After 15 plus years working for Metroland I have decided to move on. Instead of dwelling on what could have been I would rather focus on what was. Metroland is the company that taught me the ins and outs of the flyer distribution business and gave me my first opportunity to establish myself as an industry leader. They really did give me every opportunity to flourish and I can never thank them enough for that. It wasn’t until Metroland sold their Kingston product that I decided to start up my own company in FlyerMail (which I would later sell to Metroland) which would turn out to be my biggest break. Metroland really did provide me with the opportunity to grow and help mold me into what I am today.
So lets reflect:
-They allowed me to flourish as A local flyer rep.
-Provided me with industry leading (newspaper media) flyer targeting which in turn allowed me to thrive as an industry sales leader.
-Indirectly influenced me to start up FlyerMail.
-Later purchased FlyerMail to bring me back to Metroland.
-Gave me sales management experience.
-Made me a business development manager driving digital and direct mail.
-Armed me with strong local digital products which lead to my passion and sales success I have today for digital media.
-Provided me with corporate sales experience so I could polish off my advertising sales game adding agency sales experience to my arsenal.
I could add more but would rather keep this short and sweet. As I move on to my next venture so that I can reach my career goals in Toronto I want to take this opportunity to thank everyone at Metroland both employees and management who helped me grow as an advertising sales executive. I am very excited for what’s next but Metroland has played a huge part for my passion in the print/direct mail/digital advertising game.
Throughout my career I have spent a significant chunk of my time in produt, leadership, sales, this list can almost go on forever training. We spend time in weekly internal sales meetings, sales tools training, role playing, working on closing skills, one on ones with managers ok seriously I am sure you get the idea. In all my time in the advertising business there are 2 things that can’t be taught which have been huge to my success and they are DRIVE and PASSION. This comes from within and at the end of the day in my opinion this is what separates us. Without these attributes I wouldn’t have been able to start up FlyerMail, sell it to Metroland, have the sales success I have had throughout my career and become a digital and print sales leader in my industry. My digital knowledge is almost exclusively self taught through social media, spending time with digital leaders and daily reading (thanks Google!). No one made me do this, there was no course, it all came through a passion for digital and an unstoppable drive to be successful in that space. in fact I have taken this aproach throughout my career and demonstrated drive and passion in everything I do to give me that edge and maximize my success. I am by no means downplaying internal company training and the importance of this but if you want to stand out, win, and separate yourself from the competition you will need to discover that passion and drive that only comes from within.
Over the last couple years we have heard a lot about the automotive path to purchase which according to the word on the street now means digital and in many cases only digital even though most major automotive brands are still using print, radio, TV, Magazines etc. Well for those of you who believe that path is 100 per cent a digital path nothing could be further from the truth. Not only does print continue to play a role in the path to purchase it continues to have a major impact.
A recent Brand Spark survey completed for Metroland consumers were asked when planning for an automotive purchase what sources of information do they reference to best prepare for a purchase. 36 per cent of respondents said they used printed flyers and 21 per cent said their Metroland community newspaper. This says 57 per cent use print to prepare for an automotive purchase. Another Metroland study “Pulse” which is their 3rd party intent to purchase over the next 12 months study with over 5000 respondents also supports the automotive path to purchase for the newspaper industry. Pulse tracks automotive intent to spend data on everything from service to new car sales. New car sales alone within the Metroland network show a $20 billion spend over the next 12 months. Remember this survey was completed on the Metroland network so it shows the dollars available using Metroland newspapers. A Newspapers Canada study by Totum in 2016 researching automotive path to purchase over the past 2 years also supports print. Their study showed that 7 out of 10 new car buyers are reading automotive ads in printed newspapers. Lastly a recent study by IPSOS “Connecting for action report” focusing on direct mail showed that impact on digital advertising is much greater when combined with direct mail. One highlight I took from that study was that arousal was 26 per cent higher when direct mail followed digital display.
There are many studies out there that support print advertising in terms of impact for automotive path to purchase so if you are skeptical do some research. If you want to sit down and review Metroland’s Pulse, Brand spark or the Newspapers Canada study I would be happy to share and discuss that data in further detail.
We have all heard about how entrepreneurial the top digital organizations are such as Google, Facebook, Amazon and the list goes on and on. These companies encourage their employees to come up with new ideas, show innovation and be entrepreneurial all while working in a corporate environment. This is after all how these companies have taken over the advertising and marketing world by consistently reinventing themselves along with innovation. So why is it that traditional media advertising doesn’t follow this model? And when I say follow the model I mean be more entrepreneurial.
I for one see myself as an entrepreneur working for a corporation. I did after all start up my own company (FlyerMail) and sell it to Metroland in 2012 less than 3 years after its launch. I like to move quickly in a fast paced environment. You could say I am always on with a brain that is always thinking of a better way to do things. As an entrepreneur I like to think I can always find a solution regardless of the current challenge I am facing. I have taken this approach my whole career whether it’s the company I work for or the company I’m running.
For much of the corporate world from what I have seen we tend to look for corporate experience, experience managing people, experience with a similar product or service, you know all of that stuff we can easily put in a box and pass it around the company. In a nutshell I am talking about those skills that we can teach. The message this sends is that we are happy with the status quo. In the traditional media advertising biz nothing could be further from the truth. We do need to get better, we need to find innovative solutions so we can compete with the Google’s of the world well at least eat into media buys which they are getting a huge chunk. To do this we need to think outside the box, bring new ideas to the table, do things differently, think advertising 24/7, devote at least 1 hour per week to new product development ideas, find the most skilled/driven/passionate staff, come up with efficient systems, and most importantly be more entrepreneurial. What I would love to see is my industry follow the lead of Google and Facebook and hire more Entrepreneurs, let them free and watch the positive impact this has on the traditional advertising industry.
After 6 months learning the corporate sales ropes at Metroland and leaving the office for presentations I started to think to myself that there has to be other ways to increase revenue beyond general presentations. Sales do happen once relationships are established via email and phone and even social media with the emergence of digital but for those of us who sell traditional media we have seen traditional dollars shrink with increased digital spends. With these challenges come increased reporting, more attention on analytics, intelligence and focus on high impact presentations as the higher ups are watching the dollars all while paying more attention to the sales cycle. To add to this at corporate sales we have account lists in the millions with major service responsibilities so it is not always easy to get out of the office which I refer to as “doing my job”. If we do stay put and are primarily only servicing our current business we run the risk of not capturing the all-important NEW business including digital opportunities. In my humble opinion the best way we to make the gains we need is to get out of the office and make things happen.
I have been told the corporate sales cycle is different than what we see in the local markets I came from. But is it really that different?? I don’t believe my new life is that different and I will explain why. In the corporate environment each account has many moving parts dealing with agencies and in some cases direct. Step 1 for me was to set out to get a handle on each moving part for each account. No I am not doing this strictly by emailing my agency contact I am devoting 1-2 days per week of my precious time dropping in on the agencies with some old fashioned discovery at play. In some cases this means dropping in unannounced. But the agencies are too busy for that type of attention right? Not according to my early findings. I’m not saying they aren’t busy but I am getting the audience I need to do the discovery. What I am finding is I am ending up in boardrooms pitching planning teams, making key contacts at all levels, making my way around the agencies learning more about the structure and even getting the ear of the president. I am uncovering new opportunities and maybe even more importantly when I need a meeting I get it. And those that know me know that’s when I truly shine. I am establishing right relationships with the right people and get plenty of one on one time to sell my ideas before getting an official meeting with the respective planning teams.
From my experience there are many internal teams working on multiple opportunities and the best way to uncover these is to get out there and make your way around the agency. Don’t get me wrong I’m not against the general presentations and do them often but overall there will be additional sales opportunities uncovered doing regular discovery which also means you will be putting the right information in your decks while establishing key relationships. The challenges we face can be overcome but we need to change our approach.
By now it is no secret that Black Friday has turned into a major retail event for Canadians. We may not have caught up to our neighbors to the north yet but it is definitely a growing phenomenon. This year 19.3 million Canadians plan to shop on Black Friday/Cyber Monday with an expected spend of 10.3 billion dollars. Metroland has the perfect audience to advertise your brands with 170+ community and daily newspapers across Ontario. We also have numerous digital platforms not only in our newspaper markets but also province wide as well as national verticals and platforms like Save.ca and WagJag. Then there are the 3 million opt in emails, mobile geofencing (can include the US), tie in behavioral targeting, a content marketing campaign, takeovers on our community network and national sites, and of course impressions on any of the verticals.
To summarize our audience Metroland print products (Mostly newspapers) deliver to over 3.7 million households in Ontario, our digital audience (our own websites including 39 community sites) has about 9 million monthly unique visitors (imagine the impact of branded content) and as I mentioned 3 million opt in emails via Save.ca, WagJag and Travel Alerts. We also have over 30,000 of Canada’s leading websites (roughly 90 percent of the top sites in Canada) as part of our ad exchange if you want to run geofencing or behavioral targeting campaigns. Not to forget automotive we have 2 of Canada’s leading automotive sites in our arsenal Wheels.ca and Autocatch.
Now comes the fun part. If you book a Black Friday/Cyber Monday campaign we have some super deals. We will craft a digital package for you at 25 per cent off our rate card rates. If you book a holiday campaign in our newspapers as long as you buy a Black Friday ad we will give you a future ad of the same size in the same market at no charge as long as you run within a 6 week window. Keep in mind this is a corporate sales promotion as opposed to a local one. Simply get in touch if you want me to put together a proposal for your company or client.
If you haven’t been to Save.ca lately you need to check it out as you will find that the user experience is greatly improved. The experience is simply much more user friendly. The majority of the flyers are now fully tagged which allows the user to create shopping lists, find the store closest to their location, share favorite deals socially (I do this daily), add the retailer to favorites lists and click through to the company website. Download the app and you can scan your favorite loyalty cards, redeem coupons through the cash back feature, find stores using your phones GPS signal and it gets better. Check out the new deals section, read the articles to improve your shopping experience and even step up your game in the kitchen by watching one of our how to recipe videos. If partying is more your thing join the next Twitter party which are always among the top trending events on Twitter. Of course there is more so it’s time to check it out.
What does this mean for our advertisers?
Replacing the flat rate model we once had we will put your company on a cost per view (CPV). How this works is we agree on a budget for each flyer campaign and it is up to Save to hit that budget on a CPV basis. This encourages a relationship between Save and the advertiser to grow together and it is up to us to deliver the audience we agree to at the start of the campaign. Once we show a high ROI we know if we can increase the flyer views the advertiser will see the added value with the increased investment. This is our standard flyer view opportunity. Now comes the fun part! The flyer tagging allows us to share metrics well beyond flyer views, page views and impressions. We are able to share product information such as which flyer items are being clicked on most frequently, click thrus to the company website, total items added to shopping lists and total dollar value added to these lists. This is valuable information which can help with planning of future flyers in terms of products but it also shows the likely ROI as we know these shopping lists are being used for the consumer’s next shopping trip. In order to maximize the traffic we will also include your flyer with a save.ca e-blast to our 1 million subscribers coast to coast. This isn’t even close to everything the site has to offer but since I like to keep my blogs to 500 words or less this is all you are going to get for this one. You will just have to set up a meeting to discuss your next flyer, deal or coupon campaign and I will knock your socks off with the all new Save.ca.