Think you work for a newspaper company? After reading an interview with Mike Reed, CEO of GateHouse parent New Media Investment Group, you might want to think again. (Check out the full interview in the Good To Know section of today’s MOM.) 

This is not a statement of bias, this is not criticism of “traditional” media, and this is certainly not a eulogy. This is a big flashing alert about the way the company for whom we are employed defines itself. And it’s a message that all local businesses in all communities need to know.

That was then…

Many local businesses in our markets think of our masthead first, simply because they are more visible. Do they think Free Press, or Star News, when you are setting an appointment? That’s easy to do based on our visibility in our markets. But local businesses today have many concerns just to keep their doors open. Manage their current business, payroll, employees, inventory, etc. are enough to think about, let alone thinking about how to grow. Advertising is definitely a concern for SMB’s. But as we’ve all agreed, living behind the masthead is limiting and allows local businesses to pigeon-hole our purpose, consciously or sub-consciously.

“Digital marketing services…a very high priority for them. [local business owners] They knew they needed to be in the digital world, but they didn’t really know how, or what to do.”

This is now…

How many of our local competition can claim Google AdWord Premier Partner status? How many local providers can claim to be Google Digital Sales certified? And, if you’ve taken the next step, how many members of the competition can claim Google AdWord Certification? Speaking to these areas of expertise as we go to market, and living up to them in practice, is a clear differentiator. And that doesn’t sound like a newspaper.

If you are selling advertising, you are addressing less than 1/2 the marketing need of local businesses.

This is not news. If you access Borrell Compass data at all, or if you have seen past editions of MOM you already know that more than 1/2 the local marketing spend by SMB’s is devoted to non-advertising. If you are defining your attention to digital marketing, this is a good thing…provided you are truly an expert. But it’s still not the full picture of what GateHouse is doing for today’s local businesses.

The GateHouse you might not know

“But [GateHouse is ] not just focused on digital marketing services. We’re selling IT services, financial services, and more.”

Whoa! That sounds great. So we’re marketers specializing in SMB’s, and now we also provide financial and IT services to these same SMB’s? When does the training start?

That may be what that sounds like, but let’s take a different tack. (Not only am I Google AdWord certified, I also took a sailing lesson!) Newspapers may have been a starting point for some, but today they are only one of the many things that GateHouse does for local businesses. Mulitmedia Sales Execs really aren’t going to market to sell newspaper ads, and add-on digital stuff (stuff in the best sense of the word). We are going to market to provide business solutions for our customers. Newspapers are one of the components that can help, but are by no means the starting point, see Sales Transformation.

So what about the HR and IT things, where do they come in? As an MMSE or a DSE, these are disciplines outside our area of expertise. But understanding that they are part of the GateHouse business model is an important factor in our go-to-market strategy. It is truly an evolved strategy that further sets us apart from competition. No we are not expected to sell or take a deep dive into HR and IT systems. We do however, benefit when we are able to position our marketing services as part of an overall company that is focused on SMB’s and their success. To put it another way, would you rather go to market as a newspaper, or as a company with expertise that focuses on the needs of local small businesses? This opens up discussions on many fronts.

What does this mean to me?

“We [i.e. local businesses] want to do business with somebody local that we trust, that we can see. It doesn’t mean we want somebody calling on us every day in person. But we want to do business with somebody here in the community that we can get to if we need to.”

Being a local small business marketing solutions provider is a mouthful. Being an MMSE is easier to state. Obviously we prefer the easier path to describe who we are when we need to. But the impression we leave on, and with, our local business communities should go much deeper than that. Understanding the breadth of services we provide for SMB’s, and the expertise behind it positions us well in our discussions with local businesses. No, we don’t have to talk about HR or IT systems every time we are helping a business proof an ad. We simply should understand that our services now go much deeper than ever before, and our abilities to be a benefit to businesses in our communities are stronger than ever. Maybe this non-advertising stuff makes sense. I think my father might have understood that after all. Just as long as his newspaper still had yesterday’s Cubs game stats in the sports section.

Quote of the week

“‘You’re gonna miss us when we’re gone’ is not much of a business model.”

— John Paton, former CEO of Digital First Media

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-GateHouse Presentation Templates

All presentations to follow the GH template, immediately please.

  • Please note that these have been introduced and are available on the GateHouse Media Portal. Effective immediately, all ENC and WIL presentations should follow the GH template, both design and content flow. These are designed to follow the Sales Transformation steps and touch points, following the format will help guide us along the way. Please access these templates regularly. (Caution-if you download to your hard drive, be prepared to access again for any changes and/or updates that may occur from GH.)

NEW-Latest Audience Analytics for June

  • The latest website analytics for CNC sites are now available for June. Refer to the Reports page of MOM (upper right hand corner menu.)

UPDATE-Q3 Sales Focus

  • Q3 sales focus on Audience Based solutions continues, sales incentives still good for all closed contracts
    • Remember to document in CRM, please use the Q3 Audience Based Sales campaigns for WIL and for ENC

UPDATE!-Best of the Best

  • Final Ballots available for WIL available now, ENC available July 3.
  • Public voting, July 24 – Aug 7

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!-July 2018 Digital Webinars from GateHouse and ThriveHive

  • The July Digital Updates from GH and TH will take place on Thursday July 26th and Friday July 27th.  Register for one of these sessions on the ThriveHive training website.

NEW!-Renew Your Google Digital Sales Certification

  • All Google sales certifications need to be maintained and kept up to date. If you previously took the Google Digital Sales certification, check out your status. Most of us need to renew. And while you are at it, you may want to dig in deeper and earn your Google AdWord Certification! This is a seperate and additional course of study, but well worth it.

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!


  • Athlete of the Week (New Bern, Kinston, Jacksonville)

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

Check out the Encmedialive website for more on the following…

  • New Bern Home & Holiday Show
  • 2019 New Bern Bridal Show



ENC and StarNewsMedia reports are on MOM!

See the Reports page, from upper right menu of 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


Pie Chart of the Week-Local Ad Spending 2019

Yes, it’s time to start thinking of 2019 already, many proposals will now extend into the new year. And here’s a peek into how local businesses in the 7-county Coastal North Carolina region will split out their spending (forecast only at this time.)

  • Local TV will play a very slightly smaller role in local budgets in 2019
  • Direct mail will also be of less importance, just slightly.
  • Online continues to grow, almost all decreases in spending from 2018 to 2019 will be re-allocated to online channels




Actual Spending Trends, 2017-19


For a stark look at the variance between online ad spend for our local market vs spending in other channels, this graphic shows how far out in front online spending has been, and will continue to be thru 2019.

  • Online ad spending will approach $140 million in 2019 while no other channel will get past the $20 million mark.
  • Almost all channels other than online will be either the same or reduced in 2019 vs 2017.



And for a look at how non-advertising spend is forecast for 2019, here’s a look at the entire category, as well as a look at the forecast for Promotions, which constitutes the vast majority of non advertising for the local markets.

(For a larger look at any of the above charts, just click on them for versions uploaded to the drive.)

Good To Know

(Impress your friends, your clients, and your MOM…you may not know it all but you are trying.)

  • GateHouse Media’s future for small businesses lies in business “services. Ken Doctor interviews Mike Reed, CEO of GateHouse’s parent, New Media Investment Group. This sounds like a plan, check it out on Nieman Lab.
  • Local businesses are considering replacing websites with 3rd party sites (Google+, Facebook) and listings. Is this a good or bad idea? And which ones would local businesses use? In the end, no 3rd party site can replace what a good website can do, but many small businesses may try. Check out this feature with some insight as to how SMB’s might try. This provides great insight to help you help local businesses make a better decision, on StreetFight Mag.
  • Yelp now penalizing businesses that “ask” for reviews. Yelp is one of the best places to be found for many small local businesses. And good reviews on Yelp are great for small businesses. But did you know that Yelp now will penalize local businesses that actually “ask” for reviews? Here’s detail on the policy, how it works, why you should not ask for reviews, and how to get reviews. Great advice you can pass on to local SMB’s. Check it out on SearchEngineLand.

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.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s