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"Demystifying Daily Deals" Workshops Net a Big Win for GateHouse Ohio Media

The Challenge

The Repository of Canton, OH is one of GateHouse Media's larger newspapers and the lead title of GateHouse Ohio Media, a group of clustered publications that enjoys over 300,000 print readers each week; and over 1,000,000 online visitors to their community of Web platforms each month. One of the many revenue streams that this media group relies on is the "DailyDeals" program, where readers take advantage of offers from local businesses, publicized in print, online and via email. If the reader has interest in the "deal," they simply log onto the local online "DailyDeals" platform, provided by Second Street Media to purchase a certificate to be redeemed at the business location. The participating merchant receives a good deal of promotion and advertising for offering an average fifty percent discount for a product or service, and also receives an average of fifty percent of the dollars generated through the sale of the certificates.

Mike Blinder, President of the Blinder Group, a Florida based firm that assists media companies with maximizing their multimedia advertising revenue, recently appeared in a Webinar hosted by the Local Media Association, where he stated: "The challenge in garnering local business participation with 'deals' usually centers on the fact that the sales force of a local newspaper tends to not have good relationships with the best advertiser categories for a 'deals' promotion. Most newspaper sales people tend to be calling on business categories like car dealers, realtors, hospitals, larger retailers, etc. When the most lucrative categories for 'deals' tend to come from small restaurants/fast food, coffee/donut shops, spas/fitness facilities and other smaller type businesses. The other challenge lies in the fact that some local advertising sales people are sometimes having issues in embracing how they will be compensated through the process.

"We have had very little success in getting our ad reps to sell this concept at all," stated Chris White, GateHouse Ohio Media's SVP of Sales and Marketing, during the same Local Media Association Webinar. "We are so accustomed to selling the need to advertise and the vehicle to advertise. When talking 'deals' it all comes to down to what the deal is. Our folks are just not trained to think that way." During the Webinar, White mentioned that in order to gain more local businesses' participation in offering "DailyDeals," GateHouse Ohio Media has hired a Deals Specialist to focus solely on getting advertisers to participate in the program and servicing them during the process. "We found someone who truly understands the deal process in our Deals Champion," stated White.

Shannon Dunnigan, CEO of RadarFrog, GateHouse Media's consumer savings platform, stated during a subsequent interview about this deployment: "We encourage all of our media properties to have a Deals Specialist in place to handle the sale of the program. However, it is important that the traditional newspaper sales people participate in the process as well, by bringing their best prospects to the specialist."

Another issue to overcome in gaining the traditional newspaper sales peoples' acceptance of bringing the advertisers most likely to participate in (and profit from) DailyDeals requires offering some form of compensation. "We offer a 'spiff' to each sales rep who brings in a Deals advertiser," stated Chris White, during the LMA Webinar. "All they have to do is bring in the prospect and they make money."

The Solution

Shannon Dunnigan of GateHouse Media asked Mike Blinder to craft a 60-minute educational program entitled: "Demystifying Daily Deals," for GateHouse Ohio Media. The program would be presented by him in ten separate sessions, over two-days at a Canton hotel. Working with GateHouse Ohio Media a "target list" was developed with the best "deals" prospects to attend these sessions.

Invitations were sent to each business, with some online and print marketing performed as well. 2-weeks prior to the sessions, Mike Blinder hosted an educational Webinar for the local sales people to educate them on the best prospects for the DailyDeals offering, and, to instruct them on the upcoming deployment logistics. "I urged them to QUALIFY each and every attendee to make sure they were good 'deals' candidates," stated Blinder. "Plus, I made sure they tried to make contact with each business owner in advance and get the 'decision maker' and any 'influencers' to attend as well."

"I also asked the local market to craft a commitment letter that each attendee would fill out at the event," Blinder went on to say. "This: 'I'm Ready to Deal' letter was not a contract, but a commitment to make an appointment with the Repository's Deals Specialist. It helped gain their commitment to set up a meeting so we could work the process later on."

"Our intention was not to close the deals at the event," said Chris White of GateHouse Ohio Media. "A sales call to gain a deal can take up to an hour to make sure we get the right product or service from the advertiser. At these events, our goal was to get the appointments set with our Specialist."

The Results

48 individual businesses attended the sessions, with over 100 people in attendance at the sessions. From those that attended, 22 follow-up sales calls were scheduled with the local Deals Specialist. From the subsequent sales calls conducted over a 2-week period, 19 individual businesses became new advertisers, committing to 54 individual products or services for DailyDeals. "We consider this a big win for us at GateHouse," said Shannon Dunnigan. "Getting this many deals in this short period of time proves this is a very efficient way to get the 'deals' in the system quickly and in a cost-effective manner. We have already contracted with The Blinder Group to replicate this deployment in other GateHouse markets."

For more information, contact:

Mike Blinder, President - Blinder Group, 727-847-2464

Shannon Dunnigan, CEO Radar Frog - GateHouse Media, 781-433-6755

Chris White, SVP Sales/ Marketing - GateHouse Ohio Media, 330-580-8428

Matt Chaney, VP Sales - Second Street Media, 314-880-4900

The Blinder Group
Tampa Offices: 19606 Eagle Crest Drive
Lutz, FL 33549 USA
(727) 847-2464 ~ (727) 499-7410 (fax)

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