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There’s something to be said for account
executives that have the gift of building
long-term relationships with their clients
in today’s tough advertising climate.
In the past, reps had some good sup-
port from their company in sponsoring
a number of social events, golf outings
and client trips to keep their custom-
ers happy. But with the plunge in the
economy and all of the budget cuts, I’m
sure that most of these events are long
gone – and the timing stinks.
Today businesses are being bom-
barded with sales pressure not only
from traditional media, but from new
companies trying to get a piece of the
In a recent webinar, Mel Taylor (of
Mel Taylor Media) spoke of a number of
competitors that we’ve all heard about,
like Patch – but he also mentioned other
companies like DataSphere that may be
new to our ears.
DataSphere builds hyperlocal sites
for local businesses. They maintain a
large call center in Seattle and contact
advertisers in a market on behalf of the
local TV station to help them with their
web site development.
There’s no upfront costs for the sta-
tion. Sixty percent of the revenue goes to
DataSphere, but that’s hardly the worst
part. DateSphere maintains the relation-
ship with the client and they maintain
the contact lists.
Taylor showed an example of a TV sta-
tion web site – the contacts at the station
all had DataSphere email addresses.
These companies are chipping away at
our clients. We all have to take a serious
look at these partnerships and make sure
we look past the dollar signs and see how
it affects our business in the long run.
Look at Groupon. On the outset, you
may not think it’s a bad revenue share.
Now many are saying you should keep
According to Taylor, Groupon has 75
percent of the deal market. He advises
not to run their ads on your site, as they
are “harvesting” your audience. Others
have noted that they are there to take
over your emails and will be gone in a
Enough about the sharks in our waters.
Newspaper companies have a big advan-
tage that may be overlooked: Their own
newspaper reps. They’ve been in the
market longer, they are perceived as
trustworthy and have the local market
According to a recent survey of local
businesses by ITZ Belden, 65 percent
were “confident” of the newspaper rep
acting as an agency for them (ie. placing
advertising in other media).
So are your reps acting as an agency?
Are they asking the right questions?
According to Taylor, four questions need
to be asked:
What is your current overall marketing
What is your current digital alloca-
tion? Facebook, Banner Ads, SEM,
What type of digital are you considering
in the next 3-6 months?
Who is pitching you?
According to the ITZ Belden Survey
(and evident from the DataSphere exam-
ple), companies are looking for help
with their web sites and social network
marketing – this is an area that newspaper
companies can capitalize on.
On May 12th at 3:00 p.m.EST, SNA will
have a timely webinar on this subject
entitled Become the Local Ad Agency:
The Big Picture Approach to Serving
Your Clients. Contact SNA headquarters
to sign up for this free SNA member
Tanya Henderson is the Advertising &
Membership Relations Director with SNA.
She can be reached at 804.262.3341 or by
email at Tanya.Henderson@suburban-
Are you unknowingly outsourcing client relationships?
Advertising & Membership
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