The ever-iconoclastic Mark Cuban has a terrific post suggesting that newspapers and other locally focused media revamp themselves to offer their advertisers a broad array of advertising choices—not just newspaper ads, but help with Google AdSense and other emerging forms of advertising.
He's absolutely right. The local media companies have the feet on the street and the relationships with local advertisers; why not cut deals with companies that might otherwise appear to be competitors and sell their offerings to your advertisers too?
This is exactly the kind of out-of-the-box thinking that newspapers, broadcasters and others serving local advertisers should be doing. Stop thinking of yourself as being in the newspaper business, or the TV business, or the Yellow Pages business, and start thinking about being in the local advertising business. Viewed through that prism, the possibilities are endless.
As Cuban says:
Just as Google arbitraged its selling ability between its ability to monetize traffic and AOL and Myspace, why not use your sales force to arbitrage the ability of your salesforce to sell locally and all the Google Adsense/Yahoo/MSN networks to sell locally?
You are already selling display and classified ads for the paper, or commercials for your TV station, why not expand that effort to include Search Engine Marketing? Why not hook up with a local SEM expert and make that a service that you offer to your customers? There is very little chance the local Pizza chain or Body Repair shop knows how to use SEM correctly and those that try more often than not waste a ton of money trying to figure it out. Why not offer it up as a service, even if they don't buy ads for your newspaper or TV station? In other words, you put yourself in the position to become the dominant force for local advertising in your markets, NO MATTER WHAT PLATFORM those ads appear on.