See Chief Marketing Officer Kevin Kilpatrick’s full video discussing this publishing firm’s pivot during the pandemic: Full Video Here
One hundred percent of Silver Lake’s revenue was from advertisers that primarily sell tools and building
supplies to Silver Lake’s 100K+ subscribers. COVID-19 closed most new jobsites, and “shelter in place”
orders even halted residential remodeling projects. As a result, advertisers stopped 80% of their
advertising in Silver Lake publications. The sudden shutoff of income made it imperative that the
company quickly examine alternate offerings for its advertisers.
yorCMO and the Silver Lake team immediately recognized that the company’s number one asset was its
subscriber database. Until the health crisis began, the primary way the database was used was to
provide advertisers with access to tradesmen through publications. A little collective creative thinking
led to a new way Silver Lake could rapidly monetize access to the subscriber database: sales of key,
timely tradesman insights to advertisers.
Surveying to Extract Key Insights, A Sellable Asset
The team developed a 25-question survey with questions for tradesmen who had subscribed to Silver
Lake publications. Questions were designed to provide advertisers with insights that would help them
reach out to tradesmen during and after the pandemic successfully and appropriately – balancing
concern about the tradesmen with provision of their needs during this unusual time. The plan was to
send the survey monthly to provide valuable ongoing insights to advertisers and a repeatable stream
of income for Silver Lake.
Online Shopping Habits and Spending Pivots
Through the survey questions, Silver Lake was able to provide advertisers with awareness of how the
pandemic had impacted tradesmen businesses and how respondents anticipated the crisis would
affect them in the following six months. Some of the questions shed light specifically on tradesmen
spending habits, including determining how much extra they would pay for tools and building
supplies made in the USA and understanding changes in their online shopping habits, which would be
the norm for the foreseeable future. Other questions were designed to gather information about the
way building supply houses and big-box stores were evolving to serve tradesmen needs.
Sharing Samples and Selling Survey Opportunities
The first survey was in the field March 14th and 15th of 2020. More than 1,000 tradesmen participated,
which produced a statistical accuracy of plus or minus 3% and a solid insight product Silver Lake could
sell to advertisers. To raise awareness of the new monthly research offerings, Silver Lake shared five
of the March survey’s key insights with past advertisers and three trade organizations. In the same
communication, advertisers were given the opportunity to add as many as three questions to the
next survey for a modest fee, a service that would be repeated each month.
The new data product from Silver Lake is considered to be indisputable success. Many subscribers
participated in the survey. Advertisers began purchasing the insight data, and some restored ads that
had been pulled. Six companies added questions to the April survey, and 11 companies added questions
to the May survey.
Filling the Revenue Gap
The team’s efforts quickly provided revenue to make up some of the 80% drop that had resulted
from the coronavirus crisis. Sales for April were down less than 20% compared to the previous year,
and, at the time of this writing, May projections showed that the month’s revenue potentially could
equal last year’s numbers for the same month.
Human Capital – Important Bottom Line During a Crisis
In addition to improving revenue during a time that could have led to a financial disaster, Silver Lake
was able to avoid laying off employees. This not only provided a humane service to employees during
a very difficult time, but it helped the company preserve one of its most important resources:
employees with hard-won knowledge, experience and relationships that could help the company
continue its successful recovery and grow in the future.
An immediate revenue crisis was averted and Silver Lake continues working with yorCMO to stay on top
of all opportunities, because no one knows how the nation’s financial recovery will unfold. The team is
developing additional research methods, such as a Zoom-based focus group now in the planning stages.
yorCMO’s fractional marketing solution partners you with an experienced fractional marketer, who
follows a proven process to help you drive profitable growth, ensure sustainability and build intrinsic
value. Our process supports B2B and B2C companies regardless of size or industry. yorCMO is
headquartered in Omaha, Nebraska, with a distributed team of highly experienced fractional marketers
serving clients throughout the United States and worldwide.
About the Author:
Kevin is an extraordinarily-focused Marketing Leader with 20+ years of experience building high performing teams at a leading Fortune 25 big-box retailer, a nationally renowned advertising agency and at an international media/publishing firm. With a passion for influencing consumer behavior to drive revenue and a proven track record of using a variety of tactics including content marketing, digital/social campaigns, in-store marketing, traditional advertising and public relations.
Kevin is based in the Greater Atlanta area and has strong experience working with clients in Retail, Manufacturing, Publishing, Marketing/Advertising and in the startup space.