Pandora — perhaps my favorite iPhone app — has announced a deal with SMB-oriented display advertising platform AdReady. Simultaneously it’s also adding sales people to focus on direct sales to the SMB market. Here’s a quote from an article in ClickZ:
“We’ve been getting a lot of request from small to mid-size businesses, and we had our premium direct sales teams fielding a lot of those calls,” said Mikalis, who claimed Pandora had been doubling its business year over year. “We want our premium team focused on the largest Fortune 500 brands, but we didn’t want to do nothing with those other requests.”
This is very interesting; it’s quite rare to have this kind of inbound activity from SMBs — assuming the accuracy of the statement. Here we probably have a case of a great many SMB owners with iPhones (predominantly) who use Pandora as consumers, seeing the ads and wanting in. Consumer success in this way can often translate into B2B success. The line often posited between SMBs and consumers is very thin in many cases.
I have never clicked on an ad in Pandora, however. And I now avoid the PC version because of audio ads. The service must be careful as it integrates more advertising that it does so thoughtfully — but that’s another conversation.
Pandora and potentially other Internet/mobile radio providers become another local traffic outlet for existing sales channels — in the same way that many local publishers partnered with Jingle’s Free411 service. The difference is that here, in mobile at least, the ad doesn’t need to be converted into audio. It can exist as in largely the same form as a text (or display) ad.