Tuesday, October 30, 2007

How Will You Build Your Business Tomorrow?

A Cautionary Tale for Old Media

In this week's Business Week is a "Cautionary Tale For Old Media." Interesting read, not really any new information for those of us in the newspaper business. But Knight Ridder, to company at the stories focal point, could be interchanged with any number of newspaper companies. The inside details just provide a more juicy read.

But for those of you reading this that work in a business outside media, why is this relevant? Because the changes forcing your local media companies to reinvent themselves is a reflection of the upheaval caused by the ongoing change readers, viewers and listeners are driving. You know, those folks you refer to a your customers and prospects.

Real Estate Continues To Evlove Online

ClickZ: Zillow Crunches User Data to Target Homeowner-Based Ads

Often when I talk with local advertisers I tell them to look at the real estate and auto businesses as a harbinger of what is in the pipeline for their industry. The above link details the ongoing evolution of the real estate advertising landscape. If you doubt your business will not be disrupted by online strategies to the same extent as real estate and auto, keep this in mind: Literally thousands of developers are currently working in offices ranging from home garages to high-rise buildings creating products to change the way we find, shop and buy from local companies. Most will fail, some will succeed. The bottom line is we all need to begin developing our LOCAL online strategies.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Web 2.0: Making Money On Video, Podcasting at ChasNote

Web 2.0: Making Money On Video, Podcasting at ChasNote

If you're a local business operator, occasional, if you read this blog, you'll get to hear some internal office musings. Today is one of those days. I often tell our property folks we should be providing local online solutions because if we don't someone will.

Today's link is to a guy that makes his living shifting ad dollars to online. Look what pot of ad dollars he is targeting to grow his business. Do you think advertisers might find some credibility in his argument about TV ad waste? Of course he will not be the only online sales guy out there making this pitch.

Seth's Blog: "I can't afford it"

Seth's Blog: "I can't afford it"

If you're a client reading this, chances are, you have told me this...at least once. As a business owner you've had your clients tell you this. If you're one of the folks at our properties, of course you've heard this. I'm not going to wax philosophically about value/price selling. I'm just going to say this: If you're a business owner, get a LOCAL web strategy started TODAY. You can't afford not to....on this one, please trust me.

If you're one of our sales folks, share this suggestion - emphatically - with your clients and prospects.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

A Waste Metric


As a former TV sales guy I know this is a little misleading. But what's interesting to me is the waste metric used by online sales guys is much different than that of traditional sales folks. It appears to me to be more client-focused.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Co-op Is Shifting

One of the few surprising objections local businesses have posed to me during sales calls are the rules and regulations many franchisers and/or parent companies have regarding their local folks involvement with online marketing. Many large companies, Farmer's Insurance and Ashley Furniture are two I have recently run into, severely restrict what their local folks can do online. For example, both Farmer's and Ashley prohibit their local folks from creating their own website. HUH? Are you kidding me? And the use of co-op funds for online advertising is still, at best, problematic for many local companies. This of course is crazy. And my suspicious side has an idea of why local online causes some of these big companies heartburn. They know a local website can be much more powerful and valuable to local folks than a national, one-size-fit-all, website. And those large companies have no desire to give up the traffic to their national site.

As with most things regarding local online advertising, you can see the cracks in status-quo thinking starting to form. This from a recent "Media Post" article:

"Intel Corp. has decided that its co-op ad program will now shift at least 35% of its ad dollars to digital media.

"We're going where the consumers have gone," Sean Maloney, executive vice president at Intel, told The New York Times. "For the longest period of time, consumers formed their attitudes through TV, print, radio, and from the middle '90s onward, there was more influence from the Net," he was quoted as saying."

Yeah, I know it's a tech company. But others are sure to follow. If you're a local business owner/operator, don't just accept the online restriction by your parent company.

We Use It Every Day, But Did You Know

Each of us uses the Internet everyday, some more than others. But did you know the following about this "tool" you use so often?

Did Al Gore really invent the Internet? No, but give
credit where credit is due. He did the most of any elected
official to actively promote the Internet. However, he wasn’t
even in Congress when ARPANET was formed in 1969 or even when
the term ‘Internet’ came into use in 1974. Gore was first
elected in 1976.

Which decade really saw the explosion of the net?
The 90’s! The Internet exploded in or around 1993.

How fast is the Internet growing?

Very fast! It took 38 years for radio to reach 50 million users,
13 years for TV, and only 5 years for the Internet. Source:

How big is the Internet’s surfing world?

Google’s index now stands at 8 billion pages.

What are your average surfing habits according to Nielsen

Each month you usually visit 59 domains, view 1,050 pages allocating 45
seconds for each page and spend about 25 hours doing all this net activity!
Each surfing session lasts 51 minutes.

Some of these fact are fun, some are really useful. Did you notice how fast the Internet is growing? And did you see what the average user does on the net each month? Of course if you're busy running a business your usage may be substantially lower. But if you want to grow your business going forward, it's time to include the Internet in you on-going local marketing efforts.

Friday, October 12, 2007

New Digital Folks

If you're new to the digital sales arena, welcome. Some of you reading this are selling digital solutions for the first time. Some of you are very experienced. Jeanette in El Centro has years of experience selling television. Don in Lake Havasu is a former radio guy. Dan in Aberdeen is young but has a varied digital background. The only thing common among us is our passion for digital advertising solutions. I'm going to use this blog to communicate best practices, highlight wins and share bumps in the road so we can all learn. You can always add comments publicly or send me an email privately. Let's all share what we know. Cumulatively we're alot smarter than any of us is individually.

What We Can Learn

OK, so Google is growing north of 40% annually. When was the last time we saw those kind of numbers in our core product. But that's just rehashing old news. What's more important, I believe, is to learn from what Google is doing. In this latest essay from Terry Heaton, he argues it largely a matter of perspective. If you don't have time to read the essay, this paragraph should grab you:

"Google begins the day with the assumption that people come to the Web, because they're looking for something. We begin the day with the assumption that people are looking for us. In our minds, we are the ones who control growth, because everything has to happen on what we view as our property. In the collective mind of Google, the people who make up the network that is the Web control the growth by their actions, and Google's ad mechanism doesn't care where that takes place. As the network grows, so grows Google. Not so for local media."

As I said, an interesting read.