Best Agency for SMB’s, Multi-location
Owner: Hearst Media
Key executive: Gregg Walls, VP Reseller Channel
Judges take: Hearst-owned LocalEdge, while “not rushing towards something as fast” as some of the single market agencies, is reaping the results in market share across the company.
“It has taken several years, but they are at the top of the list in conversion of revenues to digital, achieving an overwhelming majority of digital to traditional sales.”
* LMI stories:
Best Digital Agency for SMB's, Single market
Company: Hearst Company
Market: Albany Times Union- Albany, NY
Key executive: Kevin Warren, Digital Advertising Director
Judges take: With 584 live orders for digital services fulfilled by LocalEdge, the Albany Times Union has the most accounts and ins in a dead heat with the Victoria Advocate for highest market penetration of active digital accounts. This company is on our editorial hit-list in 2015. They do many things not only right, but better than the rest.
Best High End Digital Agency, Social & Content marketing
Company: A.H. Belo
Initiative: SpeakEasy- Slingshot
Market: Dallas Morning News - Dallas, TX
Key executive: Mike Orren, President
Judges take: Based on revenue volume and number of high end accounts, SpeakEasy is a top contender in any agency category after just two years. While not a full service agency, it’s brand is exciting; specialties that include content, social and promotions form a unique model that works, and sales are extraodinary.
The partnership of the Dallas Morning News and SlingShot, a local agency, has generated a zero to $3 million home run, with 70 accounts, 11 of which bill more than $15,000 a month.
* LMI story SpeakEasy tops $3 million after 2 years
Best High End Overall Agency
Company: Cox Enterprises
Market: Palm Beach Post - Palm Beach, FL
Population: 5,828,191 (metro)
Key Executive: Alexandra Guth, Digital Services Sales Manager
Judges take: This newspaper-operated agency was founded five years ago around a central idea that a full brainstorming creative team would start off the research for every campaign created. This year the concept evolved into a new name, The IdeaBar, with a great looking website. The agency does not limit sales to high end, but the vast majority of its 100 plus accounts are, including marquee accounts that bill $15,000 a month plus.
* LMI story: How Palm Beach Post opened an in house ad agency
Best New Agency
Agency: Smartreach Digital
Tal Edelstein Brandy Carter
Digital Partner Products Manager Division Sales Manager - Digital Sales
Judges take: Founded in March, 2014 to serve markets as diverse as Seattle and Austin, SmartReach Digital has created a new presence both online and in the markets it supports. "This is an impressive start. The agency site is offering $25,000 in digital services as a leads collection device, has a customer chatline, separate brand and team. Expect great things from this group in 2015.
Best Overall Digital Agency: Victoria Advocate
Agency : Advocate Digital Media
Owner: Advocate Publishing Group
Market: Victoria Advocate - Victoria, TX
Population: 111,163 (metro)
Key executive: Jason Holmes, General Manager
Judges take: This small newspaper consistently outperforms in market share of digital service sales for it’s size. Taken individually, the strategies are sound across the board from its digital service media kit to its 250 small account digital services sales team, a penetration high for companies we looked at. But that's not the end of the story. This group also performs full agency services such as buying other media, that other agencies won't touch. For a tiny market, it's performance has won it this award.
Best Agency Online Media Kit
Company: Capitol Broadcasting
Market: WRAL-TV - Raleigh, NC
Key executive: Missy Geyer, Digital Account Strategist
Judges take: While other media kits had a better design, “for sheer information and practicality, WRAL does a better job.” Not only are all products displayed, but robust blog rolls, schedule of events, testimonial list, and team member profiles. In fact the “slider” email capture form has resulted in 70 new leads in 2014, converted into ten new accounts, and the traffic on the site has increased from several hundred to 2,500 per month.
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