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Augusta (GA) Chronicle Advertiser Workshops Net Nearly $300k in New Online Revenue


Click to view an interview with Augusta Chronicle's Dir. Of Sales Jodi Bell, about this deployment.

Morris Newspapers made the commitment to perform market research on local ad spending for their Augusta, Georgia market, as a tool to assist the business community in being able to evaluate how their ad dollars should be invested competitively for the most return. Morris contracted with Borrell Associates to conduct a Compass study that would detail the market's ad-spending data for 100 business categories. The data within the Borrell Compass study (

  • Identifies the largest local online ad spending business categories.
  • Details how much a local business spends across online ad formats (static display, search, video and e-mail).
  • Details what a local business spends on advertising in all media and in promotions.
  • Tracks trends with a 5-year ad-spending forecast for each business category.
  • And, generates a handout for a local advertiser that shows the exact spending within their business category. And, models that ad spending based on its number of employees.
Once this data was obtained, Morris Newspapers made the decision to release the findings through a number of events for local business owners. Those invited to attend the informational meetings learned:

  • How online marketing concepts work and the most effective means to use them.
  • The demography of the local online audience garnered by the Augusta Chronicle.
  • Ways to leverage the current online marketing solutions offered by the Chronicle to gain new customers.
  • And, the current local research as obtained through the new Borrell Compass study and how this information can assist a local business owner in planning their advertising and marketing spending.
It was hoped that once an audience of local business owners were educated about the benefits of online advertising, shown the current and predicted spending levels of specific business categories, and offered a value oriented online solution from the Chronicle—a solution that had limited availability for a limited time and only offered to those who attended the event--advertisers in attendance would be compelled to make the commitment to purchase the solution either at the event itself or in subsequent meetings set to take place over the following days.

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Planning Process:
Morris Newspapers sought out The Blinder Group to assist in the entire deployment strategy. Based on the metrics garnered by the thousands of yearly sales calls performed for media companies and the many events hosted for local advertisers in markets of all sizes, The Blinder Group advised the Chronicle on:

- The local business categories most likely to attend and purchase online solutions.
- Suggested products, pricing and packaging to offer that are most likely to close.
- Marketing logistics to ensure meeting attendance.
- And, the actual content of the presentations for the events to be held.

Once product pricing and packaging were agreed upon, The Blinder Group designed the actual sales presentations to be used to describe the features and benefits of the Chronicle’s online offerings at the hosted events as well as during the subsequent follow up sales calls that would be scheduled to occur.

The Deployment:
The Chronicle marketed to the local community in both their legacy and online products, a single day of 5 available meetings where attendees would "gain industry specific data regarding online advertising spending in the CSRA during these troubled economic times and how (their) business can get ahead."

Mike Blinder of the Blinder Group conducted each meeting by initially instructing the audience on online marketing concepts. Then he displayed the features, benefits and pricing of the limited availability online sales packages offered by the Chronicle followed by a look at some of the local advertising spending data as revealed in the Borrell Compass study. Attendees were then informed that the sales people from the Chronicle had prepared similar reports for all the business owners who registered to attend. Those reports were available to be viewed either directly after the workshop, or at a subsequent meeting that needed to be scheduled before leaving.

The results:
Most of the business owners who attended remained after the presentation to review the data from the Compass study about their specific business categories and to learn more about the limited availability online sales packages being offered exclusively to them by the Chronicle. Over the subsequent week that followed, nearly $300,000 of new online revenue was achieved through this effort.

Jodi Bell, Director of Sales for the Chronicle stated: "I could not be happier with the results of the entire initiative. We achieved significant new online revenue from new business categories, in a very short period of time. Moreover, the feedback we garnered from attendees at the advertiser meetings, was overwhelmingly positive. They did not feel they were invited to attend a meeting to be sold something. Most felt that they left the meeting better educated and informed on how they can grow their business online."

For the Augusta Chronicle, contact:
Jodi Bell, Director of Sales

For Borrell Associates, contact:
Peter Conti, Senior Vice President

For The Blinder Group, contact:
Mike Blinder, President/ Founder

The Blinder Group
Tampa Offices: 6139 Fjord Way
New Port Richey, FL 34652 USA
(727) 847-2464 ~ (727) 847-5959 (fax)

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