Category Archives: Conferences

@LocalOnliner: Day 1, BIA/Kelsey SMB (Hibu, Constant Contact, Home Advisor, Booker, YP)

Hibu USA CEO Kevin Jasper
1. Sales team is now 1,600, down from 4,500 peak. Bringing in new talent.
2. New customers we acquire today are almost exclusively digital.
3. Prints revs still more than half. Digital will surpass in next several quarters.

Constant Contact SVP Joel Hughes
1. $100 Constant Contact package cost breakdown: $85 FaceBook spend, $15 management fee.
2. Two changes in smb marketing are advances in audience targeting and rise of native advertising.

Peter Hutto
1. Three changes in SMB marketing: low cost tech, tools, data; massive, global audience platforms; digital consumption shifts.

Home Advisor CEO Chris Terrill

1. One million appointments forecast for Home Advisor in 2015, with service launched 6 months ago.
2. $350 mm anual rev, 7 quarters of accelerating growth, 12 years of consistent profitability.
3. “Multi vertical” vs. “focused vertical.” Best way to grow is focus on single vertical.

Booker CEO Josh McCarter
1. Retention we see (for service platforms)..churn is 3-6% a month. Booker’s is 1/2 percent.
2. Stand alone scheduling is insufficient…SMBs have real world needs” (for integration)
3. At Booker, we’re seeing 30% of (SMB) sales come from pen and paper. totally disconnected.
4. LocalCommerce Market: Less than 25 k: 15 m. More than $25k: 7.5 M.
5. Service businesss account for 60% of US GDP
6. “Local service commerce” cuimlination of online/offline to drive offline–encompasses all tools.

YP SVP Harpreet Marwaha
1. YP hiring 200-300 reps per month for past 6 months.

BIA Kelsey Data
1. 57% of SMBs use Facebook for marketing, per BIA/Kelsey survey.
2. 3,022 companies in the Local Verse.

Back to My Roots: Setting Up My Own Research and Consulting Shop

Effective October 1, my role with BIA/Kelsey will change from “Chief Analyst and VP” to “Advisor and Local Expert.” The change allows me to refocus on specific research and consulting areas and work on a case-by-case basis with chosen clients. I’ll be using Local Onliner as my hub for all communications.

Working with BIA/Kelsey has been a great privilege. I’ve been with the company now for 9+ years (and with The Kelsey Group for 2 ½ years before that). I hope to continue to work with the company and to benefit from its thought leadership and events for many more years.

BIA/Kelsey has given me fantastic opportunities and deep friendships in-and-out of the company – and allowed me, as the head of conferences, to work with conference attendees and the 1,000+ industry leaders who graced our stages. I am deeply honored that you have invested your time, thinking and money with us.

Thank you to Tom Buono and John Kelsey for supporting the research and conference development. And a special shout-out to my mentor Gary Arlen, who showed me the ropes in the nine years we had previously spent together at Arlen Communications Inc., and made sure to bring out the fun and intellectual excitement in all of our work.

As for my next steps in research and consulting, I look forward to reaching out to the community. You can also find me at several great events over the next couple of months. Here is my schedule:

Sept. 22: The Cardlinx Association, Data Driven Commerce: Card-Linking and the Transformation of Offers, Bellevue,WA
Sept. 28-30: BIA-Kelsey SMB, Big Ideas on Local Marketing for Small Business, Denver Tech Center
Sept. 30-Oct. 1: Local Media Innovation Conference, Denver Tech Center
Oct. 25-38: Money 2020, Las Vegas
Dec. 8-9: BIA/Kelsey NEXT: The Future of Local Digital Media, Hollywood

Come to Denver: BIA/Kelsey’s SMB Show, Sept. 29-30 (+ Discount Code)

The “local” space has become many things to many people…which makes BIA/Kelsey’s SMB Show the most focused event in our annual lineup. Produced this year by my colleague Charles Laughlin, the event has been growing every year and is making a case for itself as the company’s new flagship. It will be held at Denver Tech Center Sept. 29-30.

Some great features are planned for the event, including a new version of the Future Stars showcase and contest; a robust exhibit hall; and of course, the industry’s best local networking. The Denver area in the fall is quite nice, too.

Some of the 40+ handpicked industry leaders that I am especially looking forward to listening to and talking with include Vistaprint’s Scott Bowen, Go Daddy’s Raj Mukherjee, YP’s Darren Clark, Hibu’s Kevin Jasper, Booker’s Josh McCarter, Constant Contact’s Joel Hughes, Microsoft’s Kelly Thomas Johaim, SMB visionary Randy Parker, and Home Advisor’s Craig Smith and Chris Terrill.

Use my discount code “SMB2015PK” for $200 off. Rates go up August 31.

BIA/Kelsey NOW: The Impact of The Local On Demand Economy

BIA/Kelsey’s NOW conference today in San Francisco highlighted the Uberification of the local space and its impact, pro and con, on traditional marketing channels, especially advertising.

“It is about evolving markets,” said event head Mitch Ratcliffe. Some people grossly simplify what is happening as if there will just be “an uber for this, an uber for that. but there are different services and niches for each vertical,” he said. It is not about preserving “monocultures.”

“Uber is just one possible solution for transportation,” for instance, said Ratcliffe. “The Local On Demand Economy is the first great tool for monetizing (an employment) exchange. And it acknowledges that the 90 year-old idea of a job for life is probably beginning to end.” And that’s not necessarily new, either. “Benjamin Franklin didn’t have a job,” notes Ratcliffe. He did have a portfolio of interests.

Keynoter Joanna Lord, Porch VP of Business Development, noted that “the funnel is so different now. The search and find models that drove Google’s emergence is now ‘get it,’” she said. And consumers are willing to pay a premium for convenience and excellence. “Fifty five percent would pay more for a better experience.”

LODE companies are also extending the notion of loyalty beyond the four pillars of “no loyalty,” “inertia loyalty,” “latent loyalty” and “premium loyalty,” she said. “There is now a 5th type of loyalty: Reciprocal loyalty.” Lord defines this as a“premium relationship befitting both the consumer and the brand.”


The Chairman’s Session at BIA/Kelsey: The Top 4 Things to Know

Video is now available for purchase from the third and most evolved edition of BIA/Kelsey NATIONAL, which took place March 25-27 in Dallas. At the show, we saw that industry leaders were in general agreement that major progress has been made among all the stakeholders in “national marketing, local targeting.” Many speed bumps, however, are still being felt along the way. Key stakeholders, including agencies, media companies, franchises and local franchisees are, by necessity, transforming their identifies as they adjust to the new digital (and mobile) marketplace.

During our Chairman’s Session that closed the show on Day 3, Houston Chronicle, Yahoo and Fox Interactive Media vet Warren Kay, Speakeasy CEO Mike Orren, SuperPages vet Robyn Rose and 3rd Act Marketing CEO Gregg Stewart provided their summary insights into four key topics in “national marketing, local targeting.” Among them:

1. The time is finally ripe for National Local. Research by the CMO Council – cited by BizHive’s Dave Walker – noted that 57 percent of CMOs say that local programs are important, but only seven percent of CMOs have a successful program in place. Success, however, will soon become more apparent.

National local programs are “at the beginning of becoming the next big thing,” said Orren. “If there was a graph that showed where innovation and cost effectiveness begin to make sense for local, the line has now begun to be crossed.”

“Scar tissue” remains from the “embarrassment and disappointment” of early local marketing efforts, added Warren Kay. But now “informed decision makers really understand national local, and how they might apply the type of budget they have. That will drive the local marketing space in the future.”

2. Media and directory companies are transitioning to the new environment. Local newspapers and directories still play a real role in targeting locally – and regionally. But they are also being forced to re-evaluate their core strengths.

It is a simple admission to note that many advertisers really aren’t getting ROI from the traditional products, notes Robyn Rose. But they can reposition themselves by providing consultative services with their advertisers. “You really have to understand your partners. If you are targeting local or franchise locations, for instance, you need vertical and regional experts, she says.

Mike Orren notes that media companies are well positioned to guide and sell local businesses and even national business in their market. But they can’t get “hung up” over moving their own inventory. Their core asets are not their product, but their “brand, reputation and feet on the street,” he says.

Gregg Stewart says that the key thing is that media companies are now being judged entirely on their effectiveness. “At the end of the day, the advertiser doesn’t care if (the media is) local or not. They want to sell something. They will look at whatever they can buy that is fastest and cheapest,” he says.

3. Some things are automated, and some things are not. Relying solely on automation and “air coverage” doesn’t work at every level, especially in local.

“There is a paradox in local,” says Gregg Stewart. Marketers build their attack the CMO level. Programmatic sales and other automation are highly effective for doing that, he says. But you need to also execute work with door to door sales.

“Companies need to understand the partnership with sales and marketing,” adds Warren Kay. They must ultimately collaborate to leverage customer insights and customize aspects of the marketing campaign. Companies such as, for instance, do very well in developing content marketing programs to complement their programmatic sales.

4. Platforms can bring local franchisees in line, and also liberate them. Brands are “schizophrenic” from top to bottom, with the national brand representing one thing, and each local outlet representing something else. The question is to what degree is it healthy to have “local franchisee stars act like franchise choir boys” – as Yext’s Christian Ward put it.

“The trend with national organizations is to get more control,” says Gregg Stewart. “The stakes are too high. I see that as a trend for a while, until we get these things figured out.” But franchises should do everything they can to encourage local innovation. “You need local stars,” says Rose. “You need to figure out how to embrace them, not bring them into everything. You need to get everyone else to emulate their success.”

At BIA/Kelsey NATIONAL: Top Takeaways

The third version of BIA/Kelsey NATIONAL just wrapped last week in Dallas, following our 2014 NATIONAL event in Atlanta and our 2013 event in Boston. Taking twists and turns as it develops, the topic of “national marketing, local targeting” is one that increasingly relies on digital, which represents a significant share of the $67.1 billion in spending that is forecast for national local by 2019.

Thanks very much to our 64 speakers, hundreds of attendees, sponsors and GoLocal Award finalists for participating with us in Dallas. What are you takeaways from Bia/Kelsey NATIONAL, Ver. 3? Here’s my personal top takeaways:

1. The time is now for National Local, but the industry still needs to catch up. BizHive’s Dave Walker, in a great keynote, cited CMO Council research noting that 57 of CMOs say that local programs are important, but only seven percent of CMOs have a successful program in place.

2. It is critical to leverage social media. The average Facebook user is on 41 minutes day, and national brands have an opportunity to use Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Yelp and other social media to develop real scale for local franchises. As U-Haul’s Elnora Cunningham noted, U Haul can give its dealer network direct feedback from over five million reviews. Given all this, SpeakEasy CEO Mike Orren tweets: “So no, Mr. Client, we don’t recommend abandoning the platform.”

3. ‘Closing the Loop’ on attributed marketing should be highly prioritized. As Geary’s Karen Kovaleski noted, marketers need to think across media and organizational boundaries to bring customers to a transaction decision. Google, for one, is actively working on this capability. Google’s Brendon Kraham highlighted a PetSmart case study in which 10-18 percent of search clicks can be tracked back to instore visits.

4. The rise of programmatic sales represents a breakthrough for National Local. Automated selling represents a break-through that local needs to reach users on a targeted, hyperlocal basis. But it needs to be carefully handled. As Sightly’s John McIntyre noted during Rick Ducey’s Programmatic SuperForum: “In the end, programmatic is stupid. It is a (simply) a go-get, go-fetch tool.”

5. All National Local strategies must focus on optimizing Mobile’s micro moments. Just as broadcasters have focused on day parts for different types of marketing, national local marketers must really begin thinking about the different types of activities that people are doing when they look at their mobile phone. Google says that people are looking at Android phones 150 x a day.

6. Platforms can bring local franchisees in line, and also liberate them. As Christian Ward from Yext notes, brands are “schizophrenic” from top to bottom, with the national brand representing one thing, and each local outlet representing something else. Getting “local stars to act like choir boys” is one goal of the platform companies.

7. Going deep on vertical expertise is essential. It isn’t one size fits all in national local. Richards Group’s Rod Ulrich noted that “consultative sales rule,” and that his agency has added a library of vertical materials and a librarian to assist in the effort.

8. The sales structure for National Local must be carefully tailored. The old days of sending someone to Detroit or New York twice a year doesn’t make sense anymore. The Dallas Morning News, for instance, told us that its team of 10 national reps is now down to 2. But national touchpoints remains even more vital, via timely contacts, use of networks and other capabilities.

9. A real role remains for local media and directories. Local newspapers and Yellow Pages still play a real role in targeting locally – and regionally. But it is important to understand and tailor those strengths. The national usage of The Dallas News, for instance, is more than half driven by Dallas Cowboys.


GOLOCAL Awards Finalists Set for BIA/Kelsey NATIONAL Next Week

When we started the GOLOCAL Awards last year at our Atlanta NATIONAL show, we felt there was a real gap in awareness about the great local campaigns by national and regional brands. The diversity and quality of what was entered in the Awards was incredible.

Now we are wrapping up our Second Edition. Our seven independent judges have just completed their work, and the finalists in three key areas — Innovation, Sales/Revenue and Strategic Use of Digital Marketing — will be highlighted at the start of Day 3 of our Dallas NATIONAL show next week. The finalists include:


  • “Sears’ Online Social Review Innovation” — Yext
  • “Local Video Ad Campaigns Deliver Results for Wendy’s” — Sightly


  • “Bill Luke Dealership Increases RAM Truck Sales” — Haystak Digital Marketing

Strategic Use of Digital Marketing

  • “Lead Generation & Social Audience Engagement” — G/O Digital
  • “PowerChord STIHL Southeast First Watch YouTube” — PowerChord on behalf of STIHL
  • “ShopRite Store Opening Promotion via Bucks Happening” — Happenings Media
  • “UMB Bank” — Placeable
  • “Just Said Yes Campaign” — WeddingWire
  • “Inspiring a Mobile Audience to Take Action” — xAd + Goodwill Industries & Ad Council
  • “Nationwide Just Say YES — Digital Marketing for Maytag” — Nationwide Marketing Group, Netsertive and Maytag by Whirlpool

Sponsoring the Awards is Where2GetIt, which is one of our leading sources and advisors in NATIONAL, working with over 500 brands. CEO Manish Patel tells us that “The finalists represent the tremendous talent and diversity we are seeing every day in our work with national brands in this incredibly fast-growing space.” Come to the NATIONAL event in Dallas, and cheer ’em on! The top three winners will be announced at the end of the session.