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TMP Directional Marketing, an interactive and print advertising agency specializing in local services and franchises like HoneyBaked Ham and The Men’s Wearhouse, is seeing a slight rise in verticalization, more performance-based solutions and ever increasing use of online promotions to drive offline sales, according to longtime industry vet Gregg Stewart, a senior VP at the firm.

The big challenge is to define metrics for success, says Stewart. Search services and maps do very well with online services that have a proximity factor, like online banking. They’re not going to do as much with Internet Yellow Pages. Neither will packaged goods companies.

Categories such as home services (i.e., house alarm companies) are ripe for campaigns, however. “They can have 50/50 lead flow activity,” he says.

For others, it has ultimately got be about gluing together online with offline purchases, and unlocking their content. “Consumers are becoming more sophisticated searchers,” says Stewart. “They want to know what’s in stock; can they get it now.” Merging a Krillion-like service with a Yellow Pages company wouldn’t be far afield, he agrees.

Verticals are also developing but mostly in categories that have locally interfacing brands. Stewart especially likes financial services. They have incredibly large forces, he says. Legal is emerging as well. Looking forward, he sees medical/health care as a huge opportunity, although compliance issues potentially loom large.

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