Category Archives: Sales Channels

@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.

G5 Raises $75 Million; Extends Vertical Marketing Focus

We like vertical specialization for local marketing, and have long admired the approach of G5, the Bend, Ore- based local marketing firm that started with a focus on self-storage unit owners in 2005, and later added senior housing, multi-unit property managers and student housing. The 175-person company has 425 customers controlling 6,900 properties. Sixty percent of its business now comes from multi-unit property managers.

Last week, G5 hit the big time with a $75 million raise from Peak Equity Partners. The company says it will use the funds to extend its Marketing Cloud, which has gone beyond G5’s origins in search, and now also provides a full slate of analytics, search, social and advocacy.

CEO Dan Hobin told BIA/Kelsey that the key is to recognize the individualities of each vertical. Self storage takes about a month to fill a vacancy. Multi-family units take two weeks. Senior housing has a longer cycle: three months.

Most vertical owners perceive their marketing efforts as too expensive for property owners, and too cumbersome for consumers, says Hobin. It takes three days for consumers to get an apartments, from the time they look at it to the time they sign the lease, he says. “It is easier to buy a car than rent an apartment. You should be able to find a place in five minutes.”

Hobin says G5 works with all levels of property owners, but in the apartment space, for instance, most of them are the “middle level” below the publicy-owned, giant REITs which have traditionally used sites such as They could use G5 to complement those big site efforts, he says. G5’s emphasis on a wide range of channels, including lower cost channels such as social media and ratings and reviews, saves them money and drives more traffic to their sites. The analogy is to a site such as Kayak in the travel space.

While G5 is focused on its four verticals today, it is looking to expand to additional verticals. If it adds a vertical, it will really focus on its individual characteristcs, says Hobin. “It is difficult to enter new verticals,” he said.

New Paper: Local’s Stake in Programmatic Advertising

A new era of big data analysis and automation has been heralded in by the rise of programmatic advertising. But what is the actual impact on local? That’s the subject of my new Insight Paper for BIA/Kelsey: Defining the Local Stake in Programmatic Sales.

Programmatic advertising supports the ability to automatically plan, buy and optimize ad campaigns. By adding transparency, discoverability and transactability to media inventory, much of the buy/sell friction is reduced When it comes to local, however, programmatic’s rise has been slower because of local’s fragmentation, natural inefficiencies and non-early adopter status. We estimate that fewer than five percent of ad sales are now oriented towards programmatic exchanges.

Will programmatic ultimately prevail in local? We think so, and in a big way. Local programmatic allows marketers to optimize local inventory buys efficiently and effectively at scale – and close the loop with better attribution insights. It is already strong in search and display, and should become increasingly important in the new powerhouse channels of mobile and video.

In our paper, we detail the elements of programmatic; discuss major issues that impact local sales channels (i.e. the purported flight of sales agents?); and provide insights from top thinkers in the space. Those include MediaVest’s Jason Dailey, Prohaska’s Matt Prohaska, Advance Publishing’s Sandy Lohr, Hulu’s Kristen Wnuk, Balihoo’s Dabid Olivera,’s Frost Prioleau, Operative’s Lorne Browne, Enradius’ David Carberry and Ninth Decimal’s David Staas.

Centro: Boost Demand Side Ads With Full Program, Not Just Programmatic

Chicago-based Centro, which helps provide targeted ad solutions to 13,000 publishers – 4,000 at any given time — says it is refocusing on providing publishers with complete Demand Side solutions that integrate first party data targeting, hyperlocal mobile tools, digital extensions and cross-channel capabilities.

Publishers increasingly want to provide greater reach for their advertisers than they can provide from their own-and-operated (O&O) properties, said Centro SVP Katie Risch and VP John Hyland in a discussion with BIA/Kelsey. “O & O solutions are becoming a smaller share of the mix.”

Centro DSP for Publishers, the new product offering, provides a wide range of mobile, display, video and social campaigns directly through Centro’s platform. An increasing amount of these efforts are automated. “Revenue is going towards self -serve,” said Risch and Hyland. “People don’t go back after they start with self-serve.”

To be sure, programmatic – an automated process of planning and placing ads on the platform – represents a big part of Centro’s evolution. Centro has committed 18 buyers specifically to support programmatic. But programmatic needs to be supported with other pieces.

“We are in an early iteration of programmatic,” said Risch and Hyland. It helps to “close the loop.” But “it doesn’t do enough to support the demand side of the business, which is critical for local targeting. The biggest challenge is how to drive demand. There has to be a human layer; a set of KPIs.”

Centro’s Brand Exchange, for instance, has enlisted 1,400 publishers. It allows auto dealers and other SMBs to call on the company to meet their needs for local inventory. With such services, “we are providing a cohesive media strategy, along with first party data.”

Benzing’s MyNeighbor Provides Household Items for On Demand Rentals

The last player standing in the hyperlocal neighbor wars might be considered NextDoor, which has raised over $210 million from several major VCs on the basis of converting a mountain of neighborhoods and neighbors to targeted advertising dollars. We’d like to see an update on Next Door’s volume and frequency of usage — it is a little befuddling to us –but assume the VCs think they are on to something. There is also the sense that it could be developing an entirely new ecosystem.

Now hoping to tap into a NextDoor-like ecosystem is a Local On Demand Economy (LODE) service named MyNeighbor, which enables people to rent and pay for items from enrolled neighbors. THe items conceiveably range from baking equipment to strollers to power tools. The service is the brainchild of local vet Brendan Benzing, who has led a number of local initiatives for AOL Digital City and InfoSpace before a more recent tenure in the music business with Rhapsody.

Benzing tells us the Seattle-based service is primed for millennials who don’t want to own things and expect to be able to rent on demand on the same basis as AirBnB, ZipCar, Lyft and other LODE services. “They represent the power of true peer-to-peer,” he says.

If services like MyNeighbor are going to be successful, “they must first compete on the basis of cost and supply,” adds Benzing. And that will depend on getting a high penetration in specific neighborhoods, hence an initial, highly-concentrated effort on community-oriented neighborhoods of Seattle. “A digital presence within a neighborhood is a welcome sign for MyNeighbor, whether it is Nextdoor, a Facebook/Yahoo Group, or even List-serve,” says Benzing. “The fact that neighbors are connected digitally indicates the neighborhood is likely a more fertile place for MyNeighbor to grow and prosper.”

On Demand is New Focus for Some Home Service Providers

Competition in the home services leads space has been heating up – and so are the tensions. Just this week, Angie’s List has filed suit against Amazon, contending that Amazon Home Services has been egregiously signing up for the member’s- only service around the U.S., and grabbing proprietary service recommendations.

On Demand home services is something that several of the companies are hoping to differentiate themselves with. We saw it with HomeJoy at our LODE event a couple of weeks ago in San Francisco. Home Advisor has also been rolling out its Instant Booking on demand service.

Mizamin, an Israeli Startup with international ambitions, also hopes to get ahead with on demand home services. Its mobile app has gotten 200,000 downloads in Israel, mostly generated from a small social media ad campaign and word of mouth. CEO Yuval Aronov told us that providing home services on an on demand basis has some quirks to it. Many home pros resist keeping to real schedules and are eager to take jobs as they come up. On the other hand, certain types of jobs, such as pest control, need to be scheduled in advance.

Mizamin has built an App that enables multiple providers to receive queries in real time. When a plumbing assignment goes out to Mizamin’s roster of 40 plumbers in Tel Aviv, three-to-six usually answer, he says. The biggest channel for most plumbers have been SMS. “Some don’t use their smartphones professionally,” he says. “They are afraid to drop them in the toilet.”

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.”