The Blinder Group
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The Blinder Group assists the Phoenix (AZ) East Valley Tribune to become a key provider of Search Engine Optimization for "local advertisers"

The Opportunity

The saying "It's a jungle out there" was once referenced to big cities but today this saying can also be said of the World Wide Web: "it's a cyber jungle out there." Today users are faced with embarking on a cyber safari whenever they are looking for local business in their communities. The challenge is how the local newspaper can "come to the rescue" and become the solution local advertisers look for to maximize how they will be found by local Web users, when seeking a local product or service. Historically, newspapers have always been the ideal connection for the advertiser and the consumer on a local level. wanted to deploy a marketing solution, to provide just that! Be the local source, to assist local businesses, to be found on the Web.

The partnered with Local Launch, a directory provider that created a perfect solution to be able to create a new online revenue source. The goal was to be able to assist advertisers in being found by local readers of the online newspaper product, as well as by those online users who searched for products and services within the already established major search platforms such Google, Yahoo, MSN, Infospace and many more. By deploying a new solution, perhaps the cyber safari will get a bit easier in Arizona for local advertisers.

Program Overview

A local yellow page component was placed on the's site to offer consumers a way to search for local businesses. A subscribing advertiser gets to create a profile page which accomplishes a few things. This page will provide a link to the businesses web site, general information about the business, a map, a photo of the business and most importantly many, many key words.

The business is given a URL such as The significance of this URL now enables the business to appear higher on the "organic" results pages of a search engine, because of power of the name. Furthermore, the advertiser has an opportunity to purchase a package that will allow them be a "sponsored advertiser" on the major search engines by having the actual "key word" purchasing done by the staff of the East Valley Tribune.

Click on image to view larger version

Click on image to view larger version

Once all the online branding elements and functionality were decided and agreed upon, the brought in Mike Blinder of the Blinder Group to work with management to develop an initial sales training/ revenue generation program that would be easy for the local, traditional ad reps to "take to market.' During the initial visit, Mike facilitated a strategic planning session with senior managers, where it was decided that a "bundled" program would be taken to local advertisers, offering them a combination of:

  • Rotating online ads that appeared throughout the Web site
  • A profile page for the advertiser that appeared within the Web site.

    Advertiser participating in the rotating ads was limited to 20 local businesses, each agreeing to invest $1099/ month for a 12-month commitment.

    Sales Marketing Support

    The Blinder Group assisted the in the development of a complete, eleven-page presentation to help the local, traditional ad reps, explain the value propositions of the program to local advertisers. The support materials outlined the Web site audience demographics as well as the features and benefits of the total program.

    Sales Training Support

    Mike Blinder also during the initial visit to the conducted an onsite motivational, training program for all managers and "outside" salespeople. Topics covered included:

  • Prospecting New Multimedia Business
  • The Methods of Selling Multimedia
  • The basics of the Internet and how the medium works
  • The benefits of bringing interactive products to market
  • How to effectively offer Web based products to your advertisers
  • Methods for using the Web to garner more market share
  • Building better online ads that maximize results for your advertisers

    During the meeting the sales staff was also informed of the Blinder Group's pending return visit (see below), in which "4-legged" sales training/closing calls were to be performed. Salespeople were urged and encouraged during the meeting, to set up a large amount of appointments, with qualified "decision-makers" of area businesses, so that they could experience "first hand" how to sell online products to their advertisers with Blinder Group assistance. Salespeople were given a "success kit" which reaffirmed the most important elements of the training. Plus it offered them a proven "appointment setting" script to assist in setting up the sales calls.

    Click on image to view larger version

    Sales Strategy

    One of the key elements in ensuring sales success of this initiative is garnering advertiser approval of meeting attendance as well as the validity of the concept in general. Some of these advertisers are wary of trying new ideas. One of the most effective means of accomplishing attendance and acceptance is to introduce the advertiser to an industry respected "outside" consultant who has had success with similar programs, with similar businesses, in similar markets, all over the world. That is why many media companies contract with the Blinder Group to perform "4-legged" sales training closing calls with traditional ad reps, to assist in the launch of programs like the one defined in this document. Barbara Wickman, of the Blinder Group returned the Mesa, Arizona market 14-days after the initial "set up" visit to conduct these calls with the local ad reps, on targeted advertisers.


    During the 5-days of assisted sales calls, close to 65% of the qualified advertiser "decision makers" committed to the 12-month program, in a single sales call setting, resulting in over $225,000 of new online revenue for the

    "We couldn't be happier with the result with our latest online sales effort. The Blinder Group took the time to meet with us first and assist in crafting our program, so it could be taken to market effectively. They even developed the sales materials. The sales team training was motivational and on target in getting our reps to believe in the value of the product. Then they returned to the market and worked hard with our reps to show them how to close it. The result is a well trained and motivated sales force with a stronger belief in multimedia selling. Plus in a single week, we generated a quarter of a million in new online revenue!" - Jody Vanden Heuvel, VP Sales & Business Development, East Valley Tribune.

    For more local information on the local sales strategy of this program, contact:
    Jody Vanden Heuvel, VP Sales & Business Development, East Valley (Mesa, AZ) Tribune, (480) 898.6597

    Lead consultant for The Blinder Group:
    Barbara Wickman, Senior Sales Associate, (619) 203.6166

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

    SPEAKING PROGRAMS, seminars and workshops

    CONSULTING/TRAINING: Strategic Planning ~ Basic Sales Training
    Multimedia Sales Training ~ Assisted 4-Legged Closing Calls

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