Kelsey Local Media Conference: Random Notes

I had a blast at the Kelsey conference in Seattle last week. In addition to news coverage from the event on FIM, Yahoo and The LA Times, here are a few tidbits I found interesting:

SubPrime Auto Loan Lead Gen Potential
Cars.com founder and CEO Mitch Golub suggested there’s room for a new vertical in the local auto lead generation space: subprime auto loans. Because, according to Golub, 50 percent of car buyers don’t qualify for prime loans, “I guess that’s another vertical to be developed.”

On Buy-in from Sales Partners
Ad product and service providers looking to attract small businesses and local advertisers need a way to connect with those clients. So, they forge relationships with yellow pages companies or newspaper publishers – companies with entrenched local sales forces that can go out and sell their Web video product or SEM services along with a YP or newspaper site ad.

Lots of deals along these lines have been made recently between vendors and publishers, but feelings are mixed as to the potential success of such partnerships. Golub told the Kelsey conference audience, vendors that think newspaper salespeople will readily go out and sell their products, are “smoking something funny.” He was one of a couple execs at the conference who didn’t shy away from tellin’ it like it is.

But in a panel focused on local resellers, Carey Ransom, VP of business development for WebVisible indicated he’s seen success in such partnerships, particularly when salespeople go beyond their regular pool of advertisers. “The ones that are stretching a little bit are the ones that are seeing the most success,” he said.

On Selling to Small Businesspeople
During that “Local Resellers” session, SpotRunner GM of Local Marketing Services Kurt Weinsheimer reminded the audience that folks running small businesses have unique needs. “We’re dealing with the head of sales, CMO, COO all in one person,” he said. “They have very different questions and very different needs.”

For instance, when selling TV, information about reach and frequency or points may be important to traditional media buyers at agencies, but it often goes over the heads of small business advertisers. “It’s deer in the headlights when it comes to a small business,” said Weinsheimer, adding that SpotRunner alters the type of data it reports to such advertisers.

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