- The Enterprise
- The Recorder
Untapped market: Three years into his gig selling sponsorships for the Southern Maryland Blue Crabs, Bill Snitcher was making the daily 75-minute commute from his Linthicum home during spring 2010 when he had an epiphany.
The Linthicum native approached his boss, Chris Allen, then general manager for the Blue Crabs, with an idea to capitalize on an untapped market in Southern Maryland — transit advertising.
The notion wasn't groundbreaking. Companies had been buying ads on the sides of inner-city commuter buses for years, but Snitcher “saw an opportunity” to do the same in the tri-county area.
With local papers that publish twice a week and Washington, D.C.-based television stations broadcasting commercials primarily for national brands or D.C.-area companies, local businesses did not have an abundance of advertising options, he said.
Snitcher and Allen ultimately decided to go into business together. They left the Blue Crabs and incorporated their new company as Sayin’ It Loud LLC, with Allen as president and Snitcher as vice president, in April 2010.
“This was an opportunity that presented itself that we just had to do,” Snitcher said. “We thought it over very carefully because we were at jobs we enjoyed.”
A big break: The two-man operation scored its first big break that August when Charles County awarded Sayin’ It Loud an exclusive contract to sell vehicle wrap advertising on its VanGO public transit buses.
The company also inked deals to sell ads on the Dillon’s Bus Service and Keller Co. motor coaches which ferry local commuters to and from Washington, D.C., every day. It is currently bidding for transit advertising rights in another Maryland county, but Snitcher declined to disclose which because the contract has yet to be awarded.
All told, Sayin’ It Loud holds the advertising rights to roughly 100 transit buses operating in Southern Maryland, including VanGO’s fleet of 28 vehicles.
Would you like that wrapped?: Snitcher and Allen essentially work as salesmen, pitching large vinyl signs, known as “bus wraps,” along with smaller signs that are applied directly to the bus.
“Our message, you can't mute it with a remote control, you don't have to listen to certain stations, you don't have to buy anything, it’s just there,” he said. “It’s part of the environment.”
The signs, which transform buses into mobile billboards, are produced by Philadelphia-based Barry and Homer at a Lanham facility. Snitcher said a large “bus wrap” typically takes two workers 12 to 14 hours to apply.
Competitive marketing: For Snitcher, a typical work day consists of checking in with current customers and conducting research on or prospecting new clients, Snitcher said.
“I enjoy most the attainment of new business. I've always found it very rewarding to bring in new business,” he said. “It’s exciting because it's a chance to help that business grow.”
Given their background — both spent more than a decade working in sports marketing — Snitcher said he and Allen “tend to be a little competitive” when it comes to their respective sales numbers.
“[Allen] has more managerial experience than I do, but I always tell him I'm a better salesman than he is,” Snitcher said.
“All in good fun,” he added.
Two years after forming, Sayin’ It Loud has provided transit advertising for nearly two dozen clients. Current customers include, among others, Chick-fil-A, Dash In, State Farm Insurance, H&R Block, Ken Dixon Honda in Waldorf, All American Harley-Davidson in Hughesville, Solid Rock Co. in La Plata, Andrews and NRL federal credit unions and the Maryland Lottery, Snitcher said.
The company’s revenue increased “dramatically” in its second year of business, he said, reluctant to share specific sales figures.
To Snitcher, the potential was and remains obvious. Last year, more than 750,000 people rode VanGO while the local section of U.S. 301 carried more than 18 million vehicles.
“That translates into a lot of vehicles that see our messages,” he said.
JEFF NEWMANGot an idea for someone to profile in On the job? Send your suggestions to Angela Breck at abreck@somdnews. com or 7 Industrial Park Drive, Waldorf, MD 20602. Call 301-764-2847.