Tag: classifieds

Driving Customer Confidence in AutoTrader.com

Safe and Simple Communications Drive       Privatis_logo_with_tagline
Consumer Confidence in AutoTrader.com

Online scammers and aggressive telemarketers continue to refine their methods for culling personal information from online classified sites. Exposed personal contact information is gathered and used for lead generation, where thousands of automated calls be made for just a few cents. These sophisticated attacks are now moving into phishing schemes, reaching consumer through SMS and working to undermine the communications that are the backbone of interactions on classifieds. The robocall problem is now grabbing headlines as the source of the top consumer complaint in the U.S. Many online classified sites are still exposing personal contact information as consumer fatigue grows and governments feel the pressure to react.

Privatis_Privacy_Shield_AutoTrader_screensIn response to customer demand that email addresses and personal phone numbers be removed from private seller ads, AutoTrader.com added personal privacy protections that support simple communications between sellers and buyers to increase user satisfaction and enhance confidence in the site.

In nine months in 2013, Privacy Shield ™ realized the following results:

  •  198,000 emails handled
  • 1.06 million calls processed
  • 616,000 illegitimate calls blocked

For more on Privacy Shield™ and its personal protection features that have been shown to repel the nuisance calls that can make up 50 per cent of all calls to online classified ad users:

Download the Presentation Deck
Watch the webinar recording on YouTube
Download the case study, “Shielding Personal Information and Blocking Online Threats to Increase Consumer Trust”
Contact Jay Innes (jinnes@privatis.com), Director, Business Development
or speak with CEO Steven McAuley at our upcoming Prague conference!

This blog post was written in cooperation with Privatis Technology Corporation

My ICMA Conference Story


Lenka Černá, CEO of ANNONCE and ICMA Board Member

Last August I was appointed CEO of ANNONCE , the only nation-wide Czech classified dedicated to providing and facilitating trade and services (both on and offline) to its customers. ANNONCE was established in March 1990 as a print medium, going digital in 1997, with 300,000 registered users and 350,000 unique users per month.

As I settled into my job, I was, as you can imagine, very excited. One of the first things on my list was to restore our organisation’s membership with ICMA.

Soon after re-joining, I attended the ICMA SoLoMo Istanbul Conference  in November 2012, where I was very pleasantly surprised by the friendly atmosphere amongst both the delegates and vendor exhibitors. I was especially impressed with the ‘Sharing Best Practice’ sessions, where attendees worked together to share successes, failures, and (as the title states) best practice within their respective companies. We also tackled the numbers behind it all, and were able to ask our colleagues in the field HOW and WHY they were able to achieve them. Considering many of the participants were direct competitors, this transparency was especially unique!

At the ‘Business Leaders Forum’, I was seated amongst top managers who openly and objectively discussed the problems occurring in our trade. We also debated the future of the industry, the direction of advertising media, and the risks that come with running our particular types of organisations. The knowledge and insights I gained there, as well as the contacts I made within the industry, were immeasurable.

And it just kept getting better! The following conference took place in Cologne in April of this year, (‘Marketplace Innovations‘), with speakers representing Schibsted, Sanoma, Immobilien Scout GmbH, and Amazon, to name a few. The ICMA Spring conference also brought the best in classifieds innovations to the forefront, with the annual ‘ICMA Classified Media Innovation Awards’,  presented in partnership with Vabimu.

I’m thrilled that the upcoming ‘Expanding Beyond Classifieds’ conference (13-16 November) will be taking place in my hometown of Prague. It’s going to be another fruitful week of information sharing, inspiration, and great speakers. And I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the social side of it all. I’m really looking forward to the after-hours activities as well, when I can show off this beautiful city to my fellow-delegates. But most of all, I look forward to our 3 ½ days together, because these are tough times for our industry, and friendships between managers and competitors are incredibly valuable and, unfortunately, increasingly scarce.

But don’t take my word for it;  register now and find out why I’m so proud to be a part of this great organisation!

Lenka Černá

How to sell more print advertising…

For any media owners who face the challenge of selling digital alongside an existing media, print in my case, the best approach is often debated.  Should it be separate, should it be packaged, how much time do I dedicate to it?  All questions with various pros and cons before you answer.

Media sales people who sell both print and online media often dominate their client conversations talking about print. It is an incumbent offer, most likely worth more money, and therefore to focus on the print seems like the fastest way to meet a target…or is it?

In search of more radical but carefully considered options, I believe the opposite outcome could be likely. Focusing or at least beginning with print can lead to lower or less significant print sales. Here are a few reasons why:

Digital is not ‘new’ to anyone anymore.  The pace and amount of change means most recent evolutions may indeed be ‘new’ but on the whole clients would rather talk about digital options than talk about print. It is sexier and grabs all the headlines, not just in advertising or media trade press, but in everyday life. QR codes and AR technology regularly feature in consumer magazines, TV shows regularly feature hash tags to generate social buzz during air time. Your favourite musicians or bands probably release their material on VEVO or Youtube much sooner than on the radio. Digital media is more interesting for all people, and our clients are people too.  Small businesses or not, they understand!

However, when dealing with smaller and mid-sized clients there is a very real opportunity to educate them and take this knowledge further.  They might know about social media and have their own Facebook or Twitter account, but do they know how to use it commercially? They know you can advertise on websites, but do they know how to target more specific channels, pages or locations of user?  If you can help them understand the chaos that is digital media today, who is the hero? These clients are not represented by agencies, they don’t have dedicated experts who keep up with the changing digital marketplace. If you keep up, you can be of real service to them.

Finally, digital advertising removes the most frustrating post advertising sentence of all time:  “It didn’t work” or “I didn’t get a response.”  One of the most significant reasons why momentum has so quickly moved to all forms of digital advertising is the qualified value, particularly in times of recession.  Digital media is more easily accountable than print because of post campaign analytics. The ability to talk through these results together with your clients and actually pinpoint the difference you have made in their business is a significant development.  At this point a detailed conversation about further improvements to their business should be the outcome.

The same rules will always apply, you first need to establish the need and remain focused on where the client’s interests are,  otherwise you have still missed the chance to use the information above.  However, get this part right- as all great salespeople do- and you will simply have a better conversation and begin to forge a stronger relationship.

So be brave, talk about digital options first.  It might be less money now, but the rewards are far greater.  When you become more valuable to your clients, find out more about their needs, you will undoubtedly uncover far more opportunities.  Anyone who has been in this industry for a while will know that once trust is developed, you can begin to achieve great things.  That is when you can introduce potentially more lucrative print options back into their budget.

So, sell more print advertising by pitching what captures your clients’ interest.  Digital.



Trends #1: classified verticals internationally

After discussing trends in classifieds with several ICMA members around the world this month, I heard many themes come up but the most prevalent was verticals – anywhere from identifying online communities, to speaking with specific target market demographics, and executing niche classified strategies.  So what better subject to discuss in my first ICMA blog post (of many, I hope!)?

Looking at the big picture, large companies like Adicio working with ImpreMedia, are working on expanding and refining  job & career categories – then onto autos and real estate most likely.   But with international multi-language powerhouses like that casting a big shadow, where does the little guy stand?  Are they paving the way for us, or more likely are we experimenting with multiple verticals as we ‘run fast with scissors’ (if this is lost in translation, in Canada we have a saying ‘don’t run with scissors’ , meaning ‘Be Careful!’ which smaller companies at risk of being squashed by biggies don’t have the luxury)?  I digress.

We have the ability to adapt and speak to our customers in a way that a big conglomerate simply cannot.  I doubt craigslist or Schibsted sits down with customers every week the way companies like Recycler.com or IPC Classified can.  Biggies (have I just coined a term?) may do surveys and hire big swanky advertising companies but does the executive at the top level really know how to describe someone in their niche market obsessed with the ‘specialty vehicle’ or ‘electric guitar’ categories like we can?   These larger companies should be scared of us; we’re moving quickly in a big industry, an industry that has shown us over the last 5 years that there is plenty of room for more players, whether it’s moving online or maybe the next iteration will be mobile, tablets, and retinal scans with micro-dermic insert-really-big-word-here ‘big data’ segment classification?  I’m no scientist, but you get the idea.  The trend these days is move quickly or die.  And most members of ICMA are doing this – are the biggies?

Future ICMA Trends blog topics (monthly):
:: For employers posting on their own websites instead of us, how can we convince them to convert or at least try both?  Or do we content scrap?  Or maybe go social instead of partnerships.
:: The world is already becoming social, mobile, and online-all-the-time.  What are classifieds doing to stay ahead of the trend around the globe?
:: If classifieds were available ONLY on smart phones in 5 years what do we have to start doing TODAY?

Written by: Charlotte Cowley of UsedEverywhere.com, in Canada

ICMA Rising Star profile