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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.

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