Small Business Marketing News Update - Chief Meteorologist Points Out 121 Financial Credit Union For Protection

121 Financial Credit Union recently relocated its Mandarin branch in Jacksonville, Florida. For the ribbon cutting ceremony, officials at 121 Financial invited celebrity John Gaughan, WJXT-TV’s chief meteorologist, who decided to use a 121 Financial umbrella for protection. At the time, Hurricane Isaac was headed toward Florida. 

Small Business Marketing News Update - Reporters Conspire To Trip Up Romney At Jacksonville, Florida News Conference

Whether you’re a small business owner, just an individual trying to find out the latest news, or even if you’re involved in politics, you would hope that the news you get from the media, especially the national media, would have some semblance of truth and honesty.

Well, that didn’t happen at a major news conference today in the Mandarin neighborhood of Jacksonville, Florida.

Before Governor Romney delivered his message regarding the situation in the Middle East, national reporters were caught on an open microphone, conspiring with each other on how to trip up the presidential candidate.

According to TheRightScoop.com website, which has the transcript of the conversation and the recording online, a CBS News reporterthey identify as Nancy Cordes was talking with other reporters, coordinating questions to ask Romney, with one saying “no matter who he calls on, we’re covered on the one question.”

With such blatant abuse of journalism as this, is there any wonder that a small business owner shudders when someone from the news media knocks on their door? Who knows if that reporter has a hidden agenda or is just trying to make a name for him or herself?

The only explanation in this specific case is that the site of today’s new conference is located next door to a reptile pet store, namedBlazin Reptiles. These reporters must have slithered from next door to the Romney presser to make a brazen decision to manipulate the news to meet their own agenda. Shame on the national media!

Below is the transcript of the open mic as seen on TheRightScoop.com.

Unidentified Reporter: … pointing out that Republicans… unintelligible… Obama…

CBS Reporter: That’s the question.

Unidentified Reporter: …unintelligible…

CBS Reporter: Yeah, that’s the question. I would just say do you regret your question.

Unidentified Reporter: Your question? Your statement?

CBS Reporter: I mean your statement. Not even the tone, because then he can go off on…

Unidentified Report: And then if he does, if we can just follow up and say ‘but this morning your answer is continuing to sound…’ becomes unintelligible

CBS Reporter: You can’t say that…


CBS Reporter: I’m just trying to make sure that we’re just talking about, no matter who he calls on we’re covered on the one question.

Unidentified Reporter: Do you stand by your statement or regret your statement?

Small Business Marketing News Update - Is Yellow Pages Advertising Worth The Investment For Jacksonville Businesses?

It might be obvious that the use of Yellow Pages advertising is diminishing but there are some companies in Northeast Florida who are still uncertain about the value of directories.

One Jacksonville company currently using a “page stealer” ad has determined after a year that they will downsize their ad to a business card size. On the other side, another company has decided to increase their ad size, thinking that their ad would be more dominant because of the current lack of competitors’ ads.

After reviewing data from several sources, here are some prospectives from a fact-check site, a marketing analytics consultant and a former Yellow Pages ad salesman.

First, some facts according to a Hubspot Webinar:

  • Since 2007, many states have quit printing residential listing or have pending requests to stop publication. These states include Florida and Georgia.
  • Traditional landlines are being disconnected at a rate of nearly 10% each year.
  • Consumers are increasingly considering online services before Yellow Pages to make their purchasing decisions.
  • Yellow Pages usage among people under 50 will drop to near zero over the next five years (according to Bill Gates).
Then there are actual third party or individual measurement programs that can more accurately determine the value of Yellow Pages advertising.

Ben Landers is president and CEO of Blue Corona, a marketing analytics and optimization company. As a former vice president of sales and marketing for a bottled water company named DrinkMore Water, he experienced first hand the measurement of that company’s Yellow Pages program.

Originally his company tracked their ads by running different phone numbers in each of the 10 directories they used throughout their market. Then he instituted a more sophisticated web-based software platform to not only track calls but to determine how many calls resulted in actual sales.

Landers’ system found that the number of people using Yellow Pages to find his company was decreasing faster than they realized. In addition, he found that most of the calls were not from prospective customers or current customers ready to buy, but were from automated campaign dialers(robots) and other sales reps.

In 2008, DrinkMore Water pulled out of the Yellow Pages because sales did not justify the cost. For the record, from January 1, 2008 to September 30, 2008, DrinkMore Water received a total of 54 calls from the directory. Only 16 of these calls were made by prospective customers. And only five of those resulted in sales. 

Landers further found that Yellow Pages’ leads are least likely to have a credit card for residential billing; most likely to haggle on price; and pay little attention to quality or to the value of customer service. He concluded that prospects from the Yellow Pages were of very low quality compared to other marketing channels.

Denny Smith, formerly with the Yellow Pages for 25 years, reveals his conclusions in an article called “Confessions of a Former Yellow Page Salesman” that was posted originally on SEO Articles, then reported on EffectiveWebSolutions.Biz/Blog. 

In 1984, he didn’t think the Internet would be a threat. He argued at that time that you could include coupons in your print ad, and it took longer to look up a source online than it did to look through a printed directory. But things changed quickly.

With features like keyword searches; unlimited search in any market (while only regional information is available in printed editions); easy and quick updating of ads; inclusion of updated coupons; the addition of mapsand directions; and access from mobile devices; he thinks the printed book will become “the next extinct species.”

Smith speculates that perhaps a 60% plus price reduction for Yellow Pages ads could keep them going for now. But at best the dwindling usage will require them to offer totally free ads within three more years.

In a post by Magdalena Georgieva on blog.Hubspot.com., certain industries already left the Yellow Pages world, while some are still getting results. She cites the travel and catering industries as being some of the first to go to the Internet, led by Priceline.com and TripAdvisor, which have replaced many local travel agencies.

Then she reports that service industries are the ones still hanging on to directories. She mentions specifically that plumbers and contractors are predominant in the Yellow Pages because searches for those types of local companies are limited. However, even that is rapidly changing with online reviews from sites such as Angie’s List.

Like so much of our lives, including marketing, things we grew up with are changing or going away. And that includes the printed Yellow Pages. 


How Important Are B2B Appointment Setters For Your Business?

B2B appointment setters are seldom considered a necessary expense in improving business operations; however, hiring professional b2b appointment setters will be of great help to your sales and marketing departments. With plenty of fraudulent service providers on the web, it’s understandable why a lot of business owners would rather have their marketing people do everything instead of outsourcing this operation to a third party. But not all BPO companies are the same, and a quick research on Google would immediately give you a list of reliable b2b appointment setters. The difficult part is looking for a good appointment setting company that has experience with your particular industry.

When you rely only on your lead generation experts to set all the business appointments for your sales representatives, you will inevitably be sacrificing the quality of your lead generation marketing campaigns. Why? Because creating an effective campaign requires analysis, research, and a lot of A/B testing. All these tasks need a lot of attention and concentration by themselves, but if your marketing people also need to do all the cold calling and haggling with the gatekeepers, then something is definitely bound to give.

When doing appointment setting, no other method of communication is better than telemarketing. If you have a team of adequately trained b2b telemarketers, then you can have your own appointment setters. However, if you don’t have any, then don’t just pull an on-the-job trainee to do this for you. It’s a common mistake of businesses to drop every undesirable task they have on their trainees, and this never leads to anything good. You have to remember that when you are dealing with either your b2b sales leads or clients, you have to put your best people forward. This means you have to not only have capable telemarketers handling your appointment setting campaigns, you need to have experienced professional appointment setters setting up schedules with all your qualified business sales leads.

Your sales people can also be your appointment setters, although they shouldn’t ideally be. Why is this? Think about the most important tip when dealing with gatekeepers: do not sell to them. Most sales persons can’t help but go into sales mode when dealing with a particularly stubborn gatekeeper. This, of course, would compel the gatekeeper to further reject any attempts at getting an appointment. While you may have really good sales representatives who are well capable of dealing efficiently with gatekeepers, which would you rather have: let them heckle gatekeepers all day or let them use their superb negotiating skills on the decision makers and close the sale?

You can appoint random members of your sales and marketing teams to do your appointments setting campaign and it won’t necessarily ruin your business. But if you do so, you will miss out on a lot of potential opportunities had you allowed your employees to do what they were trained to do; that is, let your sales people close sales and your lead generation exports to come up with effective lead generation strategies.

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