Home' Local Media Today : December 2011 Contents 8 | suburban publisHer | december 2011
by NANCy LANe, SNA PreSIdeNt
Why are some companies having amazing suc-
cess with their deals platform while others are
We gathered the brightest minds in the deals
space from local media companies throughout
North America to figure it out. And by the end
of the day, some clear trends had emerged that
clearly separated the successful launches from the
The most successful companies (monthly rev-
enues of $40,000 to over $100,000) were generally
doing the following:
A deals champion was in place. This meant
different things at different places. For some
it was dedicated sales reps that were only
selling deals. For others it was a person on
staff that had passion and skill in the deals
space and could motivate/train others to sell
it. At Rust Communications, a new sales rep
made all the difference and they are now sold
out for the next three months. At Deseret,
a dedicated rep is mainly responsible for
their success. At GateHouse, they are in the
process of hiring deals-only specialists at
their larger properties.
They had an intense commitment to growing
their email database. The most successful
were constantly running contests to get
new names added.
A deals committee was in place and this
often involved the publisher. Every week at
a set time the committee meets to review
and approve the deals. They also look at
competitive deals sites, review what is in
the pipeline, discuss sales rep challenges
and strategize for the coming month. When
the committee stops meeting, the revenues
go down (one large newspaper told me that
their deals went from six figures/month to
$40,000/month when the deals committee
stopped meeting regularly.)
Understand the top deals categories and
go after them (while avoiding the catego-
ries that don’t work so well.) For this group
restaurants, health & beauty, activities
and recreation were the big winners. While
there were some other success stories, these
categories continually out-performed all
others. Travel was also noted as a success
story for some with packages working best
(a water park admission combined with a
hotel night for example).
The deal must be a good. This is almost a
“duh” but everyone said it. In one case, a
restaurant offering $30 for $15 sold 4,200
while another offering $5 for $2.50 (in the
same market) sold 4. The deals committee
is responsible for making sure that the deals
are good and should reject those that won’t
work (given the amount of promotion from
Manage the calendar – the best performers
are sold out at least three weeks out. They also
never have a scheduled deal day without a deal.
For the top performing weeklies or smaller
market dailies, 1-3 deals/week worked well.
Commission plans reward performance.
Most deals reps were making between 7%
and 10% commission on deals revenue. Many
others had additional bonus incentives based
on revenue and # of deals sold.
Promotion is critical to success. The Quad
City Times runs their deal right on the front
page next to the masthead. In Augusta, GA
they promote their deals on digital billboards
around town that feature a ticker with the
updated # of deals sold. Both companies
are top performers in the deals space. Many
others are running testimonial ads in their
paper and online from advertisers that have
had success with deals.
For those that think this space is a short term fad
– think again says Borrell Associates. Pete Conti told
attendees that daily deals revenue will hit $11.5 billion
this year and that by 2015 it will soar to $28.6 billion.
In a survey of 39,000 consumers, Borrell reported
that many are signed up for 4-6 deals sites and 80%
of them would likely register for a new site. Also, 22%
purchased 5-10 deals in the last 6 months.
Finally, the group addressed the evolution of this
space in a session dedicated to Deals 2.0. Terry Kukle
from Metroland Media Group showcased several
new brands being launched in addition to their
main deals site WagJag.com. These included jaunt.
ca (travel niche), deals4u.ca (consumers request
deals) and uofcheap.com (college campus niche).
Jim Misuraca from closely.com showcased bonus
deals (higher discounts for time of day – so lunch
might be a 50% discount and all other times 30%).
He also showed how the closely.com platform can
push out deals, coupons, event information and
more to social media outlets (facebook, twitter,
email distribution lists and foursquare) via a web-
based management system that is turn-key and
offers an affordable upsell. Matt Coen of Second
Street Media shared a lot of valuable information
about the hundreds of clients that are using their
deals platform and sees a mall approach gaining
traction. Kyle Smart from Deseret Digital showcased
their brand new deals mall platform and it is terrific
(be sure to check it out at www.ksldeals.com).
SNA will continue to follow trends and oppor-
tunities in the deals space. We expect to issue a
report on Daily Deals 2.0 next spring as we examine
many of these emerging models and variations of
daily deals. We will also plan to host another deals
summit next year as the feedback from this one
was just terrific. Thanks to all that attended and
contributed. (Presentations from the daily deals
summit are available at www.suburban-news.org
and click on conferences/deals summit).
Top Take-Aways – SNA
Local Media Deals Summit
From left, Mary Anne Hersam of Hersam Acorn Media, Matthew
Pearson of New York Times Regional Media Group and Liz White
of the Record-Journal (CT).
The Quad City Times promotes their daily deals right on the front
page next to the masthead.
Terry Kukle, left, of Metroland Media Group shares a moment with
Jim Williams of Journal Register Company/Digital First Media.
Matt Chaney, center, of Deals Summit sponsor Second Street, is
flanked by Jon Rust, right, of Rust Communications and Richard
Dunn of The Atlanta Voice.
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