“I’ve been a customer for 30 years. But when I get a bill that seems high, and I can’t get a response in a fairly reasonable time, like five to six minutes, I consider switching to newsstand only or a different newspaper.” – a News Tribune subscriber
I don’t get e-mail like the one containing the quote above very often, but it does happen. I don’t like it, and I don’t blame customers for being frustrated.
Consumers in today’s world expect and deserve instant responses, and even more so when it comes to resolving frustration over a customer service issue.
In a blog post from just about a year ago, I wrote about customer service and some things we had done at The News Tribune to try to improve it. These things have worked, but I have seen a definite shift in the way ...... [more]
07 December 2014 · by Bob Provost
I am teaching an introduction to marketing honours class at Rutgers Business School.
On the first day of class I addressed my students as follows:
“You will be tested on the course material in this class not because it represents immutable truths that will last you a lifetime; rather you will be tested to demonstrate your ability to learn and to apply what you learn. The most significant aspect of a college degree is not that you graduate knowing everything you need to know, but that you are ready for the continual learning curve that will be your career.
“Employment is just another form of graduate school, albeit a preferable one. In college, you pay tuition for the privilege of learning. When you are employed, someone will pay you to learn, apply what you learn, and then continue to learn and grow.
“Stop learning in today’s business world and your skills and knowledge will be obsolete in three years.”
In classic textbook theory, the four Ps of ...... [more]
25 November 2014 · by Scott Stines
While the success of any direct response campaign – regardless of channel – depends on reaching the right audience with a meaningful offer and a compelling call to action, there are several important things to keep in mind when implementing a subscriber acquisition e-mail campaign.
The right audience: The best prospects for a subscriber acquisition e-mail campaign are those who have subscribed in the past, followed by non-subscribing classified advertisers.
Every circulation sales manager worth their salt wants to expand audience reach by signing up those who have never subscribed before. But, when it comes to e-mail marketing, the sweet spot is reaching those who are familiar with the brand.
We’ve spent untold hours building lists of ...... [more]
12 November 2014 · by Bob Provost
Bear with me. Let me start today’s blog post with an anecdote.
In 1987, I attended a lecture by Pier Abetti, a renowned scientist and technologist who applied his expertise to the study of business management and entrepreneurship.
He shared an insight that has resonated with me ever since. He related for his audience that day the story of the rise and fall of major industries and individual companies.
In particular, he focused on the American Locomotive Company. This company, based in Schenectady, New York, United States, was an enormously profitable manufacturer of locomotives.
A turning point in its corporate fortunes occurred when ...... [more]
10 November 2014 · by Geoff Tan
I kicked off my blog post last month with a lengthy conversation on consumer centricity. This time around, I’ve decided to wander down a less-treaded upon path.
You don’t need to be a rocket scientist to know that media proliferation has escalated beyond all projections.
A piece published some time back by The Newspaper Association of America was quoted as saying, “Not too long ago, the average American was exposed to over 3,000 advertising messages in the average day. Today, you get that many before breakfast!”
From the moment you wake up to Katy Perry’s “Firework” as the pre-set alarm piece on your “i” or Android device, until the time you drift off counting sheep to the pounding rap of Eminem’s “I Need a Doctor,” you would have crashed and collided with an avalanche of media platforms delivering what would seem to an un-ebbing spew of commercial messages, slogans, selling propositions, voice shout-outs, more – in other words, a raucous barrage of hard-selling, in-your-face product and branded communiqué.
The ad decibels infiltrating today’s urban municipalities across the globe have gotten so intense that people ...... [more]
29 October 2014 · by Scott Stines
If you ask employees at your news media company what they do, they will likely come back with a quick and concise answer – “I’m in news/advertising/digital/insert department here.”
While their answers may be accurate, they may also reveal a culture focused on what is happening inside your company instead of what is going on outside in your local market.
Don’t get me wrong, we should all have something meaningful to do. But if there is a disconnect between what we are doing and why we are doing it, the opportunity to change, evolve, and grow our value to customers becomes an afterthought. And we become less important to customers, which is never good.
Don’t we exist to not only satisfy, but delight our customers? If it weren’t for ...... [more]
22 October 2014 · by Geoff Tan
When “consumer centricity” as a service-oriented discipline re-ignited itself not all that long ago across several dominant industry fronts, publishers by and large felt they were somewhat absolved from this self-induced doctrine.
They were quite happy to remain status quo and continued to dish out what traditionally was on their menu of offerings.
Following this complacent attitude, it is no wonder you still see media owners (and I have spoken to a fair share of industry folks at conferences the world over) adopting an introspective approach to things.
Predominantly, these outfits are to a large extent attempting to primarily flog off their sales inventory, rationalising it under the guise of attempting to answer their clients’ briefs.
This less than ideal state of affairs can be attributed, on one hand, to how some of these businesses are inflexibly structured, and, on the other, to ...... [more]
19 October 2014 · by Phil Schroder
So much has changed since I was a child.
The personal computer was not in every household, and the only mobile phones were much larger than the biggest laptop of today. Now the mobile phone is the personal computer of today, with all the applications needed wrapped up in one small device.
The world has changed. But have newspapers evolved totally into that change?
I don’t think so. And from the looks of declining print volume numbers, our readers do not think so either. Although according to comScore and NAA, our net reach of digital content has climbed over the last year by almost 18%, there is still plenty we need to do to reach a new audience.
A USA Today article talks about the restaurant chain Olive Garden, which has been criticised for failing to transform its business model and attract a younger eater.
I think media companies can take the same criticisms applied to Olive Garden and apply them to ...... [more]
16 October 2014 · by Lon Haenel
What’s your digital strategy?
Chances are you’ve heard that question a thousand times. There are hundreds of smart people in our industry doing amazing things. You could ask 10 people and get 10 different answers.
I believe we’re doing some interesting work here, too. Recently our work was submitted to the Local Media Association’s Digital Media Contest.
I was equally honoured and humbled in Philadelphia earlier this month with the Digital Innovator of the Year award.
Following is an interview Local Media Today conducted with me. It goes into the nuts and bolts of our strategy, our struggles, and what lies ahead.
Question: You were recently selected as the Digital Innovator of the Year in ...... [more]
12 October 2014 · by Bob Provost
Google’s mission is “to organise the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.”
Has your media organisation expressed a vision and provided a similar sense of common purpose?
In past blog posts, I have discussed the need for modern media companies to be innovative, embrace evolutionary change, and develop a culture of constant learning and constructive change.
Change seems to be a theme in much of what I write. In fact, a former media employer/owner once described himself as my “ballistic vest” because, he said, “Bob is an agent of change in a change adverse industry.”
Nearly 23 years ago, after successfully leading an advertising department through a complete re-organisation, including a migration to desktop computers, I was asked by a senior account executive, “Are we done?”
He wanted to know if he could now settle into the “new” routine. I responded that “change was the new status quo.”
I had no idea in 1991 how ...... [more]