in your proposals? And if you knew what media channels were the most effective, wouldn’t you want to suggest those for local businesses more than others? The new survey results tell us all this, and more. And the results should impacting our go-to-market strategy from this point forward.

More local businesses use digital media than any other type of advertising.

Nearly 3/4’s of local businesses in our markets, (and nationally) used digital media more than any other form of advertising in 2016. Newspapers, yes, came in #2 in the same survey, but the variance between the two is growing…digital continues to increase its lead. (Click on chart for larger view.)

Event Marketing is very popular, and continues to grow

Almost one-half of local businesses in our markets (and nationally) purchased some sort of Event Marketing in 2016. And in our markets plans to increase Event Marketing participation in coming year exceeds the national results by almost 100%!

Newspapers are frequently used, but…

Newspapers were used by just under 70% of local businesses in our markets. But 10% of those surveyed expected to decrease their spending in the coming year. (Click on chart for larger view.)

And according to local businesses in our markets, (nationally as well) newspaper advertising was deemed less effective as an advertising method than a number of others including digital, broadcast and cable TV, radio, event marketing, and even postal mail. (Click on chart for larger view.)

In summary…

  • Businesses in our markets use digital media more than any other advertising type. They believe it’s effective and plan to increase their use of it.
  • While these same businesses continue to use newspapers in their advertising, businesses are not feeling comfortable with its effectiveness.
  • A very large portion of our customers are big proponents of event marketing
  • Our markets, in particular, still seem to be impacted by broadcast and cable media, a decent number of businesses responding said that they anticipate they will increase their use of it.

So what does this mean to me?

These results are a clear signal of where our customers are headed. Our market discussions, strategies, and plans should take this direction into account and determine our go-to-market methods and messaging as quickly as possible. Here is how, and what you will begin to see and hear more about in the coming weeks and months.

  1. Use a “digital-first” go-to-market message. Going to market with a “print-first” message in a market where more customers utilize digital media, and have more confidence in its effectiveness than in print sounds backwards. With 2018 clear in our cross-hairs it is time to LEAD WITH DIGITAL! Our messaging should emphasize ENC Media Group, ThriveHive and the power of GateHouse Media more than individual newspaper mastheads when considering marketing solutions. We need to help local businesses start to think of us as a forward thinking media concern, and not a newspaper company. If we do this, we begin to align our message with the hopes and expectations of our customers. If we don’t we are simply increasing the distance between them, their goals and our future. 
  2. Elevate events in our customer discussion Since almost 1/2 of our local businesses said they participated in events, and again nearly one-half said they would increase their participation, including it in our customer discussions brings us closer to them and their intentions.
  3. Increase the dialogue and awareness of campaign analytics, numbers, results. Digital is seen as an effective medium. TV and radio still seem to surpass it in the eyes and minds of customers. Whether or not that is perceived or real, we can do a much better job of discussing campaign analytics with customers to validate campaign impact. We need to become more active in discussing this with our customers along with actively recommending campaign revisions for continual improvement in results.

These changes may sound easy on paper but they will take some effort and consistency on our part. They demand that our customers start perceiving us differently than they have in the past. Maybe that change begins with how WE perceive ourselves.

Quote(s) of the week

“When you’re finished changing, you’re finished.” 
– Benjamin Franklin
 “Failure is not fatal, but failure to change might be.”
― John Wooden

Getting To Know Your MOM

  • Follow MOM, receive an email notification every time a new update of MOM is published. If you are a WordPress user and are logged in, just click the Follow button in the admin bar. If you are not a WordPress user, or are logged out, just click the Follow button in the lower right-hand corner of your blog’s home page.
  • 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.
  • Rate any post, or leave a comment. 
  • MOM is available on ALL devices…desktop, mobile (Android & iOS), and tablet.

This is your MOM, at least at work that is.

 ZipRecruiter Powering GateHouse Employment Category

ZipRecruiter and GateHouse Media recently announced a partnership that makes ZipRecruiter the exclusive recruitment advertising partner for GateHouse Media. The partnership, which will launch Oct. 1 in more than 550 markets across the U.S., will power GateHouse recruitment pages — online and in print — that reach more than 21 million readers every week. Here’s more detail.  Make sure to let all local businesses know the power of our recruitment marketing opportunities!

ALL MMSE’s: Upload Your Google Analytics for Beginners Certificate

Please go to the ThriveHive training website for instructions how to upload your Google Analytics for Beginners certificate. All MMSE’s are requested to do this. DUE DATE: Friday, 9/29/17.

More Ways to Reach ThriveHive Training

We now have two ways to contact the Training Team: OR a new phone number 877-863-2723. Any time you need to know something specific about a product, the training team will be able to provide direction. Please allow 24 hour turn around for most inquiries…they are able to beat that often.

Note: If anyone has gone directly to the ThriveHive website and used their chat box for a training question, please remember that this site is for consumers. It is not an internal website. This specific tool is a lead generation tool for businesses looking for information on the Guided Marketing Platform.

For more information see the ThriveHive training website from your LMS.



Q4 Digital Rate Cards On The Drive

Please access the new Q4 digital rate cards on the drive. What to look for…

  • Increase “base” rate for O&O Audience Packages
  • Premium charge for any campaign requesting specific ad units
  • Also please look at the “premium” targeting charges for OnTarget. These have been in play for a number of months but it looks like they have been overlooked.
  • Base rate for O&O using geo-targeting
  • Premium targeting fee “to be added” when any other type of targeting tactic is used
  • Plus don’t overlook the volume discounts on the card.

Q4 & Holidays Presentations

Packages, Pricing, and Presentations

Packages, pricing, and presentations are on the drive! 

There are many reasons to see all local businesses today about a strong finish to 2017. And ENC’s pricing is already set. Check out the deck from our Q4 kick off, plus the Q4 customer presentation template. You will also see sample presentations for guidance.

Remember, most local businesses are expecting a stronger holiday season this year, help them make that come true with our great Q4 bundles!



  • All sales personnel are requested to communicate with AdOps via email for all requests. Please help out, if you are not sending your requests via email, a face-to-face or phone request may not be fulfilled.


  • Now located on the AdOps page MOM, access from the Blog menu (upper right corner)

Events & Promotion

ENC Live is…

ENC Media Group’s events are now available with their own website, ENC Live is also now available from,, and, via the left hand menu navigation. We will be pointing all future website navigation for our live events to this website, and updating the site with appropriate detail and information. This is just another step in ENC’s evolution as a leading marketing services provider in the eastern and coastal North Carolina region.


Upcoming ENCLive events

  • ENC Home & Holiday Gift Show  December 15 & 16, 2017
  • ENC Bridal & Special Event Expo  January 21, 2018
  • ENC Jacksonville Home & Garden Show  March 10 & 11, 2018
  • ENC New Bern Home & Garden Show  March 17 & 18, 2018

Best of the Best-Readers Choice Events

Are you going to attend our first Readers Choice Receptions this year?

  • New Bern Best of the Best, Riverfront Convention Center, 9/26/17, 5 pm – 7 pm
  • Kinston Best of the Best, CSS Neuse Interpretive Center, 10/10/17, 5 pm – 7 pm

Both of these events are now proudly being promoted as events our the Sun Journal and Free Press Facebook Pages. Do yourself a favor, check out these events on our social media sites, and check off whether you are going or not. That kind of activity breeds more interest!

Halloween Pet Photo Contest

Who doesn’t like pets? Who doesn’t like pets in costume? Who doesn’t like a great marketing value?

  • Sell sheets on this will be out in a few days, but here’s the summary.
  • $5,000 worth of marketing value
  • 45% Discount
  • Total cost $2,799

This includes a separate marketing program for the sponsor that can extend for 3 months, (Premium digital, plus a promotion, a “KPI 2-fer”!)

Look for our Veteran’s Day Promotion very quickly!


Pie Chart of the Week

Customers Can’t Buy If We Don’t Offer…or…What Does Cable TV Do That We Don’t?

Do you discuss digital options with every one of your customers and potential customers? According to the Borrell SMB Survey we don’t. You may find this surprising, but it might be the result of old habits or a preconceived notion that the customer may not be prepared or interestred.

SMB’s offering their responses in the recent survey told us the following…

  • 54% said that an online component was included in their newspaper advertising programs
  • 17% said that online was offered, but they decided NOT to use
  • 8% said that online WAS NOT offered to them
  • 21% didn’t know if online was offered.



Comparing our results to survey answers regarding local customer’s Cable TV advertising, a different picture arose…

  • 83% said that an online component was included in their newspaper advertising programs
  • 17% said that online was offered, but they decided NOT to use
  • 0% said that online WAS NOT offered to them
  • 0% didn’t know if online was offered.

What does this suggest?

This might suggest a couple of things, it may be relatively innocent, but we should remember that Digital advertising channels are used by more businesses than any other types of advertising. While not all local businesses will take us up on our strong and excellent recommendations, we might want to take a look at how we are approaching the 8% that WERE NOT offered a digital solution, and pay close attention to the 21% that could not remember.


…the new norm

Social Media Advertising Training

Facebook and Instagram are nothing more than targeted display forms of advertising. Both of them are some of the fastest growing channels in the business. 

Our Wednesday webinar will be devoted to this subject this week, 9/27. Please adjust your schedules, the call will begin at 8:30 and last for 70 minutes. Jackie Olson will conduct social media advertising training and you will have an opportunity to ask questions.

Training with Tom

Tom Ellis will be in ENC land on September 25-28 to visit with each one of us with a very specific agenda…prospecting.


  • Research and planning leading to a phone call or in-person cold call
  • Cold opening and transition to customer needs analysis
  • Field calls, either via appointment or walk in

These will be 3-4 hour sessions with every member of the sales team. All times have been assigned, please review, sign up sheet 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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