Tag Archives: Borrell Associates

Do Digital Only Sales Teams Outperform All Others?

Most local media advertising providers now use a single sales force to sell both their newer digital products and their traditional print advertising products.  But according to a new report from Borrell Associates, that could be a shortsighted strategy.  The company identified what it believes are major differences between companies that employ digital-only sales forces and those that instead employ a single sales (and content) force strategy which can do it all.

First, the Borrell study noted that an increasing number of companies are consolidating “offline” (let’s just call them “traditional” product sales) and online sales reps into a single unified team selling both types of products.  The number of digital-only sales reps — those employed by traditional  media companies (newspapers, radio and TV, but not Yellow Pages) has dropped from 60% in August of 2009 to 46%.

According to the report, online sites that do employ online-only account executives (AE’s) “outperform those without by a factor of 2.5” in terms of gross online revenue per sales rep. The difference is even more dramatic at TV stations – those TV stations that do employ online-only AE’s, do see them showing results which are three times the gross revenue of stations that don’t. Borrell’s bottom line conclusion:  “(its) clear that having a staff dedicated to selling online advertising—and combining it with the efforts of the legacy media sales force—drives more digital revenues.”  However, note that the research makes no mention of the impact on the traditional products sales of having some digital-only reps.

Borrell also looked at how local advertising media companies organizing their sales reps, and found that the most successful model tends to be “separate digital units with dotted lines”—companies, which employ both traditional and digital-only sellers, but also have a separate digital division responsible for hitting digital revenue goals and reporting to a separate manager.  Borrell reports “…many of these operations saw revenue growth in the 40 to 60 percent range in 2011, while average market growth for local online advertising was 15 percent.  The reason is no mystery:  with a unit that has sole responsibility for just digital sales, goals and lines of responsibility don’t get tangled up in debates about the legacy media sales problems.”

Borrell is charging $995 for the full 27 page report.

Our Takeaway:

I find some parts of the conclusions to be flawed analysis.  First, logic will tell you that if an AE only sales one product (digital in this case), their percentage of sales will be higher then a salesperson who sells many products, with digital being just one of them.  If they are truly providing a solution that meets the advertiser’s needs, sometimes it may not include digital products.  Any responsible, good AE would respond to the buying needs of the client with a recommendation that provides the greatest ROI for the client, independent of the product set.

There have been numerous attempts in the past by Yellow Pages publishers to try a wide range of sales organization and product strategies – digital only, full suite, vertical market segment focused, etc., etc.

What’s your view?  Which works best, and more importantly, why?

 

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News U Can Use – May

These news items are brought to you by Kuk & Baldwin.  Use this information in your account prep efforts:

AIR CONDITIONING UPGRADES.
In some parts of the country, air conditioning (AC) contractors are seeing an uptick in business, due in part to an available tax credit for upgrading to more efficient systems.   Central AC systems typically last 15 years, but heavy users may want to upgrade sooner – and even if an AC system is only 10 years old, switching to more energy-efficient equipment will cut the cost of running it by 20% to 40%.   In most cases, homeowners who want to upgrade a central system would leave the existing ductwork in place but would still have to spend $2500 to $4000 to replace the condenser and compressor.   Window units are typically
replaced every 7-8 years (Money, 5/11).

RINGS AND WEDDINGS.
Diamonds are still a girl’s best friend and make up 30% (and $55 billion) of all jewelry bought in the US in a year – but although the average engagement ring price is now at $5392, over 44% of engagement ring buyers spend $2500 or less.   The number of marriages in the US, while declining in the last three decades, seems to have flattened at about 2.1 million a year – and the majority are formal weddings that carry an average cost of $26,984.   That includes an average of $1099 spent on the wedding dress, typically at a bridal shop (Parade, 5/1/11; USA Today, 4/28/11; Smart Money, 5/11).

GARDENS AND FLOWERS.
The average US household spends about $180 a year on flowers, of which
$63 goes for flowering plants.   Regarding the latter, a garden industry rule of thumb is that for every $1 spent on flowering plants, $3 more is spent on accessories like hoses, garden gloves, and shovels.   All those dollar signs are why chains like Home Depot and Lowe’s are ramping up their flower plant ventories, along with accessories.   For example, Lowe’s has been testing flower plants for the last few years and typically picks 10 a year to sell.   All that big box activity means small local garden stores need to find ways to differentiate themselves – and then get the word out (Personal Journal, 4/27/11).

Find out how to be at the top of your sales performance by
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 Other recent media/advertising news:

Media Results:  Recent news about advertising media and general has been active.  Here are a few key examples:

 ZenithOptimedia Reduces Global Advertising Forecast

When you add up rising energy prices, the Japanese earthquake/tsunami, and political upheaval worldwide, ZenithOptimedia has decided to scale back its prediction for global ad spending for 2011 from a 4.6% increase over 2010 to a 4.2% increase, with total spending pegged at $470.8 billion. U.S. ad spending is pegged at rising 2.5% to total $155.2 billion this year. Source

Advertising Comeback Seen in Hard-hit Michigan
While overall global ad spending picked up last year from the depths of a recession in 2009 in a modest recovery, even in the state of Michigan,
one of the hardest hit Midwestern states by the downturn. “If the first
quarter of 2011 is an indication of the remainder of the year, we’re going to
have a great year,” said Bob Blanchard, CEO of Hanon McKendry in Grand
Rapids. Source

Local Radio sales Up 3.7% in 2011
Ad revenues at local radio stations will increase 3.7% this year
for a total of $15.1 billion, BIA/Kelsey forecasts. That follows a 5.4%
increase driven by political ads in 2010. The firm expects local ad sales,
including online ads, to hit $18 billion by 2015. Source

Weekly News Magazines Seeing Advertising Gains (except Newsweek)
With the notable exception of Newsweek, U.S. news magazines posted
gains in ad pages for the first quarter, with growth of 36% at the relative
upstart The Week and 49% at Bloomberg’s redesigned Businessweek. Newsweek, however, saw a 31% drop, signaling work still to be done for new owner Sidney Harman and Editor Tina Brown. Source

Digital Out-of-Home Advertising Putting Up Solid Gains
Digital out-of-home media emerged as the biggest percentage gainer among all media in ad revenues for 2010, with a 24.5% jump in spending to $1.1 billion, according to the Digital Place-based Advertising Association. The DPAA notes the ad gains in this particular sector were largely unaffected by political spending, which adds long-term significance to the results.   Source 

TV Ad Dollars Coming Back to Pre-Recession Levels
Don’t look now but TV ad revenues are on track to return to pre-recession levels over the next year, even despite strong growth in online marketing, this according to eMarketer. In fact, television is currently leading the way in the US traditional ad market among other media, most of which show some recover, but just not as quick. Source

Internet Advertising Surpasses Newspapers For First Time

Following up on the prior story, which noted that media other than TV are not recovering as quickly comes the news that spending on U.S. Internet ads rose 15% to $26 billion last year.  This gorw means online is still outpacing traditional media and has now surpassing newspaper ad revenue for the first time.  Source

Online Media News:  Discussion about online advertising is always active.  Recently, that hasn’t changed.  Here are a few key examples:

Digital Magazine Sales Count Towards “Paid Circulation
It all depends on how you count them.  We’ve noted that iPad and digital-edition sales of magazines are officially being counted towards circulation guarantees made to advertisers, per a new guideline from the Audit Bureau of Circulations.  But one twist is that the digital editions and the print editions may have different ads, raising some confusing among media buyers. Source

Google, Yahoo! and others offer ad opt-out icons
With some very vocal concerns coming out of lawmakers in Washington about consumer privacy online, Google and Yahoo! are introducing ad icons that link to tools that allow users to opt out of tracking. Likewise TRUSTe and DoubleVerify are launching similar services that first link to an ad information site. Source

Facebook Testing Ads Based on Real-Time Social Chatter
Facebook is testing an ad-targeting system that is supposed to monitor user chatter and serve up ads in real time related to the most recent conversations. Hmmm.  Analysts say the system could help marketers get through to users who say they find much of Facebook’s advertising irrelevant, but that the system’s success or failure will ultimately depend on its ability to provide pertinent content. “You might have the potential of seeing some unfortunate ads if not targeted correctly,” Debra Aho Williamson says. Source

Mobile Media News:  No topic is hotter now than anything related to mobile, especially mobile marketkng.  Here are a few key examples:

Borrell — Mobile Will Play a Larger Role in Local Advertising
Borrell Associates believes that advertisers will allocate nearly 18% of their online budgets to local media in 2011, compared with about 15% last year. The firm notes that mobile advertising is helping fuel the growth in local advertising and could account for up to two-thirds of local spending within just five years. Revenues at Groupon and Autotrader.com already exceeds online spending at newspapers, TV and radio stations in about 20% of local markets. Source

Cheaper Kindle Come With Ads
Amazon plans to launch a Kindle e-reader that sells for $114,  about $25 less than the lowest-priced version of the popular gadget. But, but,  but — users of the new Kindle with “Special Offers” will have to  view advertising on the home page as they’re choosing which digital books to read. General Motors’ Buick brand, P&G’s Olay line and Visa are reported to be interested in being the first Kindle advertisers, according to Amazon.  Source

Media Research:  It has been an active time for research data especially regarding newer media and social networking.  Here are a few key
examples:

Marketers Missing  The Real Keepers of the Purse Strings
Did you know that women control 80% of  spending in the U.S., and businesses don’t effectively market to women are “leaving millions of dollars … on the table,” according to Susan Fabry.    In this article she offers five tips to help “make this consumer feel understood.” Marketers should acknowledge women, join their circle (especially on the Internet), understand their similarities,  respect their differences and be prepared to grow with them. Source

Study: Almost all U.S. Homes Will Have Access to Broadband by 2016
Interpublic Group’s Magna Global has reported that the number of U.S. homes that are expected to rise from 84.7 million at the end of last year to 99.4 million by the end of 2016, while households with broadband will go from about 76 million to 97.9 million.  For the record that is less than the percentage of homes that receive print Yellow Pages.  Source

Nielsen Says Groupon Users Less Affluent & Educated than LivingSocial’s
Ok for all you social media fans, LivingSocial users, compared with those who use its bigger rival, Groupon, tend to be wealthier and younger and are better educated, according to  Nielsen. LivingSocial users are 49% more apt than the typical American Web user to earn $150,000 or more (which is closer to a typical print Yellow Pages user than Gropon), vs. 30% for Groupon, and are more apt to be under 35 and possess bachelor’s or graduate degrees. Source

Research Say TV is a Major Influencer in Buying Decisions?
Hmmm.  According to a survey by Deloitte, 7 in 10 Americans rank TV viewing as their top media activity, and more than 8 in 10 say TV ads have the biggest influence on what they buy. I’m curious about this since the same study indicated that three in four Americans also multitask during their TV time, with 4 in 10 spent online, 3 in 10 talking on mobile phones, and about one in four IMing or writing text messages.  Seriously?  Source