Harvard Media’s digital revenue skyrockets by 76%: outshining the competition

Founded in 1981, Harvard Media is based in Canada

Operates 13 radio stations, 20 websites, and 13 apps

Harvard has been a Vendasta partner since August 2022

The Challenge:

In its goal of accelerating top-line revenue growth and catering to the diverse digital requirements of local advertisers,  Harvard Media encountered formidable obstacles in scaling its digital operations.

The first challenge involved identifying a strategic partner capable of comprehending the nuanced digital services sought by local advertisers, delivering them at scale, and circumventing the need for extensive workforce expansion or complex proprietary technology development.

Furthermore, Harvard Media recognized the critical importance of streamlining their tech stack. Its objective was to empower sales representatives with a unified platform that seamlessly integrated sales CRM, billing software, and task management. This platform would serve as the authoritative hub, consolidating customer interactions and sales data into a single source of truth.

Diversify your digital revenue streams with digital solutions designed for local advertisers

Quarterly digital
revenue growth

By bundling digital offerings from the Vendasta Marketplace of 250+ solutions Harvard greatly surpassed the 24% average digital growth rate among the broader radio industry.*

Sales opportunities

By leveraging the built-in prospecting tool Snapshot Report, more than 15,000 opportunities were created within six months of implementation.
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subscription savings

By replacing redundant competitive tech solutions with the Vendasta platform, Harvard has been able to save $40,000+ in annual subscription costs while simplifying its tech stack.
*Reflects Q123 growth over Q122; data from Borrell analysis of broadcasters’ earnings statements.


Amidst the decline in traditional media advertising revenues and margins, George Leith, Executive Vice President and Managing Partner of Harvard Media, fully understood the pivotal role of digital transformation in the broadcasting industry. Leith acknowledged the formidable challenges faced by media companies in effectively selling digital products on a large scale. He recognized their limited capacity to develop customized digital solutions for their clients. In addition, Harvard required a streamlined and scalable method to perform needs analyses for local advertisers, eliminating the need for sales reps to spend excessive hours on research. “Our customers desired digital solutions. We had the relationships and capabilities, but we lacked a scalable way to analyze their unique needs and match them with appropriate solutions,” explained Leith. He also emphasized the crucial need for an integrated solution within the sales context, particularly for media companies operating across multiple markets. Harvard Media couldn’t afford to rely on disjointed systems that failed to communicate with each other effectively.
Harvard media in-line (600 × 800 px)

Hill Towers in downtown Regina, Saskatchewan.


In their pursuit of a partnership with Vendasta, Harvard Media had several key objectives in mind:

  • Acquire essential sales intelligence and insights tools to effectively prospect and acquire clients in the digital landscape.
  • Gain access to a white-label software marketplace of pre-built or vetted digital solutions, enabling them to offer a wider range of digital products on a larger scale.
  • Implement a comprehensive solution that would unify the organization, allowing all sales representatives to efficiently manage customer relationships, orders, and payments. Leith emphasized the significant benefit this unified approach would bring to CFOs by providing a transparent line item for fund allocation.
  • Envision how the solution would empower the sales team to generate a higher volume of leads and leverage data for insight-driven selling.

Leith’s vision encompassed these essential elements, recognizing the partnership’s potential to enhance sales capabilities and streamline processes across the organization.

The approach

Efficiently understanding and highlighting local advertisers’ needs quickly

Conducting a thorough digital needs analysis is a time-consuming task for sales representatives. Even with a disciplined approach, it can take hours to research and compile a comprehensive report that identifies an advertiser’s digital marketing gaps and competitive position, and provides ongoing reporting.

Harvard was drawn to the Vendasta platform’s ability to generate an instant “Snapshot Report.” This report examines a local advertiser’s gaps in various areas such as search engine optimization, website, reputation management, and social media. This feature not only significantly increased productivity but also allowed sales reps to transition from mere ad sellers to becoming valuable coaches.

“We’re doing a lot more coaching in real time, helping them through the process,” explains Leith. The Snapshot Report provides valuable data for insight-based selling and enables reps to conduct a needs analysis on clients, providing a starting point rather than beginning with budget inquiries or ad sales.

Designing customized pricing structures for over 250 digital solutions available in Vendasta’s Marketplace

Performing a needs analysis is one aspect, but matching the prospect or customer’s specific problem with the right solution is another challenge.

Harvard Media was able to leverage Vendasta’s Marketplace, which offers a library of over 250 tried-and-tested digital products, for any of their advertisers’ specific digital challenges.

As a media business with a sophisticated commercial approach, it was vital for Harvard to curate solution packages from the Marketplace and determine pricing based on factors such as desired margins and the level of service offered to advertisers.

The Vendasta platform empowered Harvard to establish retail prices for reselling digital products, ensuring that they could achieve satisfactory margins based on the wholesale rates.

One solution, one pipeline, one source of truth

Harvard Media recognized the need for a centralized hub to streamline its sales force management process. With the implementation of Vendasta’s CRM, Harvard gained access to a comprehensive suite of built-in tools, including leaderboards, pipelines, meeting scheduling, and project management software.

This centralized hub revolutionized how Harvard orchestrates their sales team’s activities, eliminating the complexities of integrating multiple systems while providing a single point of reference for customer interactions.

The benefits would be profound. Harvard’s sales team would experience improved organization, enabling them to nurture prospects more effectively and close deals at a faster pace.

Furthermore, Vendasta’s CRM would provide continuous data analysis and insights generation, empowering the sales team with powerful pitches and the ability to create a sense of urgency among prospects.

Through this journey to a centralized hub, Harvard Media enhanced the efficiency and effectiveness of their salesforce, ultimately driving greater success and growth for the organization.

Empowering sales teams and enhancing transparency

Through the utilization of the Vendasta platform, Harvard Media witnessed the empowerment of its sales teams and a significant increase in transparency, leading to impressive results. With the platform’s ability to generate and consolidate over 15,000 opportunities, sales teams gained the power to prospect at scale and significantly better outcomes. 

The detailed Snapshot Report provided a comprehensive understanding of local advertisers’ challenges, enabling sales teams to effectively articulate their value proposition. Consequently, local advertisers were more convinced when data was integrated into the conversation.

Additionally, the platform facilitated tracking of engagement levels, allowing sales teams and managers to monitor interactions with the Snapshot Report and other content. The abundance of intelligent data offered by Vendasta showcased the positive impact of digital investments on the online presence of advertisers, highlighting the tangible problems being solved. As George aptly puts it, “Vendasta helps us see how many problems we’re solving for our customers.”

“And by solving more problems, we’ve seen dramatic increases in customer retention and increases in transactions as they can see the success in our offering,” he says.

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One classic example of how Harvard Media sells digital solutions is by bundling three core Vendasta services into one package:

  1. Reputation Management
  2. Social Marketing
  3. Listings

Each package was competitively priced, ensuring a minimum 50-percent profit margin. By strategically setting retail prices, Harvard maintained a blended margin of 50 percent or higher.

As part of their approach, Harvard hosted one-hour digital seminars for prospects, delivering valuable tips on managing their digital presence. Of course, sales reps and marketing teams would also prospect potential advertisers on their own campaigns by leveraging sales tools on the Vendasta platform.

Attendees and prospects receive a Snapshot Report of their online presence and a Google Business Profile to kickstart their journey. This strategy enabled Harvard to nurture relationships and establish a deeper presence in advertisers’ marketing strategies.

“We’ve shifted towards insights-based selling rather than simply asking customers if they want to buy ads,” Leith explains. “Our sales team provides advertisers with a free digital health check in the form of the Snapshot Report. By identifying the top two problems, we gain entry through the front door.”

Within the initial 60 days of partnering with Vendasta, Harvard achieved $46,000 in revenue, with $30,000 as monthly recurring revenue. This equated to over $200,000 in annualized contracted revenue, maintaining a blended margin of 50 percent.

To enhance customer retention, increase revenue, and maximize share-of-wallet, Harvard harnessed the power of data available through the Vendasta platform and conducted regular monthly calls with clients. Through these interactions, they collaboratively identified and implemented the most relevant digital solutions and services to meet the evolving needs of their clients.

“We prioritize solving the most significant problems first and then layer in additional challenges we can help the client with,” Leith says.

At the time of publishing, the Vendasta platform emerged as a driving force behind Harvard Media’s remarkable 76% growth in digital revenue. Moreover, the platform proved instrumental in streamlining operations, reducing costs by eliminating overlapping SaaS subscriptions, and dramatically improving the margins on underlying services sold.

“The flexibility and agility offered by Vendasta’s Marketplace enables us to quickly respond to customer demands without going through lengthy RFP processes or the need to search for suitable vendors, because Vendasta has done the work.”

Matt Ainsworth

“Vendasta is a key partner in our ongoing customer-focused sales transformation. It’s powerful platform and Marketplace gives our sales team deep insights into customer needs while fostering trust and accelerating the sales process.”

George Leith Executive VP & Managing Partner, Harvard Media

Harvard Media’s best-selling products:

An empowering partnership

In a highly competitive media industry characterized by changing purchasing behaviors among traditional advertisers, Harvard Media’s partnership with Vendasta has positioned the organization to stand out in the market while generating new and scalable revenue streams. Crucially, this collaboration has empowered Harvard to swiftly respond to the evolving demands of its local advertisers by delivering timely and tailored digital solutions. By leveraging Vendasta’s platform, Harvard can adapt to the unique needs of local advertisers, ensuring they receive the right solutions at the right time. Moreover, the integration of Vendasta’s platform has enabled Harvard’s sales representatives to efficiently manage customer relationships within a centralized hub.
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