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The Last Frontier – or is it?

Today’s guest blogger, Paul Plant of Radicle Consulting has over 30 years of experience in directive media and advertising.  He launched Radicle Consulting in March 2010, and has acquired a diverse client portfolio, which he advises on all aspects of organizational and transformational change. He previously spent almost 20 years in senior management at Yell Group, in key marketing, sales and strategic operational positions in both the U.K. and U.S.

I had some thoughts regarding Neg Norton’s recent blog post, The Last Frontier: The Sales Call.  It cannot be argued that the local media solutions marketplace is increasingly being commoditised by an influx of new competitive media properties, each offering a suite of solutions that, to all intents and purposes, are very similar.

It is therefore hardly surprising that many industry commentators and observers view the sales call as one of the key points in the relationship between the media provider and the SMB where some degree of differentiation can be achieved. Neg Norton describes it as “The Last Frontier”.

For large numbers of traditional media players, the relationship between the salesperson and the SMB is the last frontier. In fact, for many it is the only remaining frontier. But why? It is because the vast majority of traditional publishers have almost given up on the consumer – the end user.

Significantly reduced investment in core product development, accompanied by a lack of advertising and promotional spend on core brands has seen a widescale erosion of proprietary print and new media brands and product solutions. This has allowed the likes of Google and others to lay claim to the lion’s share of modern-day consumer usage.

One publisher has consistently bucked the trend, and has equally stayed relentlessly true to the principle that the virtuous circle remains at the heart of the core media publisher business model. The governing principle that “content drives usage drives revenue” is the central strategic pillar of the Solocal (formerly PagesJaunes) business mantra.

Solocal retains high levels of both consumer and SMB customer loyalty, achieved through no less than seventeen different proprietary media brands and channels. New digital channels comprise almost 60% of Solocal’s €1.1bn revenues, driving an overall EBITDA margin of c.45%.

You can learn more about how Solocal bucked the trend, and how they continue to compete successfully on multiple frontiers, when their President & CEO Jean-Pierre Remy addresses the forthcoming Local Search Association annual conference in Las Vegas.

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