Tag Archives: local advertising trends

Hawthorne Search Provides Current Hiring Outlook

We have always been big believers of following hiring trends as a really accurate indicator of the economy, and in particular, the tone among small business owners and those that provide advertising services to them.

When we received this recent summary  from Robert Hawthorne, the President and Founder of Hawthorne Search on hiring trends in the local search industry for Q1 2013, we thought it would provide you with some very good insights on what’s happening in the trenches.  Robert and his team of recruiters has been working with a wide range of clients in the local search segment for over a dozen years.  His client base ranges from Yellow Page publishers, to advertising agencies, to pure online players.  Just as the old TV commercial goes — when Robert speaks, we listen.  Here is Robert’s report:


2013 has  seen a noteworthy uptick in hiring activity versus q1 2012.  We certainly are not in what anyone would describe as “boom times” but there is a significant increase in companies hiring versus q4 2012 or q1 2012.

A noteworthy trend is the amount of time that companies take to fill the openings that they do have.  There seems to be a catch 22 in terms of needing to hire, but not wanting to add to the cost structure.  Many companies have adapted the position that they are willing to add cost only if a “purple unicorn” i.e. nearly impossible to find candidate comes along.  What this says to us is that companies have definitive needs, but there is reluctance to hire due to general economic uncertainty.

Less Field Leadership:   Another trend is a consolidation of sales leadership positions in both traditional and digital media.  Gone are the days when companies new to the market are building out large field sales team and the managers to lead them.  Most companies are either selling through channels and trying to piggy back existing sales teams of their partners, or building specialized inside call centers.  There are a few exceptions, like Cardlytics in Atlanta, but overall we are seeing fewer regional sales manager, area sales manager type searches than at any time in the past five years.

More Agency Sales:  Where companies are hiring is in the national/regional market with a focus on individuals who can sell through agencies and also to franchise groups.  If you are a sales person with legitimate agency relationships in New York, San Francisco or Chicago, your phone is no doubt ringing.  We worked with a candidate in NYC who had strong agency ties and he had FIVE offers to sort through.

Mobile has not exploded as one might have expected.  There is still a decent push in mobile, mobile/local, but not at the clip that many had predicted a few years ago.  Where we do see activity is in verticalized companies, i.e. health and wellness, travel, auto, etc.  There seems to be an increasing number of local search companies that continue to try and own a vertical market as opposed to a geography.  For candidates it appears to be better to be a specialist as opposed to being a generalist.

Consolidation in traditional media continues.  With the Supermedia/Dex merger, and the senior management shake up at Hibu, we continue to see a large influx of resumes, but very few job openings to send these talented professionals out on.  Similarly, our newspaper clients continue to shed headcount, and where they do add, it is strictly on the digital/mobile side.

Deal Mania fades:  Just 18 months ago our phones rang off the hook for deals companies looking to add headcount as quickly as possible.  With the implosion at Groupon, and Living Social’s continued inability to become profitable, the flow of jobs has turned into a trickle.  Smaller companies have folded and those that haven’t certainly are not looking to add to headcount.

Loyalty takes the lead:  Loyalty, or what some might call “deals 2.0” has taken the wheel.  Companies like Cardlytics, Catera, Edo and many others are partnering with banks and developing loyalty offering that have shaken up the local space.  These companies are being selective in terms of adding head count, but most are extremely robust about their future and boast major private equity firms backing them up.


All in all we give the local search jobs market a solid “B” in terms of amount of activity, quality of jobs available, etc.

If you are looking to hire, Hawthorne Search has an unsurpassed list of contacts in the industry and a 80% success rate on all search projects we engage upon.  Whether you are looking to hire a sales rep in Chicago, or a VP of Digital Strategy in NYC, we can help.


Robert Hawthorne

President – Hawthorne Search

(910) 777-5383 // C (910) 297-8729


twitter: mediarecruiter

Surfing Web NOT The Same Thing as Buying Locally

Yellow Page publishers take note — a growing number of Americans are going online for fun, or to just kill time.

That’s not just my opinion, it’s the findings in a new study from the Pew Internet & American Life Project. The survey talked with 2,260 U.S. adults from July to August. On a given day, more than half (53%) of those 18-29 year olds go online for no specific reason except to have fun, and 81% use the Internet as a diversion at least occasionally.

One of the perceptions vs. reality comments I often hear is that “young people” (that famous 19-35 year old age group) never use print yellow pages. Based on this confirming research, those comments are somewhat correct. But the fact remains it is not as if they are on exclusively going to the web to shop/buy either, at least not during the majority of the time they are playing around. The findings do point to the extent to which the Internet has become a competitor to other types of advertising media, since things such as “watching TV” and “listening to radio” can now be done online. For example, Americans watched a record 42.6 billion videos online in October (comScore data). And for those that follow the stock market, you may have noticed the new $1 billion IPO that Zynga filed on Friday for a company that is in the growing online social gaming segment.

More results from the survey show that 58% of American adults overall (and 74% of those online) go online for fun at least sometimes, up from 29% in 2000 and 40% in 2005. The shift toward more people going online for fun cuts across various demographic segments. For example, the proportion of whites, African Americans and Hispanics using the Internet as a diversion has increased between 25% and 28% for each in the last decade. In terms of gender, the share of men and women doing so has roughly doubled to 62% and 54%, respectively. Similarly, large jumps were seen across varying education and income levels.

The main point being that just because “everyone” is online/using mobile apps, doesn’t necessarily correlate that all of their buying activating is constrained to those media, or even in using those media exclusively for their shopping/buying information.

Given that reading a print Yellow Pages has never been confused with “having fun” or “killing time”, the ROI that a local advertiser can expect from their Yellow Pages advertising program is still solid…