OOH Owner Today —Midwest Billboards
OOH Owner Today —Midwest Billboards
Midwest Billboards is the new home for the independent digital billboard network across Kansas and Oklahoma with 55+ billboards and growing! Midwest Billboards offers a one-stop-shop that practices the same protocol and standards of the corporate networks, helping both local businesses and nationals brands reach diverse audiences every day. Midwest Billboards is proud to provide a wide variety of products and services through their partnerships with local online and digital media companies.
Midwest Billboards was founded by Sam and Elizabeth Farha. We asked Elizabeth a few questions about her company, and what is keeping her in the OOH business. Here’s what she had to say:
Interview with Elizabeth Fahra, Founder at Midwest Billboards
Will Farmer: Why are you in the OOH business?
Elizabeth Fahra: I always had a flair for graphic design, the arts and naturally caught on to anything related to digital media. Digital billboards came to the streets of America when I was starting my career, but I had no idea how to enter this medium nor did I know I wanted to. Thirteen years ago, I accidently called Clear Channel Outdoor and instantly connected with the sales manager and president. I was thrown into the cages as an account executive to find my own leads and start generating revenue all while experiencing the 2008 financial crisis. I saw our industry really suffer but was very excited to see the first digital billboards brought to Wichita, Kansas and the future for out-of-home advertising.
In 2010, I entered the Wild West of independent billboard sales that was without a doubt male dominated since cavemen etched on walls. From there, we kept pushing forward until 2018 when my husband and I opened Midwest Billboards with 100 percent ownership. Together, we were able to build our own vision of an independent digital billboard company. I am responsible for the sales and marketing of Midwest Billboards while my husband, a software engineer with over 30 years of experience, handles all of the charting, scheduling and business operations.
WF: What is keeping you in it?
EF: I love helping customers see an increase in revenue and their goals met through billboard advertising. It is the best feeling to do business with a client for several years, walk into their establishment and know their employees and feel like a true member of their marketing team. Over the years, we have seen the importance of creating a marketing mix with digital billboards that is cohesive with a business’ online messaging. I love seeing the merge of billboards and digital media and how one of the oldest forms of advertising is still a leader amongst traditional mediums.
Despite the pandemic, Midwest Billboards has built two new digital billboards in the Wichita market and added over 40 digital and vinyl billboards in Oklahoma City. Smaller operators saw the importance of joining our sales force to be part of larger buys and to have a team dedicated to spending time in their market. I feel very honored to have the trust of so many billboard owners. Currently, all of my billboard owners are re-investing in new digital billboards. We are excited to see our network grow in the upcoming years.
Our knowledgeable team has over 45 years of combined experience in out-of-home advertising and software engineering. Through the years, I saw the importance of exclusively managing and selling the digital billboards. We are now responsible for new builds, permitting, project management, advertising sales and billboard management. It is very exciting to be part of the first digital billboard network in the Midwest!
WF: What is the greatest success or satisfaction you receive from owning OOH?
EF: I love the comradery of the independent billboard owners across the country and to see us come together to better ourselves and compete with corporate conglomerates. It is true we see every failure or buy we don’t win but it is great to see a full digital billboard running the best creative in the market or to see the ads playing of a hot new national advertiser! Midwest Billboards has changed the skyline of Wichita with great inventory along the busiest thoroughfares of the city.
Most of the city knows me as the “billboard lady” and I have been very honored to win several awards from my peers including:
- ● Women Who Lead in Marketing by the Wichita Business Journal 2020
- ● Innovator of the Yearby the Wichita Business Journal 2016, 2019
- ● 40 Under 40by the Wichita Business Journal Class of 2017
- ● Marketer of the Yearby the American Marketing Association for the Media and Marketing
- Services Sector (Wichita Chapter) 2014
WF: How do you obtain new business?
EF: Obtaining new business has definitely changed over the years. I remember being handed a phone book my first day in #OOH. Today, we are still cold calling but also reaching customers through social media, online advertising, email marketing, community partnerships and by following through on everything we promise to a client or board owner. We pride ourselves in maintaining an open door to our clients and always being available.
Recently, we have been empathetic to customers experiencing financial loss, laying off employees or even worse, closing their doors for good. During the pandemic, we are spending time coddling our advertisers and board owners rather than focusing on new business. We eliminated almost any red tape we had with our customers. We understand that a client may need to suspend ads, move advertising to the end of their contract or even cancel a campaign.
This month, we took time to develop a new website (live in 30 days), capture amazing beauty and approach photos of each billboard and fine tune our inventory spreadsheet for RFPs. I truly believe we will see an increase in revenue during the 2020 annual season and when pitching to national advertisers or buyers outside of our markets.
In the Midwest, it is still important to invite clients and agencies to lunch, coffee or a social event. We are very active in our community and love to entertain our customers. The pandemic has made it difficult to connect with clients but we have been innovative in our marketing efforts to stay top of mind for potential advertisers.
WF: Please share new business contact information.
EF: Midwest Billboards Owned by:
Elizabeth Farha, President & Founder
Sam Farha, Chief Operating Officer & Founder
903 West Douglas Avenue, Suite E Wichita, Kansas 67203
Office Phone:(316) 778-9737
Company Instagram: @midwestbillboards https://www.instagram.com/midwestbillboards/
Personal Instagram: @elizfarha https://www.instagram.com/elizfarha/
Marketing & Advertising