Transparency in Digital Marketing

Transparency from digital marketing companies

The following is an excerpt from my recent Forbes article “It’s Clear: Local Businesses Need More Transparency From Digital Marketing Providers.”

“The hard truth is that companies providing digital marketing to local businesses have come under fire lately. We’ve seen the articles, read the reviews, heard the customers’ complaints: ‘online marketing companies overpromise,’ ‘they lack transparency,’ ‘they’re expensive and don’t deliver ROI.’ Those statements reflect local businesses’ general distrust of online marketing and, in part, explain statistics like these: 73 percent of SMBs work with more than one digital marketing provider, and some in the industry think churn rates range from 50 percent to 90 percent. Let’s be honest: those numbers are unsustainable and unacceptable. I know that as an industry we can do better.

So what’s driving those sentiments and, most importantly, what can we do to change them?”

Read the article in its entirety on, and check out my presentation on digital marketing transparency, Elevating the SMB Digital Marketing Industry, from this year’s BIA/Kelsey conference.

Sharon Rowlands

Sharon Rowlands was named CEO of ReachLocal in April 2014. Ms. Rowlands has more than 20 years of experience leading multi-billion dollar companies serving small- and medium-sized businesses, financial markets, and enterprise customers. From 2011 to 2013, she was CEO of Altegrity, which she transformed from a holding company into three independent business units, each with its own growth strategy. From 2008 to 2011 Ms. Rowlands was CEO of Penton Media, and prior to that she was with Thomson Financial. During her over ten-year tenure at Thomson, she held a variety of executive-level positions, including President and CEO from 2005 to 2008, and established the company as one of the most innovative partners to the global financial community. Ms. Rowlands received her Postgraduate Certificate in Education from the University of London and her Bachelor of Arts in History from the University of Newcastle, Newcastle-Upon-Tyne.

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