So you really want to be a digital agency, right? We are a one-stop-shop, allowing local SMB’s to purchase multiple solutions that address their concerns and solve their needs, correct? Well, it turns out that this type of direction may need to be given a second consideration. Even businesses that are already full-fledged digital agencies are re-thinking their capabilities, and how they are viewed by their current and prospective clients.

Digiday recently featured interviews with several digital agency professionals, showing the challenges facing these businesses, and what prospective clients are looking for that changes the perspective of what being an agency looks like. You can read the story here, but below are the two dynamics that are making agencies less relevent today. And these are dynamics that we as marketing services providers need to heed.

DIY vs DIFM This compares “do it yourself”  vs “do-it-for-me tools. This is a growing issue in our world. How many times have we encountered businesses that already feel they are managing great campaigns on Facebook themselves? Are we prepared to discuss our value (time, expertise, targeting, analysis) that we add to this type of marketing that is not available to those that are managing their own campaigns? If digital agencies are feeling this, we certainly are.

Business consultancies More and more professionals and businesses are focusing on consulting services for local businesses. The concept of “consulting” local businesses includes marketing recommendations. In fact agencies are now starting to add capabilities that include consulting and business transformation expertise. While we we don’t have “degrees” in business transformation, we should be able to discuss changes in the market and marketing. Local businesses are searching for this type of input and it extends well beyond ad rates and special section deadlines.

What does this mean to me?

Our jobs have changed significantly, and they continue to change. But so does the environment of all of our current and prospective clients. The #1 thing a local business wants from us is for them to feel that we understand their business and can make recommendations that will help them. Maybe that used to be “selling” to them, but today that means making a recommendation that addresses their concerns. The ability to do that with empathy, can set all of us apart from mere product sellers or providers.

Sales Transformation asks all of us to be business advisers to local SMB’s. Remember, doing the research on prospective clients means learning their business and thinking like a customer. If we presumed to be an “agency” to local businesses, then we need to start thinking like agencies, and focus on adding levels of service that agencies are in today’s competitive world. Do-it-for-me should mean we do it with a level of expertise beyond what local do-it-yourselfer’s can. And our ability to consult needs to mean that we provide business advice that moves the local SMB closer to the goals they are trying to reach.

So this might fall under the “Don’t Sell Ads” category of recommendations again. Take it as you will, but our local businesses need our help. And they won’t find all they are asking for with a few ads.

Quote(s) of the week

“Intelligence is the ability to adapt to change”

―Stephen Hawking

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.


UPDATE-Priorities (4 priorities for the week)

  • Best of the Best-Nomination Round-voting starts May 29, must end by June 12.
  • Port City Life/My Mags
  • StarNews Varsity Awards
  • ENC Medical
  • ThriveHive-2 NEW sales this month

UPDATE!-O&O Website Audience Dashboards

  • Earlier this week, we distributed access to the new O&O Audience Dashboards available to all GH sales teams. These real-time dashboards offer great insight into who access our sites, when, where, how long, and what they are looking for. In addition, these dashboards offer additional insights into our separate apps plus handy definitions that support great conversation with customers. PLEASE DO NOT DISTRIBUTE THE WEB ADDRESS for these dashboards, they are for internal access only. However you are free to share the information and show clients this information, print it out if you wish. The complete list of all GH dashboards is located on the REPORTS page of this blog, easily found from the menu.

UPDATE! Internal Sales Calendar-WILMINGTON & ENC

  • This is an INTERNAL calendar, to be used for scheduling sales activity and planning. Customer facing calendars are being prepared quickly.

UPDATE! O&O Sell-thru…70% Goal

  • Check out the latest sell-thru stats, along with cpm averages on the O&O performance report. Access from the Reports page, from the upper right menu of this blog.


UPDATE!-May 2018 Digital Webinars from GateHouse and ThriveHive

  • The May Digital Updates from GH and TH will take place on Thursday May 24th and Friday May 27th.  Register for one of these sessions on the ThriveHive training website.

Events & Promotion

UPDATE-B.Y.O. (Build your own) Promotion

If a business has something to offer as a prize, it’s a Promotion!

Want to add a sweepstakes to any ad campaign? Want to help a local business add to their database of customer leads? Want to provide a great branding campaign to a local business? This is an easy way to add great marketing exposure to any current advertiser’s program, for a fraction of the cost. And it also results in a $1000 promotion! (Available to any $500/month or more advertiser. )

We will create a quick sweepstakes for any existing advertiser, that will result in a $2,500+ marketing campaign. Total cost to the advertiser is $1000. Why not start out with a Wood Ducks ticket sweepstakes? Or have your client add their own give away (min. value $100.) We will add in promotional media that includes the following:

  • Targeted Display
  • Quarter Pages
  • Facebook Post
  • Logo on ads
  • Email to our registered database
  • Logo recognition on all promotion
  • Database Opt-in

Let’s take a look at your up to date CNA and we will create a great sweepstakes that will turn a $500 campaign into one valued at $2,500!


  • Batter’s Up ENC Power Hitter Promotion-Wood Ducks Tix (Live in New Bern and Jacksonville, still open in Kinston.)
  • Memorial Day Photos
  • Mother’s Day Sweepstakes
  • July 4th/Patriotic Sweepstakes

Design your own…just ask!

Promotions in CRM

  • All Promotions will have campaigns in Sugar CRM.  Be sure to link any opportunities to those promotions
  • When entering an end date for an opportunity, be sure that you use the deadline for the promotion.
  • If you have questions, contact Alissa

Look for more on the following…

  • Best of StarNews Varsity Awards
  • New Bern Home & Holiday Show
  • 2019 New Bern Bridal Show



ENC and StarNewsMedia reports are on MOM!

  • ENC and SNM Campaign reports
  • ENC and SNM Monthly O&O Audience reports
  • GateHouse inventory availability (all sites)
  • ENCO&O  Rich Media Calendars
  • ENC Front page sticky note calendars

See the Reports page, from upper right menu of MOM!


Pie Chart of the Week-Eating & Drinking Places (otherwise known as restaurants) 🙂

1,922 Businesses to Call On for Best of the Best…no time to waste!

In honor of Best of the Best, we feature the Eating and Drinking category from Borrell’s Compass Data this week. Almost 2,000 businesses out there, and their overwhelming choice of media for ad budgets are Online and Directories. (It’s kind of fair to consider Best of the Best a directory, our audiences will look for the category of restaurant to make their selection, just like any other directory. )


  • 1,922 eating & drinking establishments in our collective markets
  • Almost half of their marketing budgets (44%) will be devoted to online media or channels
  • 14% of their ad budgets will be dedicated to directories, which makes total sense. 
  • Radio follows with 11%
  • Newspapers seem to fall below broadcast, to 4%

Here’s a link to this week’s graphic.

There is no better endorsement for a local restaurant than to be selected one of the Best of the Best. Do your local restaurants a favor and make your proposals (including spec ads) quickly. Nomination round begins May 29 and closes June 12.

ENC Media Group Brochures

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!




Good To Know

  • Trusted Media, Brand Safety, are they just words when it comes to achieving an ROI? That may the case. There’s alot of noise surrounding “trusted”, “local”, “safe” when it comes to a value proposition espoused to potential advertisers by the media. Local media do it all the time. “We are trusted”, “we are local”, “we are reliable”, are all things we like to brag about. But do these really matter? Or does a campaign’s ROI mean more than any of that? These are question raised on a national scale that can be applied to our own local brands. Read more about this on
  • Coupons are a great marketing tool to reach upper income shoppers, right? If you thought coupons only appeal to lower-income shoppers, you may want to think again.
    • People with household incomes of $100,000+ are 2x more likely to coupon as those earning less than $35,000.
    • College-degree holders are 2x more likely to use coupons as people who did not graduate from high school.
    • 90% of shoppers with household incomes over $100,000 report using coupons.

See more on the findings of a fascinating study about coupon users here on

  • Facebook/Social Media is the most effective, and most often used marketing tool for small business. If  you did not know this already, it’s time to embrace it. In fact Social Media is far and away, the most effective tool for SMB’s, more so than digital display, more so than newspapers, more so than email marketing…more than anything else. Read more about this on StreetFightMag.

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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