Everybody tells us we should be listening to our customers. It is very hard not to make a case that listening to them for their needs, concerns, and goals is very important. But  what if we could listen to local businesses telling us where they were planning to spend their marketing dollars? Wouldn’t that tell us something about how we are going to market?

Below are 6 charts showing SMB sentiment and plans from Borrell Assoc.’s 2018 SMB survey. These 6 charts tell us everything we need to know about the marketing intentions of small businesses going forward. Each chart, takes us further down the road of a significant shift in how we should perceive our own competencies, and how we need to represent them in the marketplace and with local customers.

1) What most SMB’s are NOT buying in 2018?

  • While is should be no surprise that QR codes and Cinema Advertising are not at the top of the wish list this year, ROS (un-targeted) ad banners is also included here. This begs the question, in 2018, why would anyone NOT target their ad message?

2) What SMB’s are cancelling from their schedules, and why?

  • It looks like almost everyone shows up on this list, but the real story is the degree to which SMB’s agree on their plans to cancel and the reasons. For the most part digital channels  score much better than other media in justifying their existence in local budgets. They are not too expensive, and the targeting and tracking capabilities make digital media sustainable in most ad budgets.

3) What media channels are most popular, (or included more often) in SMB spending budgets?

  • Social media advertising is the most popular advertising channel among SMB’s. Newspapers are #2. (Note, this does not measure the $ devoted to media, just the # of times it shows up in budgets in this survey.) Also notice Email is showing up in more than 50% of the budgets, SEM in nearly 50% of the budgets, and banners in more than 1/3rd.

4) What are local ad agencies recommending more of?

  • The top 3 channels that will receive stronger recommendations from agencies in 2018 and beyond are social advertising, streaming video and SEM. Enough said…

5) What marketing channels are receiving the greatest budgets in 2018?

  • While TV (broadcast and cable) may be obvious leaders here, the #3 ranked channel here is SEM. And a little further down the list shows that display banner ads is just about even with newspapers. Does that match our own local market recommendations?

6) Is Facebook’s effectiveness changing?

  • The Russians are coming, the Russians are coming…so what! In spite of all the “noise” about what FB does or doesn’t do, local businesses feel Facebook is just as, if not more effective than ever before. Thus, their expressed desire to increase use of social media advertising.

What does this mean to me?

  • Local businesses are turning to targeted and trackable media, and are beginning to exclude media that doesn’t provide the same.
  • Social media advertising is used by a vast majority of local businesses, and continues to grow.
  • SEM remains a staple for many local businesses.
  • Video…know what is available and what works because local businesses will want to know.
  • Print remains in many budgets, but it simply plays a smaller role for SMB’s locally and across the country.

As a provider of local media services, a reliance on “print-first” is not where local businesses are living these days. It’s not in alignment with the way our customers are thinking today, and are headed tomorrow. As we move into our Q4 focus, 2018 Holiday schedules, and 2019 forecasts, digital channels (social, SEM, video, and targeted display especially) are the new leads in how we define our services. As a local representative, “digital-first” is not just a tag line. It’s a description of how our own customers are thinking today.

Quote of the week

“People don’t want to buy a quarter-inch drill. They want a quarter-inch hole.”

— Clayton M. Christensen

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 navigation up top, it’s an easy access for reports and contacts that you will need to keep handy. These will be updated as we go. 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-World Series of Sales

Starting October 1 and ending November 4, GateHouse EAST will play GateHouse WEST to determine WHO IS THE BEST!

Each week, GateHouse EAST and GateHouse WEST (each) will award up to $750 based on most revenue and most points. All details are spelled out on the attached internal contest sheet, (click on the graphic to the left.)

  • Home Run 6-month contracts will earn 2 points, 4 points if the advertiser is NEW or has not advertised in 90 days
  • Grand Slam 12-month contracts will earn 4 points, 8 points if the advertiser is NEW or has not advertised in 90 days

Good luck GH EAST!

NEW-Special New Account ThriveHive Pricing For Hurricane Florence Relief 

  • We have additional NEW pricing considerations here for new accounts coming out of Hurricane Florence. Use this pricing for new business, include in your proposals. Let’s help businesses in our communities to get the word out that they are IN BUSINESS!. (Document restricted to CNC sales.)

NEW-OnTarget Audience Request Form…Now Required (This is a new form for Wilmington.)

All targeted display campaigns that will be part of proposals will be required to be submitted with the Audience Request Form effective 10/1/18. This means that any targeted display component you are recommending in sales proposals should be planned using the Audience Request Form, ahead of time.

  • These forms should be completed prior to sale, not after the sale.
  • They can, and should, be used for proposals and to aid in closing proposals.
  • Newspaper O&O inventory can be included as a part of the overall audience request for these plans.

NOTE: This form is NEW for Wilmington. The previous form that was available for Wilmington will no longer be used. 

Here is a link to the most recent format of this form. Please add to your bookmarks.

UPDATE-Digital Pipeline Review…Ongoing. 

  • 28-day (for forecast closes) digital pipeline is pulled and posted on the drive…daily. This will show the number and status of all digital opportunities
  • Pipeline is reviewed to see what we all can do to help support sales teams and customers to come to agreement quickly with prescribed solutions.
  • The review will also tell us where we are in the SITRW process to support efforts from opening, to CNA, to solutions, presentation, and close.

If you receive an inquiry, it’s just part of an overall effort to help our total effort!

NEW-CRM Field Added To Note SITRW (Selling In The Real World) Activity

  • A new field has been added to the input in Sugar CRM to note SITRW activity. Instructions are forthcoming as are training sessions. If you note this field while inputting new opportunities, it is to be checked SPECIFICALLY for SITRW progress, only. More to come.

UPDATE-ThriveHive Deploys Strategic Accounts Team Regionally, Added Support for Verticals

The TH Strategic Account team is established to provide specialized focus to those businesses that are the most digital dependent. Jackie Olson from ThriveHive is our representative on the Strategic Account Team. Among the categories of business that this team will be watching are…

  • Higher Education
  • Healthcare
  • Real Estate Firms (not independent agents)
  • Lawyers
  • Home Services (with a fleet of 8+ vehicles): HVAC, Plumbers, Pest Control,
  • Landscaping
  • Financial Institutions (i.e. Banks, Credit Unions, Loans)

In addition we are also going to be reviewing the TOP 25 ACCOUNTS in all properties, regardless of category of business. We are beginning to review these accounts in all markets to determine strategies to improve digital performance…for customers and for you.  

The process for engaging Jackie and this team will be simple and is outlined here, just for guidance.

UPDATE-Digital Rate Card changes for Wilmington and ENC.

New digital rate cards are available now. Please access the new rate cards and keep them close for access. New cpm’s and base campaign minimum’s are in effect immediately. The new rate cards are available here.

IMPORTANT UPDATE-Coastal NC Promotion Intake and Set Up Forms (Wilmington & ENC)

Please pay close attention…use these forms at will, depending upon the sales stage you are at currently.

  1. PROMOTIONS INTAKE FORMthis is a form you will want to reference BEFORE you have made a sale. 
  2. PROMOTIONS SET UP FORMthis form should be completed AFTER the sale.

Both of these forms are easy to find, please bookmark them in your version of My Drive. We will also make sure they are linked to MOM on a regular basis.

UPDATEGH Presentation Template

All presentations to follow the GH template, immediately please.

  • REAL presentation is available here to view how this template, and ready-to-use ThriveHive slides can be used.

UPDATE-ENC and StarNewsMedia reports are on MOM (Including Campaign Reports)

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


UPDATE-Registration Is Open for October Digital Rollout

Please register for the October Digital Rollout  Webinar on the ThriveHive training website. Dates and times for this webinar are Thursday October 25th 1-2:15pm EST and Friday October 26th 10-11:15am EST. You need only attend one webinar.

And don’t forget, the recording of the September rollout  is also available on the training site.

UPDATE-Monthly Digital Dives…”Java with Jen!”

Starting on October 24, we will be holding an extended Wednesday sales webinar, 9 to 10 focusing on specific areas of digital products and how best to apply with local businesses. You will receive NEW login instructions for these sessions, that will supersede our regular webinar log in’s.

These sessions will be interactive, led by Jen McKay from GateHouse. And we are using Zoom, so you will need to have your digital camera’s in operation. If you do not have a separate digital camera, please have your laptops open in front of  you. Using this will help our engagement and provide y’all with much better opportunities to take to the field.

First session…Wednesday, October 24.

UPDATE-GateHouse Sales Training Center

The GateHouse Sales Training Center is where you can find links to all training materials, web pages and training decks for just about anything we need to know.

  • Need to know more about OnTarget? This is the place.
  • Need to know more about working with Google Apps? You’ll find it here.
  • Need to know where past monthly update decks can be found? This is the right place.

Bookmark the Training Center, this is the FIRST place to access when you have a question about a product or tool we have.

UPDATE-Google Digital Sales Certification

If you have not done so already it’s time to upload your certificate in the GH LMS. Instructions for how to do this are here.

Please make sure you upload your certificate.

Good To Know

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

  • GateHouse Media continues to grow, purchasing the Oklahoman Media Company. The Daily Oklahoman, a 100,000+ circulation daily in Tulsa, Oklahoma has a long history of excellent service and sales. This is important news even for local NC customers, because our ability to grow provides stability and strength for the long-term in all GH markets. Spread the word! More here on NewsOK.com.
  • Outdoor Advertising (Billboards) are showing some life. Adding targeting and programmatic technology to billboards is injecting some new potential into the billboard media industry. This is an interesting take on a legacy media, not unlike everything you see and here within the newspaper industry. Interesting reading here on Recode.com.
  • Want to help local businesses with tips to get ready for the holidays? Here’s some good ideas, even if they do come from a competitor. These are good suggestions, all local businesses can benefit from preparation now for the holidays to come. Check it out on AdTaxi.com/blogroll.

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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