Taking A Look Back…Before We Move Forward

The Good, the Bad, & the Ugly

This is our annual combination Happy-Holidays/Year-In-Review to celebrate how far we’ve come over the past year. Yes, there are good, even great achievements. And with the good, comes some not as good. At times, this stuff turns downright ugly! But there is always hope! For every “bad” and “ugly” there’s also a fantastic OPPORTUNITY. Remember, every time a bell rings, another angel becomes Google AdWord Certified…or something like that.

So…here is the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly for the Coastal North Carolina Group in 2017.

The Good…

  • Combined. ENCMG and SNM we accounted for almost 500 ThriveHive contracts sold in 2018, worth more than $1.3 million. WOW!
  • StarNews Media executed its first GateHouse Live event, StarNews Varsity, featuring All-Pro Linebacker Luck Kuechly as the guest speaker. The Best of StarNewsVarsity event was a huge success letting the entire Wilmington community know that SNM events are big…and getting bigger!
  • ENCMG created its first Athlete of the Week sponsorships in New Bern and Jacksonville. Both are still running and have their own exclusive business sponsors.
  • ENC Media Group held it’s own events, the Bridal Expo, the Home & Garden Show, and the recent 2017 Home & Holiday Show surpassing all previous attendance and revenue numbers. This schedule is expanding in 2018 with the addition of a Home & Garden Show in Jacksonville.
  • StarNews Media and ENCMG both closed RECORD promotion revenue and activity in 2017, and are forecasting another record year in 2018!
  • And also in ENC-land, New Bern created 2 weekly features, 52 Faces of Community and Your Health section.  Both of these are excellent readership features that also include highly valued business sponsorships.
  • StarNews Media created its own “Million Impressions Club” rewarding individual sales rep performance for closing 1 million monthly O&O impressions. This helped lead the way for a whopping 200% increase in sell thru, closing the year at over the 70% GateHouse minimum.
  • ENCMG finished the year with a 50+% sell-thru for Rich Media positions, a metric they have held throughout the year. Plus, the year-end front page note sales blitz closed contrasts worth a total of 500+ dates across all three properties, all of these also include Rich Media positions continuing the strong sell-thru metrics.
  • Northern Illinois University was selected to play Duke in the 2017 Quick Lane Bowl. Go Huskies!

The Bad…

  • Local businesses in our markets are still spending 9+ hours a week themselves on marketing! We need to help them!
  • 10% of small businesses in our markets claim they will be decreasing newspaper spending in 2018. (The only reason is is Bad and not Ugly is that this is better than the national metric of 26%!)
  • Weekday circulation for newspapers across the nation dropped by 10%.
  • 82.5% of local digital ad spending in our markets is placed directly with 3rd party providers, (Facebook, Google,, etc.)
  • Chicago Blackhawks defeated by the Nashville Predators in the first round of the 2017 Western Conference Stanley Cup Series.
  • Chicago Cubs defeated by the LA Dodgers in the 2017 NLCS.

The Ugly…

  • Newspapers are ranked as some of the least effective ad mediums by small businesses in our markets.
  • 6,403 major name, multi-location retail stores have closed this year across the country
  • No more than 6% of millennials access news regularly via print media
  • Chicago Bears & Chicago White Sox
  • Justin Bieber singing Christmas carols!



Quote(s) of the week

 “If you make a product good enough… the public will make a path to your door, says the philosopher. But if you want the public in sufficient numbers, you would better construct a highway. Advertising is that highway.”
-William Randolph Hearst
 “The tradition of Festivus begins with the airing of grievances. I got a lot of problems with you people!”
-Frank Costanza

Your MOM Knows Best 

  • BTB (Before The Blog) editions of the MOM online newsletter are now available on the About page, available from the menu in the upper right hand corner.
  • Check the menu in the upper right, it’s an easy access for reports and contacts that you will need to keep handy. These will be updated as we go, but you should be able to find links, names, and phone numbers that you need on a regular basis. Depend on MOM as your in-house directory.Your MOM knows all!
  • Want to follow MOM to be the first to hear about weekly updates? Just follow MOM and you’ll 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.
  • Give MOM some feedback, rate any post, or leave a comment.
  • And your MOM is everywhere, available on ALL devices…desktop, mobile (Android & iOS), and tablet.
This is your MOM, at least at work that is.


NEW! 2018 Q1 Kick off Deck

For those that still have not accessed, here is the deck from last week’s kick off meeting. We will have all sales meeting decks posted to the drive after our weekly webinars as well. These are available on all devices, 24/7 access…just the thing for your late night reading, when you are settling down with a warm cup of cocoa before going to bed. Doesn’t everyone? 🙂

 NEW! The 70% Solution

  • StarNewsOnline is finishing the year in style with a strong 70+% sell thru. In fact, today’s report puts this at 80+%!
  • ENC Media Group has two sites over the 70% mark, New Bern @ 90+% and Kinston @ 80+%.
  • The StarNews Million Impressions Club is a strong contributor to the sell thru success in Wilmington and the club now has three members. (Selling 1 million O&O impressions/month.) Congratulations to Dennis Quinn, Leigh Ann Askew and Debbie White. All of these individuals have sold 1+ million O&O impressions.

Great job, this will be a metric watched closely across the entire GH network in 2018, this is a great start!

NEW! Tablet Reimbursement Policy

As you heard in our Q1 Kick-off meeting, MMSE’s at ENC Media Group and StarNews Media are now eligible for reimbursement with th epurchase of a standard iPad or iPad Pro. Our goal is to support, develop, (and yes even brag about) the most elite sales team in the GateHouse network. Insuring that we all have state-of-the-art tools is just one step towards that goal. Explanation of the policy and the required Reimbursement Form are now on the CNC Sales Folder. Please save this entire folder to your Drive for future reference.  Here’s a couple of quick details on this policy.

  • This is limited to standard iPad and iPad Pro models only at this time. In “non-technical” jargon, iOS is a very stable, consistent, secure and robust platform that will support all of our efforts. If additional tablet models meet the same requirements we can have those added in to the policy as well, but for now, we are limiting only to these models.
  • The Tablet Reimbursement Form should be completed and submitted along with a copy of the receipt for approval. Your manager will submit all approved documents to HR, then it will be submitted as reimbursement through payroll.
  • All MMSE’s will be expected to utilize the tablets in the field and as a part of their regular responsibilities. However, the tablet itself is the property of the individual making the purchase…it is yours!
  • Several apps will be required for download through the Apple Store, but to my knowledge all are free…(i.e. Google Drive, Gmail and Google calendar if you prefer, etc.)
  • Any/all presentations prepared in PowerPoint can be saved in PDF format and can be downloaded onto the units for view. (Limiting transitions, graphics, etc. is best practice for customer view anyway.)


ENC Sticky Note Sales Blitz is CLOSED!

Looks like contracts for more than 500 days are on the tracker at this time. (Ok, there are only 365 days in a year but we have 3 sites!) If correct we have more than 50% of the days contracted for so far. Nice work.

Remember the sales BLITZ pricing is expired. But Sticky Notes packaged with Rich Media positiosn still is available. And this year we have Billboards

UPDATE! Local Media Workshop dates and venues are locked!

Here is the registration web page for all attendees.


  • Jan 17, 2008, 4:00-5:30 (Real Estate), Hampton Inn – Medical Park
  • Jan 17, 2018, 8:30-10:00 and 12:00-1:30, Hampton Inn – Medical Park
  • Jan 18, 2018, 8:30-10:00 and 12:00-1:30, Hampton Inn – Medical Park


  • Jan 29, 2018-Kinston, 11:30-1:00, Hampton Inn – Kinston
  • Jan 30, 2018-Jacksonville, 8:30-10:00 and 11:30-1:00, Courtyard Suites by Marriott – Jacksonville
  • Jan 31, 2018-New Bern, 8:30-10:00 and 11:30-1:00, DoubleTree by Hilton – New Bern

Promotion has already begun in both markets. Look for a combination of print, social, digital and email marketing to invite local businesses. Remember, all attendees must register in advance on the page noted above. This same page will be linked to all promotion. The ENCLive website will also feature news about the events! One cheets and postcards are being prepared. The most important aspect of this is NOT selling prospects…it is getting qualified ones to come to the event. Take the pressure off, we are doing a good deed, helping local businesses manuver through a maze of marketing options. These workshops will provide direction, with no obligation from attendees. Let the workshop do the work!

UPDATE! Internal Sales Calendar

  • Note: This is an INTERNAL calendar, to be used for scheduling sales activity and planning. Customer facing calendars are being prepared quickly. This is a “live” calendar that is available 24/7, via all devices. This is a great tool that will enable access to sales dates, deadlines, and future scheduling. Show customers what will work for them for the entire year, not just next week. Access the section and event sales calendar online, here.

ENCMG 4-Legged Call Schedule

The schedule of dates/locations for manager ride-along’s in ENC markets is located here.

Presentation Templates-simple Word Documents…EZ2 yuze!

New GateHouse One-Sheet Presentation Form

  • As announced in the October Roll Out Webinar, GateHouse has prepared a template for a one-sheet presentation. Multi-slide power points don’t work for all businesses. This new format includes all the salient touch-points of a great marketing campaign discussion. Please access this from the GateHouse Media Portal.

You can also access the Word version of this presentation here







UPDATE! ENC Front Page Note Calendar

Please make sure that all tickets are in the system by December 29th. At that AdOps will transfer orders over to the O&O Calendars that we use on a daily basis. There you will find your reservation and the ticket number. If the note has been ordered it will be highlighted as usual and if your Digital reservation is highlighted that means that we have your SBB/Interscroller copy and it is good to go.

Going forward please check the calendar weekly to see what is coming up for you. We try to send out reminders but just like you sometimes we miss things.

We also have a new extra contact for reservation on the sticky note calendar, O&O calendar , Front page strip calendar  Please continue to contact Digital Ad Coordinator Jennifer Fryer, or AdOps Coordinator Tina Gilmore for all reservations on calendars, but you may now also contact Angie Bialas, ( #8419) for the same.

NEW! Holiday AdOps Staffing

ENCMG: Josh Walton will be out on December 18, 21,& 22 Tina and Becky will be stepping in to cover so any issues/help they need to be contacted.

NEW! Holiday Deadlines

ENCMG: All ads for Monday 12/25 & Tuesday 12/26 will need to be final by 3 pm on Friday, 12/22, please plan accordingly. If all your copy is in by 7pm on Thursday, 12/21 you should have no problem getting things back in time.
PLEASE if you have any ad changes after NOON of Friday 12/22 for the Holiday weekend touch base with Tina and Becky. We may say send it through ATOL but atleast we will have a heads up.

UPDATED! Digital Reports

  • Check the AdOps tab on MOM’s menu for all reports, available 24/7 via any device!
  • Monthly O&O Website Audience Reports are available for all CNC. StarNews reports are available here as well.


  • Please make sure you are using the most updated digital ticket . And make sure that when you save it to your computer that it doesn’t look like this EIO-ENC (1). Nothing, no letter, number or symbol,  should be following ENC. If it does please rename it to reflect that.

Rich Media

  • All ENC 2018 requests for position must be accompanied with the written commitment/contract from customers. If this is an existing 2017 commitment that was made including 2018 dates please make sure we are able to review the commitment/contract. Thanks.
  • RICH MEDIA CREATIVE MUST BE APPROVED 24 HOURS IN ADVANCE. In addition, please allow 48 hours for rich media ad creation. Any advertising submitted with a shorter turn-around simply cannot be fulfilled. We really do not control this here, it is the same for all GateHouse Media sales operations.

Events & Promotion

Promo… Promo.. Come get your promo!

NEW! 2018 Honeymoon Giveaway

That’s right, we are giving away a cruise to a lucky couple! What bridal advertiser wouldn’t want to be a part of that?!

Basics about this promo:

  • 1 Title Sponsor, 4 Co-Sponsors
  • For ENC and Wilmington
  • Audience is brides planning their weddings
  • Promotion will be displayed at the 2018 Bridal and Special Events Show in January

NEW! 2018 Home Improvement

This may not be a cruise but lucky winners can win brand new products for their home!

Basics about this promo:

  • 1 Title Sponsor, 4 Co-Sponsors, multiple Basic Packages available!
  • Category Exclusivity for sponsors (i.e. only one mattress store, one light store, one painter, et.c)
  • Will be shown during the 2018 Home and Garden Shows in New Bern and Jacksonville in March
  • For ENC and Wilmington
  • Audience is homeowners, renters, people looking for home improvements

And that’s only the beginning!

  • 2018 Tailgate Giveaway
  • 2018 College Hoops
  • 2018 Tax Prep Quizzes and Sweepstakes
  • 2018 Valentine’s Day Staycation Giveaway

Lastly, one question for all sales reps out there… Who has an auto dealer that has given you the cold shoulder that you would love to sign a minimum $20k contract???? If you are interested in doing that, contact Alissa!

  • Pro Football Playoffs
  • 2018 Tax Preparation Quizzes
  • Valentine’s Day Sweepstakes
  • College Hoops!
  • 2018 MCAS Cherry Point Air Show!
  • …and custom promotions built specifically for your own customer’s needs!

Look for details soon!

Check out the ENCLive website…

Access this site for all up to date information regarding upcoming events. We will be adding information about the Local Media Workshops very soon.

Upcoming ENCLive events

  • Local Media Workshops (Wilmington), Januarly 17 & 18, 2018-To Come
  • ENC Bridal & Special Event Expo  January 21, 2018
  • ENC Local Media Workshops, January 29, 2018
  • ENC Local Media Workshops, January 30, 2018
  • ENC Local Media Workshops, January 31, 2018
  • ENC Jacksonville Home & Garden Show  March 10 & 11, 2018
  • ENC New Bern Home & Garden Show  March 17 & 18, 2018


NEW-Pie Chart of the Week

Locally Addressable Ad Budgets…or, what’s available after budgets are spent directly with Google and Facebook?


This may not be pretty, but it’s true. Almost 83% of online ad budgets are spent directly with 3rd parties.

  • Paid Search: 47.8%
  • Social Media Advertising: 19.1%
  • All Other: 15.6%
  • Locally addressable: 17.5%

This is a seemingly small piece of the pie that is available to us locally. And that changes, only, with an increased sales pressure, and an increase in our skill sets. After all, the only reason that local businesses would go directly to a 3rd party that we can also support, is either confidence, ease of access, or price. That last one gets mitigated as the first one increases, so we only need to make our services more available, and easier to use.

You can find a larger view of this graphic and all other Borrell charts here, on the drive. 

Update! Holiday eCards ready for our customers!

GateHouse Media has prepared attractive eCards for you to personalize and send to clients. You may already have seen this last week, with the recent GateHouse Sales & Marketing Newsletter. But just in case you can also access the cards and instructions here. Go ahead and download the one you wish to use, and the accompanying instructions, and share your holiday wishes for a great season and thank them for their business.


ENC Media Group Brochures

Just in…we have new ENC Media Group Sales Brochures that are available for all sales personnel. These great new brochures provide an overview of ENC Media Group, print and digital. As we continue to brand ourselves as a regional marketing powerhouse, this will help explain the overall capabilities and reach of our local properties, ENC Media Group, ThriveHive, and GateHouse Media.

StarNews Media brochures and regionally focused Coastal North Carolina Group brochures are currently in the works. Look for them in Q1!




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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