Valassis Prez Lieblang On Yahoo! Local Display Ads Deal

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ValassisValassis, a direct-mail and newspaper coupon marketer, said late last week that it has signed a deal with Yahoo! to provide SMBs an expanded digital marketing toolkit as "clients will gain access to Yahoo!'s premium online display advertising inventory and industry-leading behavioral and geographic targeting solutions." Read the release.

John Lieblang, President of Digital Media, Valassis, discussed the agreement with Yahoo! and its implications.

AdExchanger.com: How will Yahoo! inventory be segmented/sourced? Will it be any inventory but from a particular geo?  Or will the Yahoo! inventory be sourced on specific Yahoo! O&O sites?

The Yahoo! inventory will be segmented across a variety of variables including geography, demographics, and 450+ Behavioral Targeting categories.  The actual inventory availability will vary based on these variables, as well as flight dates and competing advertisers.

How is the decoupling of data and media affecting local online advertising?

Our belief is that integrated marketing programs work best for SMBs, and digital places a vital role in the marketing mix for SMBs.  Valassis has long-term, deep relationships with many of our clients, and provides analytical data across all of our products, from print products to our digital offerings such as display, search and mobile.  The newer channels can create confusion for SMBs since the measurement methods tend to be different than those of print.

What Valassis brings to the table is the ability to look at the entire spectrum of channels, and show the clients which ones actually work for them - this is a much different approach than selling an SMB one or two products.  Value, for the SMBs, comes from the cross-channel analysis of their marketing programs and determining the mix that works for them.  In addition, Valassis has the ability to tightly integrate all digital offerings, including the Yahoo! product with our print portfolio including our cooperative free-standing insert coupon booked and shared mail products.

Does exchange inventory have a place in Valassis local marketing services strategy?

Yes, we feel that ad exchanges will play an important role as local businesses buy more and more digital programs.  We also believe that the majority of SMBs will not be in the "self-service" model, and will require trusted agents to work through the complexities of purchasing digital products such as local display and search.

In that Valassis key clients are SMB's, how do you convince them to use display - a tactic that often requires scale in order to be effective?

Valassis already has scale in the digital arena, and has been selling digital services to both large and small clients for a number of years. Adding Yahoo! to our services fills a need for SMBs that have been asking for programs that fit their budgets and targeting needs. Valassis' advantage is the thousands of relationships we already have with SMBs that are clamoring for more digital programs as part of their overall marketing strategies.  In addition, the "scale" of an SMB display program in a specific geography is smaller and more manageable than broader online display programs.

By John Ebbert

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