Author Archives: John Sullivan

Now Even Older People Choose Online Over Printed Newspapers for News

There isn’t much good news for printed newspapers when it comes to their remaining relevant to today’s consumers.  The last hope seemed be that older people (55-plus) were still loyal to print and that fact has kept a lot of advertisers spending money in print.

A recent study now may be breaking down that last bit of good news for printed newspapers.


Online vs newspaper

This image is from a blog post at Reflections of a Newsosaur and comes with a caveat that this survey was conducted online so there is a certain bias built in.  However, it still paints a pretty dismal picture for printed newspapers and therefore for advertisers looking to reach consumers of all ages.  The tried and true printed newspaper may be in its last days of relevancy.

The challenge for companies using online ad builders connecting dealers to co-op advertising funds is to recognize the way consumers are moving online and adjusting their ad builder technology to make it as easy to build and publish digital outputs as it is to build printed pieces.

The advantage for dealers and brands to publish online content is that many of the most effective sites are free of publication costs.  A dealer’s facebook page, his own site and a brand site (dealer locator results pages) are all perfect examples of very effective sites that are free of publication costs.

The best ad builders, like ours, also host the landing pages that a dealer builds in the system.  By hosting the landing pages a brand can save the cost of monitoring the pages and sites that dealers want to apply for co-op reimbursement. It’s almost impossible to check every page every day to make sure it continues to meet brand guidelines.  That’s not a issue when we host the pages and insure that only approved content gets reimbursed.

When we host the pages it also helps the brand and the dealer track the results and share best practices across the entire dealer channel.

It’s time to rethink how your ad builder and your co-op ad dollars are being spent.  If you’re making it easier for your dealers to build printed pieces without having equal or better ways for dealers to publish online pages you may be wasting a lot of time and money.

Owned Media is a Big Hit with Dealers

Local advertising is changing in many ways and Borrell Associates has been tracking the way local retailers are spending their local advertising dollars and the move to spending on local promotions is very clear from this chart.

You can download this chart here and from the Executive Summary you’ll read where Borrell Associates feels that owned media is a big deal for local retailers as it’s an inexpensive way to advertise their promotions. From the summary:

Because owned media is free of publication costs, this dramatic chart is understated as the dollars shown in 2007 include media costs while as we move into 2013 publication cost diminish. Today dealers post their promotions online using their own site, Facebook and other free online outlets.

This is a good trend for brands as marketing assets go further and reach more people for less money. However, to make this work your ad builder has to provide the right digital assets in the right format and then host the landing pages so you can stay in complete control of the messaging and track the results.

We can show you how.


Paywalls Still in Doubt

If you’re involved in local advertising you’re naturally interested in the viability of local newspapers. As consumers move online and away from the printed copies of newspapers, the papers built great internet sites for consumers. Unfortunately, the banner ad revenue never equaled the decline in print advertising so they went to the idea of paywalls to charge consumers for the online content.

Here is a chart from an article on that shows the decline in the growth of digital subscriptions to The New York Times.

The article goes on to note,

In the first quarter of 2013, digital subscriber growth slowed down significantly, dropping to just 6 percent quarter-over-quarter. Moreover, for the first time in two years, the rise of digital revenues was too small to make up for the loss of advertising and print revenues. Total circulation revenue of the New York Times Media Group grew 8 percent in the March quarter, but as advertising revenue dropped 11 percent, the Group’s total revenue declined 1 percent.

If The New York Times can’t grow this business at an increasing rate than what luck will most local, smaller circulation papers have?

In order to increase income from their digital property The New York Times is contemplating lowering the cost for online content. Newspapers all over the country are watching closely as are brand managers responsible for co-op advertising funds.




Dealer Websites as Important as Brand Site

Many brands spend lots of time and money on their brand site and leave their best dealers to fend for themselves when it comes to online content for their sites. Here is an interesting chart from an article on that shows that consumers shopping for a car are as likely to be influenced by the dealer’s site as they are by the brand’s site.

In most industries local dealers are looking for great content to put on their site and are willing to even give up part of the control of their local site to a brand that is setup to protect them in the process. Think of it as adding a cul-de-sac on the dealer’s site that is loaded with brand information that is both personalized and customized by the dealer and doesn’t lead the consumer to the brand site (and via the dealer locator to another dealer).

When the brand hosts these pages they can track and react to consumer behavior on a local level. These cul-de-sacs are free of publication costs and can be easily and inexpensively monitored for brand compliance.

It may be time to rethink the way you support your local dealers.



Google AdWords vs. Printed Newspaper Ads

Newspaper ad sales continue to fall as Google ad sales continue to climb. The chart shown here is from a post on Reflections of a Newsosaur and clearly makes the case that ad dollars are going digital at the expense of printed newspaper ads.

This still understates the move from print to digital because so much of digital advertising is done via free or owned media which are free of media costs and therefore not measured in studies like this.

However, almost no matter how you look at the data the story comes out the same, print has a value but digital is where the smart advertising money is moving to reach today’s consumer.

Now, if you’re in charge of local marketing for a national brand, compare the move of your co-op dollars over the last four years to see if your dealers are moving as dramatically away from print to digital. My guess is that the answer is no.

Your outdated ad builder and co-op rules a probably the reasons why your dealers are wasting so much of their money and time. Your ad builder is probably really good at helping dealers build print ads and offers very little in the way of building and hosting digital landing pages to support local promotions. And you’re co-op rules probably ignore more digital solutions than they authorize.

It’s time to fix this problem. We can help.


The PC is Dead?

The changes in local marketing have been phenomenal in the last several years, driven by changes in consumer behavior which were in turn driven by technological changes. Well, just when you figured out the difference between a widget and an app, along comes another dramatic shift in technology.


From an article on we see this chart from Gartner and learn that PC sales will be surpassed by tablet sales in 2017.

As tablets become more powerful (Microsoft’s Surface Pro for example) there isn’t a need to have both a PC and a tablet. A tablet is designed to be portable but now when connected to a monitor and keyboard, it will work just as effectively as a desktop PC. So who needs a PC anymore?

From a local marketers point of view, this means consumers may have more power than ever in their hands as they shop for new products, even when they’re in the store. Salespeople will be better equipped too as tablet computers will become an affordable method to deliver product information to potential customers right in the aisle.

Your dealers need your content on a personalized web page more than ever. The best way to make that happen is to add the ability for dealers to customized templates within your ad builder and then host the pages for them, so you can control your brand message as you help the dealer track the results. 

The best part is that this is another way to promote your brand and your best dealers to your most likely customers without any publication costs.

We can help make this happen.

Going Digital to Save Money

Most of the articles we read about how brands are moving advertising dollars from traditional to digital media explain the move as a reaction to consumer behavior. It just makes sense to follow consumers online. Now we’re starting to see more articles that mention that the lower cost of digital advertising is a big influence, too.

This chart is from an article on and documents what percentage of company revenue is being spent on digital marketing, compared with the total marketing budget.

In the article they further go on to explain that digital budgets are growing every year and:

According to Gartner, much of that increase in digital spending will come from marketers reinvesting cost savings. When asked how they were funding their digital marketing programs, 41% answered that they were saving money by replacing traditional tactics with digital tactics, and that this savings was funding further investment. Another 28% responded that they decreased traditional marketing budgets to free up funds for digital.

The cost savings associated with digital media is a huge benefit to marketers and it is a benefit that is hard to measure.

The biggest savings comes from the fact that so much of local digital marketing is free of publication costs and therefore not tracked or appreciated. Providing your dealers with digital landing pages that can be used on their own sites, on their Facebook pages and in your online dealer locator is a very cost-effective way to reach qualified consumers without spending any media money.

The key to taking advantage of free and owned media locally is to add the ability to customize and build landing pages in your online ad builder and then to host the landing pages so you can track the results and insure brand compliance.

Step two is to use this same landing page system to buy local banner ads and Google AdWords.






Traditional Media and Millennials

We track a lot of studies about how consumers are moving away from traditional media to digital but every so often we are reminded that this isn’t an either or decision, print is still important.

This chart is from an article on and tells us that young people, the ones you would think would never do anything traditional, do still read newspapers.

Just to put things back in perspective, the study also found the following:

  • 7 in 10 early adopter Millennials agree that they compare prices online before making a purchase. 56% agree that after researching online, they go to a physical store to purchase.
  • 38% share comments about products and services on social networking sites.

So the takeaway is that if you want to reach consumers today you have to be present in both traditional and digital media. Just don’t waste too much money on traditional.


Consumers Tire More Easily Online

How do consumers shop for your products? There is a lot of great research out there that documents how consumers go online to get product information before making a decision. Google has some great information on their site

Here is one of the many insights they share with regard to consumers who are shopping for tires. Earlier in this report they said that 46% of all consumers who buy tires go online during the process.

In this graphic they give us an indication of where consumers go online to get their information. Not surprising to us, we see that the top source of information is the local retailer’s website. Followed closely by Search Engines, which a reasonable assumption would be that a consumer is going to a search engine to find a nearby dealer.

The major point here is that brand managers who are in charge of local advertising and co-op funds should be thinking about ways to publish great brand content to their dealers’ websites, because that’s where the consumers are.

The best way to do that is to have an ad builder that allows dealers to build landing pages from templates loaded with brand friendly content and then host and track that landing page for the dealer.

The best part is that letting a dealer publish your content to his/her site is free of publication costs. Because our ad builder system hosts the landing page, managing compliance to your brand standards isn’t an issue or an expense either.

Now compare that ROI to a newspaper ad.


More Proof That Ad Dollars are Moving to Digital

There have been so many studies supporting the idea that brands are recognizing the change in consumer behavior and are reacting by moving ad dollars from traditional media to digital.

While this study from doesn’t break down national advertising vs. local advertising, the logic should be the same. If consumers are relying more on the internet to get product information, then local advertisers should be spending more dollars on the internet at the expense of less effective traditional advertising like printed newspapers.

The challenge for local retailers is that they don’t have the expertise they need to take advantage of the internet and there is no one from the internet who will walk into their store and help them move online.

A good brand must help their local retailers. First, by giving their best retailers the tools they need to create great landing pages, host those pages for them and track the results. Secondly, change the co-op rules to encourage the move from traditional to digital media. Right now most company’s co-op rules are stuck in the 90′s, the early 90′s.

A modern ad builder with a strong set of tools for taking advantage of digital media and up-to-date co-op rules are what’s needed now.