DMS ’09: Cummings Stresses Trust and Data to Win Over Advertisers
Marquette Group CEO Chris Cummings gave a familiar call for industry change today at DMS. He stressed the need to communicate value to advertisers through data toward the end of instilling trust.
“In the end our advertisers will gravitate towards the product that they trust,” he said. “Our responsibility is to prove how accountable we are to drive value to our advertisers.”
The rules have changed, he said, and the industry finds itself in the unfamiliar position of not being in the driver seat. That position has been taken over by the user. And if you can’t beat ’em join ’em.
“Consumers have the control and we have to provide what is right for them. What is the best locally oriented information to make decisions,” he said. “One thing is clear, tough times will determine who has the fortitude to look to new models.”
Among other things, this will mean leaner and meaner sales staffs, he said. And despite the losses and PR hits the industry has taken, it’s this sales force that stands among a unique and underrated set of assets. Realizing and shifting the emphasis of the business toward those assets will be a survival imperative
“There are lots of people out there, including Google, that would kill to have this data and this access,” he said.
Update: From the Q&A session (Cummings on CMRs): “The job in 1979 was to make chicken manure into chicken salad. Today that job is to provide demonstrable value to every advertiser…because you are now dealing with metrics.”
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It seems like over-delivery to foreclosed properties and to people who no longer use directories has to hurting the industry’s trust with advertisers. Print yellow pages advertising only works if the books make it into homes and are used.