We know that marketing is always changing “ and changing rapidly. So, Kim Gergel, Regional President of Sales for the Mid-Atlantic region, has seen a lot of changes in the over 30 years she’s been part of the local marketing scene.
We talked with Kim about how marketing has evolved, what she’s most excited about when it comes to helping local businesses grow, and the surprising thing she loves about the YMCA.
Hi, Kim! Thanks so much for talking with us. What can you share about yourself and your journey through the marketing space?
I have served the local marketplace for the past 33 years in the print and digital media space. Throughout my career, I’ve led teams in successfully partnering with small to large businesses to help them navigate and thrive in the ever-changing, local marketing landscape.
I’ve been on the front lines of the print to digital transformation of our industry and understand the challenges that businesses face in today’s marketplace. Helping local businesses stay relevant and innovate by providing them with cutting-edge solutions with which to tell their stories is my passion.
I spent 32 years in the Northeast Ohio area, and when I started with the USA TODAY NETWORK, I moved to Bergen County, NJ, right outside of New York City. In some sense, it was a culture shock, but it’s been a really, super exciting change.
Wow, that is a big change! What’s it been like?
Traffic and the way people drive has been an adjustment. I marvel at how I can drive 30-40 minutes in any direction and be in a completely different environment from the Hudson River to the shore to NYC to the mountains. One of my favorite activities is hiking and so, I’ve really enjoyed exploring and discovering new trails!
I love that! So, you mentioned that you’ve really seen the marketing landscape transition from print to where it is now: very digital-focused. Tell us about that.
In the early days, local businesses were struggling, not only with the economy but with regional and national players leveraging technology to steal market share. When there was growth in the region, it was from the big brands, and as you were out in local communities, business owners really had a fear about how they were going to stay relevant. That led us to the digital movement. We had to bring the technology and capabilities that were available to big brands to the local businesses. Our clients really led us to this transition.
Now, the technology we offer levels the playing field between big brands and local businesses.
You’ve worked a variety of local business owners over the last 30 years. What are the top challenges you hear from them about marketing?
It used to be much easier. Now there are so many people knocking on their doors to talk to them about many different solutions which are often too niche, technical and overwhelming that they almost become paralyzed in moving forward. Our goal is to simplify digital marketing for our clients and package it in a transparent way that addresses their challenges. It doesn’t have to be complex to be effective.
Another challenge faced by some of our markets is that the business growth is almost exclusively regional and national chain stores “ local businesses worry how they will compete with limited resources. We partner with them to expand their marketing abilities and to bring them the latest technology.
You were recently announced as the Regional President of Sales in the Mid-Atlantic region. What are you most excited about in your new role?
I have an all-star team playing in a major league region that is experiencing tremendous growth! I am always proud and excited to hear our team present our LOCALiQ digital marketing solutions to businesses and explain how we differ from the competition.
We recently went up against 12 or 13 other local marketing companies to win the business of a large, metropolitan hospital. Everyone involved in that pitch had a sense of pride in telling the LOCALiQ story. The power of our capabilities and expertise places us in a league of our own!
What are a few important market trends affecting local businesses in the Mid-Atlantic region?
We are excited to be the local market experts for several verticals experiencing deep impact by seismic trends in their industries. Esports in education and the unique digital marketing challenges and opportunities that it presents for academic institutions is one important trend that comes to my mind.
We also observe that there is a mission-critical need for healthcare marketers to understand and respond to how emotional drivers are dictating the way consumers are making decisions.
The grocery shopper’s changing consumer journey is a trend that I find especially exciting because LOCALiQ is uniquely positioned to help our grocery clients innovate with next-level marketing solutions that help them stay ahead of their industry’s digital transformation.
Speaking of LOCALiQ, which of our solutions are you most excited about?
In each of our solutions, if we sold only that one product, we could go head to head with the best. That is indeed rare to be so strong in so many areas! But, I am most excited about the integration and application of our combined portfolio, our ability to slice and dice our highly engaged audience so our clients can accurately target their desired consumers, our vertical expertise and customization, our agency-like approach, and our ability to provide transparency through our Client Center.
What’s your favorite local business?
I love the local YMCAs. The YMCA business model was founded in the mid-1800s and they have found a way to stay relevant throughout the years. They have a national mission and sophistication, yet nothing is more local in community or purpose than your neighborhood Y. There are so many similarities in each location, but they’re attuned to their local communities. Each Y has its own story — it’s a great national brand that’s hyperlocal. Sounds a lot like us!
Describe yourself in a hashtag:
Someone once called me #KimPossible! I wear it like a badge of honor.
Thanks to Kim for talking with us about her passion for local marketing and local businesses! If you’d like to work with one of Kim’s all-star team members in the Mid-Atlantic region (or anywhere across North America!), give us a call today.