Tag Archives: local media


May
2016

You might think digital media is top-of-mind for SMBs.  But when you ask an open-ended question about how local media companies can help with their marketing needs, the floodgates open to a torrent of frustrations. The comments come from a massive SMB survey that got underway in April.  At the end of the 40-question survey, respondents are being asked,  “What suggestions, if any, do you have for media companies to improve how they partner with small and medium-sized businesses?” Nearly everyone is responding.  While the most-mentioned words are affordability, cost, ROI, and money (39% used these words), the comments are broad and represent a treasure trove to any company wanting to serve SMBs well. Below are a handful of responses, with apropos survey results noted in brackets. While there are a number here that mention Facebook, the word only showed up in 1% of the comments.  And the words “digital,” “website” or “Internet” popped … Continue reading


Apr
2016

To all my broadcast friends, there’s a whiff of trouble in the air I feel compelled to pass along. Peeking at preliminary results from a massive SMB survey that got underway in late April, I saw data from 10 markets showing that 42% of TV advertisers plan to either scale back or eliminate their TV spending this year. That’s the highest percentage for all types of advertisers — including the longstanding whipping boys of local media, yellow pages and newspapers. There’s a caveat:  The results are preliminary and not likely to be the same in each market. However, when the survey rolls through 150 more markets over the next several months, it’s not likely that the percentages will change more than a few points either way.  Even if they dropped 10 points, we’d still be looking at one-third of TV advertisers saying they plan to cut back. The results are from businesses who said they are … Continue reading


Nov
2014

While headlines for our annual Automotive Advertising Outlook focus on car dealers’ continued infatuation with digital media, perhaps the most profound statement appears at the end of the report, in the Conclusions: “Let’s set something straight. Automotive advertising hasn’t completely disappeared from newspapers and radio, and it’s still a healthy part of TV and direct mail. In fact, we could have begun this report as follows: ‘Despite the ballyhoo of all things digital, auto marketers still find analog media so attractive that they’re spending nearly half of their ad budgets there.’ ” Perhaps it’s just inertia? Maybe car dealers are just slowly easing out of old habits and will eventually put 100% of their budgets in digital media. Not likely. I spoke recently with several local auto dealers and the head of a large automotive agency, and they all had the same story: They don’t foresee abandoning print or broadcast … Continue reading


Sep
2014

While I’ve been traipsing around the country as the glamorous spokes model for Borrell Associates, the brains behind the company toil away at tracking, analyzing and forecasting what’s happening to $104 billion in local advertising.  And they’ve changed their story on me. We held a webinar yesterday, and hundreds showed up.  Check it out the recorded version here. What’s new is a bit different than what I’ve been saying on the road.  The storm for newspapers isn’t over, though I’ve been predicting for two years that things are about to get calmer.  Turns out, the shift to digital is accelerating. The future isn’t bright for print and broadcast media, I’m sad to say.  While I believe that they have a place in today’s media carnival, I also think they’re beginning to look more like an old-time carousel amid the more thrilling anti-gravity rides and looping roller-coasters.  Don’t shoot the messenger.  … Continue reading


Feb
2013

Of all the rides at SMB Digital Marketing Carnival, the longest line is at the Facebook funhouse. A whopping 13 million SMB pages are active on Facebook.  And to help manage the lines, Facebook is making plans to reach out to anyone in the business of selling advertising to local businesses. Dan Levy, director of small business for Facebook, is at the center.  Prepping for his presentation at the 2013 Local Online Advertising Conference next month (see agenda here), Levy told me Facebook is looking for media companies that have “reach and relationships” into the local SMB marketplace. “We have heard from many innovative companies who are helping small businesses on Facebook,” Levy said. “And their work has happened without any support from us. Obviously we’re interested in their feedback and in figuring out the best way to help them and the many small businesses who want to engage with their … Continue reading


Jan
2013

It seems odd, but if you want a shining example of successful local media transformation, look to a yellow pages company. One by one, the stodgy old directory companies are disappearing.  Gone are AT&T Yellow Pages, White Directories, Yellowbook, Verizon Superpages, and Donnelly Directories. Replacing them are leaner, digitally focused companies renamed YP, LocalEdge, Hibu and Supermedia.  While other local media companies struggle to get more than 10% of their local ad revenue from digital sales, these companies are above 30%.  LocalEdge (formerly White Directories, owned by Hearst) is above 50%. YP, formerly AT&T Yellow Pages, stands head and shoulders above the rest. In an age when fallout from the digital comet is suffocating the biggest media reptiles, YP has morphed into an alligator. (CEO David Krantz will detail YP’s transformation at the 2013 Local Online Advertising Conference in NY March 4-5. Click to see Agenda.) YP initially struggled with … Continue reading


Jan
2013

When it comes to business inefficiencies, technology holds a search-and-destroy quality.  Google devastated encyclopedias.  Amazon pummeled bookstores. Digital photography walloped Kodak. And now Autotrader.com is aiming a giant tech missile at the automotive marketplace. “We think we’re in the dawn of a new era,” CEO Chip Perry told me a few days ago. Chip and I spoke as we were prepping for his presentation March 4 at our 2013 Local Online Advertising Conference. (See agenda here.) The last time he addressed our conference, the audience was enthralled by Autotrader’s mediamorphosis from a parent company that published hundreds of Auto Trader books in the 1990s to an all-online business today.  Chip’s 2010 presentation remains the most-downloaded of the 100+ we’ve had over the years.  It’s an amazing story. This time, he’s got a different story to tell when he takes the stage.  It’s the story of how Autotrader aims to close … Continue reading


Jan
2013

Initial assumptions often get turned upside-down when someone decides to poke into the data and see what’s really happening.  Such is the case with media usage – and in a startling way. Our initial assumption was that digital media was so alluring, pervasive and efficient that it would suck time from all legacy media channels. As it turns out, that assumption was about as accurate as the notion that the office PC would actually reduce the amount of paper we use. Welcome to the age of the Digital Omnivore.  It’s not a new breed. It’s a societal evolution in which the world simply contains more fast-food information outlets, and people engage in a daylong graze. Prepping speakers for #LOAC2013 (see the agenda here), I spoke last week with the one person You might think would espouse the rise of digital media and corresponding decline of newspapers, TV, radio and yellow … Continue reading


Nov
2010

When it comes to getting people’s attention, media’s biggest threat isn’t from other media.  It’s from common, everyday people who have something to say. Like everyone else, my attention span is stretched.   Several times an hour I make conscious (but mostly semi-conscious) decisions on where to place my attention.  The Internet has made it easier to stay connected with friends and family on our own time, at our own pace. Let me give you an example.  It involves my grandfather – or Pappaw as I call him.  The alarm clock on my mobile phone awakens me every morning.  It sits on the night stand next to my bed.  Usually looking for a reason to sleep another 10 minutes, I check my e-mail to see if there’s anything urgent from my colleagues.  When I finally get up, I check in with Facebook.  The news feed grabs my attention, reading posts … Continue reading


Mar
2010

I had a spirited panel debate in Orlando recently with three individuals from newspaper companies who were hell-bent on proving that convergence sales forces worked.   When it was over, I was more convinced than ever that local media companies have internal Rasputins who are hypnotizing them into forgetting the past. Unfortunately, many newspaper companies are on a path to remain, well, newspaper companies. Unlike their predecessors in the 1920s who leapt into radio with separate staffs and in the 1950s who leapt into local TV with separate staffs, many legacy media companies aren’t going to make this particular new media transformation.  They have either not read or completely forgotten the principal lesson of disruptive innovation: When a disruptor comes along, the winner is virtually always the organization that pursues the new venture with separate resources. A lot of local media companies – newspapers, TV, radio, yellow pages and cable –labor … Continue reading