The Local Presence Service Enablement for Agencies Interviews – Part I.

Exploring Listings Management Options for Agencies & Their Brands with Local Market Launch
Vice President, Sales – Jeff Hoyer & Local Market Launch CTO – Travis Purdy

Part I. The Big Picture
In this two part series we discuss how agencies can add local listings management as an additional service for their clients to build a greater relationship with their client, drive better ROI and fulfill a foundational and critical piece of a complete digital media strategy.  In Part I, we look at the big picture.  We sat down with Local Market Launch Vice President, Sales – Jeff Hoyer to discuss why agencies need local listings management and why they are choosing Local Market Launch as their partner.

Q: Can you tell me a little bit about you background working with and for agencies?

I spent twenty years in the yellow pages industry prior to coming to Local Market Launch. Fifteen of the twenty years I was with an ad agency in New York, TMP Worldwide; however, you probably know them better as Monster.com. I was tasked with bringing Monster into Australia – that was a great experience. I love the ad agency space. I think it’s dynamic. There is such an abundance of new products today that weren’t available to agencies and brands even ten years ago. We all enjoy watching Mad Men and seeing how advertising was so much simpler with three networks, radio and print. Today fragmentation is more complicated, but continues to offer new opportunities for agencies that are innovative and have foresight into how best to leverage the new platforms.

Q: Many agencies are working on big accounts with big budgets. Can you tell me about the Local Market Launch approach and how you can help agencies with brand sensitive clients?

Jeff: To understand our approach is really to understand our culture. It starts at the top with our CEO Brian Coryat. Brian was the founder of ValueClick Media and one of the early online advertising pioneers. We are an innovative startup, but with a very experienced team with a mature and thoughtful ROI-centric approach. We’re not just a couple of programmers who started a company right out of college. Brian wants to be the best, he doesn’t settle for anything but the best work, the best technology, the best client experience, and in turn we as a team believe that we can bring that thinking and execution on behalf of agencies to major brands. This has led agencies to put a lot of trust in us to help them deliver excellence to their clients. We have built an agency portal that we can white label, where an agency can just touch it once for a client and we take it from there. We build out the reporting, we send the location data off to syndication, we begin the process of claiming the client identities across all the major search engines, all with one touch from an agency. We have streamlined what is involved on the agency side of the desk and give them the confidence to know that we are doing the right thing in the best way possible in a timely fashion and execute as their proxy on behalf of their client.

Q: Why should agencies be thinking about local presence solutions for their brand clients?

Jeff: There are really two camps with agencies. Agencies have tried to do some of what we do before for their clients and are trying to decide if they should build or outsource. Most agencies considering a build-or-buy decision find that we are the most cost effective and outsourcing the process to us gives them a forecastable expense line, they love that. And there are other agencies who haven’t done this yet for the brands that they represent. As we approach agencies we really try to learn about their previous efforts, and if they’ve had previous efforts, what has been some of their pain points. We know many of the pain points and know our solution can help to alleviate that and quickly bring about success for the client when it comes to local search. Big picture, what we are doing is connecting buyers and sellers via the internet. We know that on two-thirds of all searches people are clicking on the organic results so it’s a question of whether the brand that the agency is representing is found when a consumer is searching “product, city, state.” Fifty percent of the time a customer already knows who they want to do business with and fifty percent they don’t. This is a fact that was well known in the print days and has carried over to the internet because it’s rooted in human behavior. There are people who don’t know who to call, maybe they are looking for a new lawn mower and they would type in “lawn mower dealer” or “lawnmower, city, state” and they are served up a very short list now from Google. There’s only a key three. The “Google 7 Pack” recently changed to a “Google 3 Pack” so it’s become increasingly important to take control of the business identity at the local level to not only claim a profile of information but make sure it’s full of rich content about the business, the brands being carried, the hours of operation, images, links, etcetera … because all of those things work in harmony with Google and other search engine search results. For many manufacturing brands they are connected to the consumer through the outlet, and optimizing this is what we specialize in.

The Previous Google 7 Pack vs. the Current Google 3 Pack

Google7PackVGoogle3Pack

Image Credit (Hall, 2013)

You can try this yourself, type “lawnmower, city, state” into a search engine. There are probably a dozen major manufacturers and for the most part you will find that they are not being well represented in search results. And you can do this category by category and look it up, appliances for instance, I’m looking for “washing machine, city, state.” What comes up? Is it GE? Is it Maytag? Is it LG? You can think about the major brands that are out there and at this point the major brands are underrepresented across the internet when it comes to finding them locally. You may find the retailers, Home Depot, Lowes … but if they are not publishing the brand information in their local listings then the brands don’t get connected to those stores in search results organically. Having an impact there can be difficult to understand for a brand or agency, but it’s what we do, what we specialize in. We want to be very, very good in the space we are in and part of being good today is staying on top of change. At Local Market Launch, we are abreast of all the changes at the major search engines and the best practices of SEO and how those changes relate to local search and local business listings management. We pride ourselves on that. We believe we are a significant thought leader in this space and we strive to continue being the best choice for agencies looking to offer listings management to clients.

Q: Are agencies starting to recognize the importance of local listings and building that into the media budgets for their clients?

Jeff: Certain agencies are and I think an important point to be made is if you are with an agency you probably realize there are other agencies calling on your client every day offering solutions like ours, so typically if you’re not addressing local listings management in your digital media plan for your client, so one else is going to. This space is still wide open, only fifteen to twenty percent of all businesses nationally have claimed their identity on Google. At some point someone is going to do that for your client. If you are working with a large retailer, or a large insurance company, a large banking concern, etcetera, you can bet that they have the need for local listings management and in turn someone is going to be knocking on their door with a solution like ours.

Q: Are you finding that in addition to staying competitive, agencies have discovered that adding local listings management into their mix of services is incremental to revenue?

Jeff: It is, but I also think it is foundational to all things digital. When I talk to principals at agencies I try to relate this back to their own personal experience with local search. What happens when you are in the car and your significant other asks you to bring home dinner. You search for a location to stop and pick something up, you get there and they’ve moved or they closed three months ago. It’s very frustrating. When a brand disappoints the customer at the local level like that two things happen: you alienate the brand with the consumer, and the consumer finds a competitor. Brands spend millions of dollars to build the brand identity and desire for the brand with the consumer. At the end of the day if the consumer can’t find that company locally they’ll go somewhere else. So you’ve spent the money to drive someone to the door of your competitor.

Q: Tell me about how agencies are working with Local Market Launch.

Jeff: A strategic advantage we can offer agencies is to give them a product that is very transparent, accurate and visual in its reporting. It’s something that doesn’t appear too complicated to see and explain, that can be shown on a micro level, location by location, that can roll up into regions, divisions, zones, and provide reporting in the way the client is structured internally and provide and present the value to the client for the investment they have made at the agency. Agencies like that we can white label our platform because it demonstrates that the agency is committed to delivering the client a world-class solution.

Q: If an agency is looking into expanding their client base into a new-for-them vertical, what are some of the things Local Market Launch can offer to help them close the deal?

Jeff: As agencies build out their client base, I think the vertical approach is a great way to go because you build institutional learning within the agency in a vertical that can allow you to define yourself as a category expert along those lines. We have seen early adoption in this space with certain verticals that have a high cost of acquisition for a new client or high client lifetime value. The financial vertical immediately jumped on local listings management. Major US banks were doing this three to four years ago because they understood a banking customer really doesn’t jump around, they understand ATM’s need to be located and easily accessible to provide good service. Same thing with the insurance business. The major insurance companies, the State Farm’s and Allstate’s of the world, deeply understand the value of a new policy holder. Personally, I am a State Farm client, I have been a State Farm client since the eighties, so I’m not sure what they paid to bring me on board but I’m betting it was tremendous ROI. Other verticals where we’ve seen agency specialization in local listings management is tax preparation, multi-location health care providers and, of course, retail and restaurant chains. We have expertise in every vertical where local listings management is critical, so we can really walk an agency through best practices for their client.


Please be sure to check back Thursday 8/27 for Part II.  Tech Talk.

Images Credits

Hall Internet Marketing. (2013, June 07). What is Google Local . Retrieved August 23, 2015, from Hall Internet Marketing: http://www.hallme.com/blog/what-is-google-local-7-pack/

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