Local media companies compete with a gaggle of deep-pocketed national platform companies for ad dollars. But it’s often-times the personal touch from close business relationships that wins the ad buy. It’s all about relationships, sitting down face to face and getting to know their business and goals, a trio of local advertisers said this week at the Borrell Miami conference.
“My company motto is building relationships,” said Brian Farr, Partner with Central Florida-based Farr Contracting. “And I'd rather sit across the table and have lunch with somebody. Don’t take it personally, but taking money away from somebody you don't see face to face is a lot easier than somebody you go to lunch with or see around on a day-to-day basis. That relationship side of advertising is why I'm with who I advertise with.”
After 12 years working in a service-based industry, Patrick Oliverio, CEO of Cincinnati-based Empire Contractors said lead-gen services make it easy to see what you’re getting. “You’re paying a certain dollar amount, you’re going to get X number of leads. That's easy to track,” he said. But the hard lesson Oliverio says he learned is that lead-gen services can cause “bottom racing” by providing leads that are not always “your ideal customer.” During the past four years, Empire Contractors has slowly transitioned away from any type of lead generation and invested the money into brand recognition. The results? “Our average ticket price has gone up $4,000. The number of jobs we've done a year have gone down and revenue has gone up. So you really can't beat that because now the people that are finding us are who we want to have as a customer.”
While working with media partners that understand their goals and needs is crucial, these local advertisers also said they’re open to trying out new products and approaches – as long as it safeguards their brand. “Our model is a little bit different because we're protecting the brand of our health system partners,” said Rachael Fricke, VP of Marketing & Patient Engagement at Premier Health. “We are happy to try anything new but we have to be really strategic on how that will affect them and their brand and we have to be a seamless extension of our health system partner. We cannot embarrass anyone and we have to stay focused on that brand.”
As a contractor in a very competitive market, Farr said he looks for a balance of advertising that builds brand recognition and provides lead generation.
While the two work together, Farr said getting unqualified leads or prospects that aren’t interested in his company’s level of services isn’t helpful. He said he was encouraged to learn at Borrell Miami how granular ad targeting is becoming and how it can help find the ideal customer. “Some different types of advertising can do that and others are more broad based,” Farr said. “I think you need the right combination of both to be successful. And finding that may be tricky.”
The session was moderated by Jessica Reyna, Marketing Director, Kill Your Competition.