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With countless marketing channels to choose from—and new options popping up every day—local business owners are overwhelmed. They’re hungry for guidance from a marketing expert they can depend on: someone who is familiar with their community, is willing to listen to their needs, and can provide reliable customer service.

That seems pretty reasonable, but so far it's proven to be a tall order.

For years, local businesses have been the target of shady sales tactics and false promises from digital service providers. Typically, this snake oil comes from remote providers who have zero knowledge about the business’s local market and zero interest in their actual goals or needs.

As local marketing expert Mike Blumenthal told Street Fight Mag, sales reps are quick to take advantage of small business owners’ digital marketing naïveté, and "stories of frustration and ill-spent money” are common among local advertisers.

The problem has gotten so bad, in fact, the LSA even developed a certification program in an effort to help small business owners identify ethical providers.

Well, the business owners have had enough.

“Local advertisers are on the verge of revolt,” Gordon Borrell told TVNewsCheck.

Can you blame them?

With skepticism at an all-time high, the local newspaper’s trustworthy reputation is worth more than gold.Many legacy news organizations already encourage their ad sales teams to use brand trust as a differentiator and focus on building real relationships with the customers they serve. 

Gatehouse Media, for example, trains their local reps to learn about the businesses they’re calling on before picking up the phone. “Being the smartest sales rep out there, knowing the most about your clients, goes a long way,” Alain Begun, VP of Marketing at Gatehouse, told us in this episode of the Local Media Executive podcast.

Are your sales teams following suit?

 

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