Yahoo Craves Fast Food. Ad Dollars, That Is

Yahoo has a fast food craving. As part of its mission to attract more money from national advertisers with local presences, the company will sponsor events held by quick-serve restaurants, and other “local-national” advertisers.

Such advertisers are “the most underpenetrated area of local in the online space,” said Lem Lloyd, VP of channel sales at Yahoo. “Local-national” advertisers include retailers like Walgreen’s, Kohl’s and Best Buy, restaurants such as McDonald’s and Dunkin Donuts, and home services like security system firm ADT.

Home services represent a “huge opportunity,” Lloyd told ClickZ News.

One way Yahoo hopes to woo the local-nationals: Throughout the year, the firm will sponsor events and conferences held by franchise companies for their franchisees and partners, according to Lloyd. Those might include firms that operate coffee shops or casual dining establishments.

During a panel on partnering with portals yesterday at the Borrell Associates Local Online Advertising Conference in New York, Lloyd added that a personal goal of his is to visit as many quick-serve restaurants as possible this year to help inform Yahoo’s strategy.

There are a few franchise event sponsorships planned already, including one to be held in New Orleans next month, said Lloyd, noting that Yahoo has not done much work with these local-national advertisers in the past. “Yahoo will use local sales forces to go after those dollars and knock on those doors,” he said. The company plans to tap into sales forces from its local media and business directories partners.

“These advertisers’ decisions are made locally,” rather than by ad agencies, said Lloyd. Yahoo’s strategy also involves the company compiling data about what works for local-national advertisers online in key markets, then providing agencies with that information through a dashboard system.

“You’ve got to change the mindset of the advertisers in these industries,” Lloyd said.

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