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BIA/Kelsey’s Matt Booth invited two exceptionally frank local advertising buyers to dish the dirt on what makes them sign the contract and what makes them ask a local media sales person to leave their office — immediately. No words were minced during this dialogue on ILM West 2012’s final day in Los Angeles.

The guests were Elnora Cunningham, director of Print and Online Search for U-Haul; and Maja Kermath, a former AT&T Interactive executive who is starting a fitness-related business in Austin, Texas called Kor180.

Some of what Elnora had to say:

“Five years ago went black in print advertising and I helped to convert to digital. We were spending $40 million in directories. Over the last couple of year, we’ve evaluating what it means to go into digital. I learned what I don’t know. Any business coming to the table needs to be a subject matter expert, and be able to tie our business needs into what they are selling.”

“We will spend the money when it’s right. We don’t have a problem with that, but you have to back it up.”

“The more prepared you are, the faster the process will take. It is embarrassing when people come in and don’t understand our business. Go to our website. We are more than just trucks and trailers.”

“Never oversell. I see a lot of that. Be authentic and transparent.”

And from Maja:

“My biggest problem is time. I am CEO, HR director and head of manufacturing.”

“Groupon breaks local businesses. I will not do a Groupon for my business. Restaurants go to Groupon to die.”

“Facebook could do so much more [with SMBs]. When I was at ATTi I was scared of Facebook and Groupon. I was not afraid of Google because they do algorithms well, but not people.”

“Some things I want to do myself, some things I don’t. Social I will do myself. Listings management I am happy to outsource.”

“Responsive design websites optimize for whatever device the consumer is using, those are $100,000 sites. Spacecraft [her web designer] is build off of responsive design. You need to make SMBs operate like Nike, lululemon, Whole Foods.”

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