15 Miles Local Marketing


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November 16, 2015 Issue

The Most Powerful Name In Corporate News and Information


Marketing and SEO Consulting Specialist Helping SMBs Improve Lead Generation in their Local Communities



Gregg Stewart

Founder & President


15 Miles Local Marketing



Interview conducted by:

Lynn Fosse, Senior Editor, CEOCFO Magazine, Published – November 16, 2015


CEOCFO: Mr. Stewart, what do you do and why the name 15 Miles Local Marketing?

Mr. Stewart: The reason for the name is that 80% of consumer transactions happen within 15 miles of the home or the office. At its nexus, we are a local search and marketing specialist that helps small to midsized business get better lead generation from the media types that surround them in their local communities.


CEOCFO: In this fast paces world with so much happening online, why is it still that close physical proximity for most transactions?

Mr. Stewart: If you look at it, online media for all of our online sales, what we could call ecommerce, in all if its size and stature, only represents seven percent of retail sales. That means that 93% are happening offline in the local marketplace. That is not to say that they are not digitally influenced because the vast majority are digitally influenced, but consumers by nature still shop in their local market areas. Getting media right if you are a local merchant or SMB is vitally important.

CEOCFO: How do you help?

Mr. Stewart: We take a media agnostic view. The challenge is that most midsized businesses are facing today that in years past had a relationship with perhaps a Yellow Pages publisher, a local radio rep, maybe the newspaper rep, and they could rely on those three relationships to power their business with the number of lead gen or sales leads that would be required to develop their business. Two perfect storm moments happened. Around 2008, we had a dip in the economy, but at the same time that was the tipping point where digital media was going over the top of traditional media. Things like the Yellow Pages now are thoroughly non-relevant and do not have the lead generation properties they once had. Radio still has some but it is diminished somewhat and newspapers have made some similar stories to what happened to Yellow Pages publishers. We have the likes of Google, Yahoo, Bing, and then thousands of other websites that are the lead generation sources that consumers choose to find local businesses. SMB have typically not made that transition very easily.

How do you reach SMBs to explain what and why?

Mr. Stewart: The backbone of the company and myself personally is that I have been in the digital space for 20 years and am somewhat referred to as a ‘digital dinosaur’. I was around the beginning of this with Nynex and AOL Internet Yellow Pages back in 1995. Understanding how consumers have moved into that marketplace, we work with SMBs and brands that are attached to SMBs, so national brands that have local outlets. We believe that an education process is required to bring them along in the process. Typically SMB advertisers are “sold” advertising. They do not typically line up on-line and “buy” advertising through websites. Unlike big business with their marketing departments that will go to Google directly and operate a pay per click program or go to different media properties. SMBs need to have a little more guidance. We take sort of an educational process view of it and help them understand holistic what the proper mix of traditional such as Cable TV, radio and newspaper, along with digital in terms of getting their media mix integrated so they are getting the best return-on-investment.


CEOCFO: How do you reach out to local businesses?

Mr. Stewart: We have sales folks. We do thought leadership through our articles that we write on searchenginewatch.com and Clickz.com. We do many seminars and teaching webinars. We are active in the tri state sort of NY, Connecticut and Massachusetts area right now. We have proprietary software we developed that enables someone who is in the media business that wants to open an agency locally to take our software and then expand in and offer to their local businesses the same services that we provide in these marketplaces.


CEOCFO: Would you walk us through a typical engagement with a client and something more outside the box?

Mr. Stewart: We have done all sorts of fun stuff. Social media is an area where a great deal of creativity can be applied. Anything from optimizing local listings management and getting them in the different places and the Google Map pack for example and search results, up to doing different events online via social media can be a lot of fun. We have a whole host of different types of businesses from restaurants to B2B types of service providers to financial services. With each one of them, we try to find something that will help their consumers to find the message relevant yet unexpected and engaging.


CEOCFO: What is an example?

Mr. Stewart: I was integral in a program that actually won a Guinness world book of records record for the fastest company to go from a low amount of ‘likes’ on Facebook to two million ‘likes’ and that was architected around a really fun concept several years ago for Farmer’s Insurance. We took the Farmer’s airship and put it on a social media game that was embedded within Facebook called Farmville. Farmville was widely popular at the time with their demographic audience of the 48-year-old housewives. By putting the airship down on Farmville, we protected the crops, so it was relevant insurance in that we were protecting crops but it was unexpected because it was done in a fun way. Interestingly that took off like wildfire. After the one week run that we had that and removed it because the campaign was only for a week, we had so many people coming back and asking for us to bring the airship back, so that was a lot of fun.


CEOCFO: Do clients typically leave it up to you?

Mr. Stewart: I think that whenever you work with a client, it has to be a dialogue because if you just turn over the reins to a marketing company, they are going to do what they know but I need and my teams need to know what is important to that customer and their unique selling proposition, their point of difference, how they sit in their competitive arena. It is really an exchange. It is a tired analogy but we do act as an extension of the client’s marketing department. Most of our companies may have 10, 20 or up to 100 employees but they do not have robust, in-house resources. We act as that extension or that creative bolt-in, to help them get powered with better ideas for marketing execution.


CEOCFO: Are you primarily working with businesses in smaller cities and towns or business in larger cities as well?

Mr. Stewart: My history is I have worked with 92 of the fortune 500. But now we really focus on smaller businesses, so sub-250 employees more regionalized in nature. At 15miles we are taking the ideas and the experience we have learned over a career of working with Fortune 500 brands and adapting those tactics down to small businesses in the local marketplace.


CEOCFO: What has changed in your approach over time? What have you learned along the way that allows you to produce better results today?

Mr. Stewart: The state of change in digital media is astronomical. Many times I will look at and talk to a business owner and they will say they tried it two years ago. What I always have to instill in them is if they have tried it recently because as media has progressed, it has changed so rapidly. We now have things like programmatic display advertising, which is uses artificial intelligence for targeting that did not really exist a couple of years ago. The rate of change is so fast. I think there was a humongous watershed moment this year when Google announced in April that there are more searches done on mobile devices that there are on desktop and that is a major tipping point. Now we look at mobile coming up and I have been a proponent to mobile for years and we have done a number of campaigns, but now it has become even more relevant. It is trying to and going a good job of keeping up with the rate of change and then understanding what the leading areas are that can actually have an impact for businesses and which ones are on the bleeding edge and we should really leave alone until they develop better.


CEOCFO: How do you put together experience, statistics, analytics and gut feeling trends and know what is right and how to weight the different parts?

Mr. Stewart: What we counsel our clients is to set aside a certain portion of their budget generally around 25 percent to look at emerging opportunities. We have a credo here, which is: “If it can be measured, it can be optimized”. We do not rely on gut feeling so much as designed experiments and then manifestation of proven tactics. We use this designed experiments on that bleeding edge for customers that are trying to get very tech savvy consumer but also understanding and taking that intelligence and knowledge that we have learned from those campaigns and distilling it down for the rest of our clients and for other folks in the marketplace. I do a lot of thought leadership and work in the business teaching, so I have a very active role and understanding what is going on in the marketplace. It is less about gut feeling and more about keeping an open mind and being able to not just test things but have a really good exploration into what the emerging trends for verticals are. What works for an automobile dealership may not work for a restaurant.


CEOCFO: Is there much competition?

Mr. Stewart: There is lots of competition when you look at local businesses that are having their phone rung off the hook and their email boxes are stuffed with people that say they will get them to the first page of Google. The challenge is that anyone who is in the marketplace offering something for $129 is probably just churn and burn outfit and you are looking for and need strategic guidance. That is a wholly different set. We do not a single product; we sell and approach in an integrated marketing plan, so we do not see too many competitors that do what we do. There is the old yellow pages sales reps selling pay per click campaigns and are selling different products but that is really a different set of folks all together.


CEOCFO: Why choose 15 Miles Local Marketing?

Mr. Stewart: We have incredible results from campaigns all around the United States and understanding of the dynamics of different verticals and how they operate in the local marketplace and an approach that is research driven and results generating.


“At 15miles we are taking the ideas and the experience we have learned over a career of working with Fortune 500 brands and adapting those tactics down to small businesses in the local marketplace.” - Gregg Stewart


15 Miles Local Marketing








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