Interview by Kelsey Meyer
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View Jake Sheafer and Jamie Canine’s Interview via Video here, or read the Interview below:
Jake Sheafer and Jamie Canine are successful entrepreneurs making waves in the mid-Missouri media scene. With their business Modern Media Concepts LLC, Jake and Jamie create value for businesses by offering measurable results to their advertising efforts.
Jake Sheafer is a business development professional with more than 13 years of experience in sales, marketing, training, and business development. Jake has lead sales teams and more than 100 account executives responsible for generating millions of dollars in revenue.
After spending 10 years in advertising sales, Jake launched Modern Media Concepts, LLC. He and his business partner publish The Add Sheet and Marketplace Magazine in Columbia, Jefferson City and southwest Missouri. Jake focuses on helping businesses use technology and traditional media to increase revenue.
Jamie Canine has had an entrepreneurial spirit from a young age, his first business was mowing lawns, and started working from the first day he was legally allowed to, 15 and 1/2. Jamie graduated from the University of Missouri with a bachelor’s degree in Computer Science in 2001. He worked as a business analyst at the Target headquarters in Minneapolis for four years, and most recently acquired The Add Sheet in 2007, and then Marketplace Magazine in 2009. As only a true Mizzou fan would, Jamie aspires to own an immensely popular website that bans all IP addresses in the state of Kansas.
Modern Media Concepts, LLC is much more than an advertisement newspaper. Can you explain what Modern Media Concepts does?
We provide local businesses with direct response advertising. Many businesses have moved away from the idea that they can spend advertising dollars in the local market without the ability to know its working. We offer our customers several different options. On the traditional side The Add Sheet and Marketplace Magazines are both value publications. Consumers use them as a way to make purchasing decisions and save money. Each publication has it’s own niche due to the way it is produced and distributed. On the digital side, we have created a daily deals concept that drives traffic and helps the business convert “sample” customers into long term buyers.
MMC is made up of several products, The Add Sheet is a traditional value publication in the respects that it drives traffic to local businesses via deals and coupons.
It also offers consumers savings in all industries. However, unlike any other value publication, it’s also a mainstay on the Mizzou campus. It’s part of the college experience. It has a bit of a cult following and a presence that doesn’t leave you when you leave school. In that regard, there are a lot of things it does outside of the scope of a value publication.
Today’s Big Deal is a new project for The Add Sheet, are you experiencing success with this addition, and how is it similar/different than the popular company Groupon?
The reality is that Groupon showed all of us in the media world how to tap into the retail market. Instead of always focusing on strategies to increase our share of the ad dollars, the daily deal concept has enabled us to also tap into the retail spending pie. Our online deal program is similar to the extent that we have a deal that’s is predominately driven by email marketing. The deal is usually 50%-90% off the perceived retail price. It’s different in several ways. One is that we use the revenue from the deal to fund a long-term advertising campaign in our publications. Businesses have responded well to this because the program provides them with an effective long-term solution that they don’t have to write a check for. We are currently developing a way for retailers to build their own mini store within our site. This store has the ability to collect emails and remarket deals from a specific retailer to it’s own micro database.
Currently, what the consumer sees is very similar to Groupon. For our clients, it is very different. It is one feature we have to offer that serves a very specific purpose. It does not and cannot address several other marketing and/or advertising challenges that our clients face in the course of going about their business. So, we’ve implemented this one concept in a manner that we feel is more responsible than other models out there. Our costs are lower than nearly every similar service we’ve evaluated, resulting in high profits for our clients. We develop and own our software, allowing us to tweak and adapt our model on the fly. We have true innovation in progress as opposed to other services who seem to be content copying exactly what the national leaders are doing. In the next 4 weeks we will launch several gaming elements to engage consumers longer and more frequently. Our deal sharing will increase and ultimately our users will have more fun doing business with The Big Deal. These are just a few of many differences with our service.
What in your background do you believe has prepared you to work in an entrepreneurial environment with Modern Media Concepts, LLC?
I attribute it to extensive experience in outside sales. We have both made hundreds if not thousands of sales calls and learned a lot. Here are a few of the big things.
I have an insatiable desire to be exposed to new industries and businesses. I simply enjoy talking to people about how they do business and try to learn something at every turn, so it is hard to single out a few things. My degree in Computer Science certainly did not hurt. Losing money is painful so some of my early ventures certainly forced me to raise the bar and find ways to make things happen out of thin air. For us, the ability to negotiate on a daily basis is imperative, and that is something I’ve always had a knack for. It’s useful in nearly any business relationship we get into.
Personal selling is obviously a large part of your company because you need to sell add space. What advice can you give to companies using a similar personal selling approach to finding clients?
Master the ability to get an appointment, and know what to do when get there
Actually, we don’t “need” to sell ad space. We don’t have any unpaid space. Our ads are our content. We don’t have to support any overhead that isn’t directly related to driving results for our clients. It is one of the reasons we are thriving in an environment when many traditional media companies are facing big hurdles.
Therefore, our value is very clearly defined in the minds of our clients. To answer your question, I would tell them to add more value. Eliminate the “smoke and mirrors” selling. Solve problems for your clients and you won’t have any trouble finding more of them.
Social media has been named by some to be the future of advertising, how is Modern Media Concepts, LLC embracing social media as a legitimate medium through which to reach customers?
Research continuously points out the top reason to follow a business via social media is to be notified of deals, discounts, or offers. That is what we provide to people. We used to provide them through print. Now we distribute them through print, TV, radio, email, social media, and many other channels. We have a dedicated social media person on staff. We are investing a lot of money in programming and research to deliver effective marketing solutions to our clients via social media. Just one example: The Big Deal has prompted sharing and the users distribute the deal at their discretion.
What characteristics does the city of Columbia have that makes it a good location for your company?
Jake: Columbia has business owners that are open new ideas and willing to invest in them, and a large pool of young smart people to recruit.
Columbia has an educated work force, a flagship university, high quality of living, and low cost of living index.
MO: You have successfully lead sales teams and account executives throughout your career, what is your secret to successfully leading others?
There’s no secret and I still have a lot of room for improvement in this area. I’d say something I always try to keep in mind is that each person has a different perspective in various situations. Steven Covey’s book the 8th habit really made a big impact on the way I learned to deal with people. His premise is that the most effective leaders learn to give their people a voice. The idea in hiring people smarter than you is that they bring something to the table that you don’t have or really need. It’s easy to find smart people but it takes work to allow them to have a voice, feel important, and stay on track to exceed goals.
I wouldn’t necessarily say I successfully lead others. I get a lot of people to go along with me simply because I ask them too. Some people like to join me and others don’t. When people go along with whatever it is we are attempting to accomplish, we work hard to make each relationship a win-win.
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