Craigslist, Google, Monster, Autotrader… for local media the list of outside competition is growing longer every minute. In old westerns, the scene would be akin to Indians popping up over the horizon, arrows ablaze, pouring down on the covered wagons of the cowboys.
More Indians have shown up – Yahoo said Tuesday it had signed a deal with AT&T for its sales force to sell Yahoo display ads to its small-business customers. What this means is that over 5,000 AT&T reps will now have access to sell advertising on Yahoo to small and medium businesses competing with local media sites for a share of local ad spend.
On his blog Content Bridges, Ken Doctor summed up the Yahoo/AT&T partnership this way: “[The] Yahoo/AT&T deal represents new competition for beleaguered newspaper companies. Once AT&T sales reps got up to speed (and that’s certainly an intriguing question, given the newspaper company implementation experience), they’ll be competing head-on with newspaper reps.”
With major pure-play partnerships popping more often up how can a local media site compete against the big guns? Newspapers, TV stations and radio groups need to dig deep themselves and begin their own partnerships at the local level. It is time for strange bedfellows. Cross-selling and using traditional media to drive traffic to the local site becomes paramount. The power of local media is what you are selling, it is your distinct advantage, over the outside, national networks. Local advertisers look to your Internet sales team for expert advice and they must be trained in integrated marketing campaigns and loaded with the latest products. Yes, you should sell your competition’s traditional media if it fits the campaign.
The quickest way to gain trust with a local business is to make their ad campaign successful utilizing the benefits of social networks, video, e-mail, search, promotions AND newspapers, TV, radio and even billboards. Call your local media competitor today and break bread. It is time to start training your Interactive sales team on the benefits of selling integrated marketing campaigns.
It is time to circle the wagons.