Chris Cowlbeck says Independents coming through pandemic in good shape.

Today’s podcast guest is Chris Cowlbeck General Manager at Look Billboards an Oklahoma based out of home company  and the IBOUSA a networking group which addresses the needs of independent billboard operators.  Chris says independent operators have come through covid in good shape.

Chris Cowlbeck General Manager Look Billboards and Independent Billboard Operators USA

The IBO just held its fall conference. 

The number one takeaway was thank you, thank you, thank you.  People are so tired of being holed up.  The sales people can’t go out and talk to people, the company policies, whatever.  Many got permission to come…and it was resounding that it was very much appreciated…even though we were about half the normal folks in attendance.

How are members handling Covid?

Everybody had a positive story to tell about coming through this pandemic.  Yes, we all felt a month or two.  Look Billboards had a little hit – we really only lost one customer which was a casino and they weren’t a significant account.  A couple of boards.  But we’re up on the order of 5-10% now over last year…The same story I’ve heard repetitively.  Now the ones that were more highway oriented that dealt with interstate and the highway traffic for hotels and restaurants have been impacted more greatly than the rural folks but that is a lot of the makeup and nature of the group as we are more suburban and rural…

Are national campaigns coming back?

They are…We had budgeted for our…coop marketing network group of all the different operators…Terry Carmody of Integration Media is our agency representative in New York city.  That fell off for a couple of months.  But you’re starting to see that come back.  They didn’t cut the money.  They just shifted it…We’ve delivered money to over 52 members of our group.  The smallest amount being about $1,300 and several of them with over several hundred thousand.  We’re excited about what we are doing as a group and what’s we’re doing to assist these guys revenue wise.

Initiatives  to help members grow revenues

Lisa Rondina was a great get for us.  I gave Lisa Rondina a list of 10,000 ad agencies…She is our enterprise marketing advocate, meaning she’s not a sales person.  Her primary function is to make introduction to ad agencies and let them know that we’re the second largest company they’ve never heard of…and the ease with which they can get availability from us…Our upside is tremendous by getting he message out to these agencies that just don’t have the staff…They just can’t call.  Yes, it’s easy to call the big three.  It’s really hard to call 500 other small companies.

You’ve connected 44,000 faces into IBOUSA?

And we have significantly longer legs to grow that.  We call that IBO Speedway.  Not a marketplace.  We want to have easy, quick, fast access…we function as an old wheat farmer coop, a rural electric coop.  The participants in the program know that there’s an overhead that carries the expense of the people…If they don’t have to answer RFP after RFP after RFP and we can connect with these buyers directly…they can very easily save 5-15%…There are at least 85,000 faces in our footprint.  We’ve got 225 companies.  We think there are maybe 800 companies out there…

To learn more about IBOUSA

Go to our website, www.ibousa.org, click on the about us.  There’s some videos there.  There’s a contact us button.  The phone number is 580-226-2234.  When they call in they’ll be greeted by one of three people: Daron Henry who handles a lot of our applications…Kaylee who handles a lot of the health care stuff or online Frequence stuff and then Becky who handles Speedway and the inventory…


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