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Is it better to retain a current subscriber or acquire a new one?

27 September 2015 · By Scott Stines

An illustration showing how media companies should identify the existing issues before acquiring new subscriber.Most news media professionals with “audience” in their job titles face the challenge of allocating limited resources where they will generate the greatest return on investment.

Sometimes it comes down to a choice between using resources to retain existing subscribers or acquire new subscribers.

What is the best choice? I must admit, I feel strongly both ways.

Most marketers will tell you it is easier and less expensive to retain a current customer than acquire a new customer. They will also tell you that an exclusive focus on customer acquisition – without a plan to reinforce value and nurture a relationship – is a recipe for short-term success and long-term failure.

Here’s what we’ve learned:

  • Fill the holes in your bucket before priming the acquisition pump. If you are shedding subscribers like a calico cat in July, you need to identify the issues within your control that are driving customers away.

    It starts with timely delivery, accurate billing, and responsive customer service at a minimum. These are the “basic requirements” for ...
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What media companies can learn from a beer company about brand extension

09 September 2015 · By Geoff Tan

Assortment of Carlsberg Brewery's newly launched shaving line.

When I read recently about Carlsberg launching a line of men’s grooming products that includes shampoo, conditioner, and body lotion, I rubbed my eyes, did a second take, and then Googled to verify that this was not an April Fool’s joke.

This beer giant has indeed embarked on a brand extension outside its core area of specialty and competency. “What were they thinking of?” I thought to myself.

Could it be that the folks in Denmark had become desperate due to the sharp drop in beer sales? Were they simply clutching at the closest available straw to come up with this idea? Or was it as a result of a strategic and well-researched move on behalf of the brand to appeal to its core target audience by servicing their other needs?

The world’s fourth-largest brewer by sales said the idea came from studies highlighting the beneficial effects of vitamin B and silicium that are contained in ...

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Why your media company should be your client’s Web partner

30 August 2015 · By Bob Provost

Hosting and developing Web sites for advertising clients can bring advantages to media companies.

If you host/develop your client’s Web site, then you can (and should) own the preeminent client relationship. There is no product or service you can offer a client that binds you more intimately and intrinsically into his business operations.

If you are not already offering your clients robust Web development and hosting capabilities, I strongly urge you to “regroup” and consider doing so.

Since leaving the media industry more than a year ago, I have had the opportunity to delve deeply into a number of organisations’ marketing budgets and practices, and I find one consistent behaviour: They spend far more digital dollars with their Web provider/host than with any media organisation. And they spend it on a lot more than just hosting a Web site.

In fact, it is not unusual to observe the client spending more with or through the Web partner/provider than he does with all other media organisations combined.

“Winning” the right to be the client’s Web provider can eliminate once and for all the brand perception that traditional media organisations aren’t in step with ...

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“Share a Coke” campaign offers 3 lessons for news media companies

03 August 2015 · By Geoff Tan

It all started with a 151-word creative brief. This brief was issued, together with a free-reigning license for the agencies pitching for its business, to deliver a disruptive idea that would make the biggest of headlines for the brand and shake everyone to attention.

Lucie Austin, then director of marketing for Coca-Cola South Pacific, was huddled in a Sydney conference room with her colleagues in 2011, listening to five agencies pitch concepts for Coke’s upcoming summer campaign. 

The rest, as the saying goes, is history!

This campaign, known as “Project Connect,” was based on its ambition to both strengthen the brand’s bond with Australia’s young adults and inspire shared moments of happiness in the real and virtual worlds. You and I know this campaign more commonly as “Share a Coke.” This unique breakthrough activation accorded consumers ...

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Straits Times gets more local, global, visual, social for its 170th anniversary

12 July 2015 · By Geoff Tan

The Straits Times rebuilding mobile and digital content for the media industry to remain competitive.

The year 2015 marks Singapore’s 50th anniversary of independence. The year also marks the 170th anniversary of Singapore’s oldest printed newspaper, The Straits Times.

These are two significant milestones distinctly marking the journey we have taken as one people and one nation. In the same way Singapore has transformed from third world to first, The Straits Times has mirrored this evolution by going from a print-only product to an interactive, full-blown expression across a multiplicity of devices and platforms. 

These are exciting times for us at Singapore Press Holdings! Starting on July 1, The Straits Times began a major revamp with a consistent new look and feel that will cut across both print and digital, giving readers the quality content that has come to be associated with the brand.

Our investment of US$1.19 million for this revamp extends the group’s commitment to excellence in the context of today’s current media landscape, where most readers ...

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3 reasons news media companies should adopt B2B e-marketing

05 July 2015 · By Scott Stines

News media marketing and B2B e-marketing helping with audience engagement and cost reduction.

Selling multi-platform advertising presents a number of challenges for news media companies. New products don’t always fit existing sales channels or sales staff skill sets, and there is the ongoing challenge of managing selling costs and sustaining relationships with customers.

Here are the top reasons why news media companies should adopt business-to-business e-marketing ...

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Advertising client as publisher, account executive as service(s) provider

23 June 2015 · By Bob Provost

Successful publishers offering advertisers services to find, retain, and optimize customer audience relationships.

One paradox that escapes the sensibilities of many media advertising sales professionals is that you (the media representative) are no longer the only publisher in the room. Your client most likely has a Web and mobile site, social media platforms, e-mail marketing vehicles, and a host of other digital points of visibility.

Your client is a publisher.

This “paradox” is further complicated by the fact that many media organisations fail to acknowledge and understand that today the typical “advertising” client is actually a marketing client. Their needs transcend simple advertising exposure.

In the age of digital marketing, many of your “advertisers” are as apt to be discussing audience metrics as they are customers. Because today, many of their best customers have ...

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8 answers to common e-mail marketing questions from media companies

09 June 2015 · By Scott Stines

Effective digital engagement, best practice strategies, and how to how measure ROI for email marketing

After attending four regional newspaper circulation conferences across the United States the past three months, I’m surprised at the number of news media companies that have not integrated e-mail communications into their marketing, sales, and service process.

I’m even more amazed by the comments, questions, and opinions I hear from those responsible for growing audience and revenue. Here is a list of common topics or questions received over the past three months with answers and/or opinions for your consideration.

  1. What is the most effective way for news media companies to use e-mail marketing?

    An e-mail address is an audience of one, and, as a result, the most successful e-mail campaigns are those that are targeted at the individual level. Confirming a new subscription start, renewing a subscription or classified advertisement, providing a former subscriber with an offer to re-subscribe – these are all highly effective uses for e-mail communications, generating transactions at a fraction of the cost of ...
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Singapore Press Holdings plays a bit of much-needed roulette with start-ups

18 May 2015 · By Geoff Tan

This blog post is inspired by my recent visit to the Seven West Media group in Perth, Australia. I had the privilege of staying a week in five-star accommodations at the Crown Metropol, which is adjacent to the magnificently appointed Crown Casino.

Although I’m not a gambler myself, strolling around the gaming tables brought to mind what publishers operating amidst today’s challenging media milieu need to do to future-proof themselves.

To always remain on the cutting edge of things, I am constantly reminding myself that “organic is lethargic.” These days, attempting to grow the business on our own is so passé and hugely Jurassic; collaborating with qualified and valued partners is now the new chic!

For those who have not yet delved into the art of roulette, let this rant serve as an alarm bell of sorts to encourage you – more specifically, the organisation you work for – to take a step forward and put down a few bets!

Don’t get me wrong – I am not recommending in any way that we should gamble away our ...

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What media can learn from the Tidal music streaming product release

06 May 2015 · By Scott Stines

Musician and entrepreneur Jay Z dominated the news recently with the product release of Tidal, a music streaming service that would pay artists directly with higher royalty fees. While the announcement generated a lot of publicity, it also generated immediate pushback from bloggers and others online in the days that followed.

While the new streaming service now has nearly three quarters of a million customers, Tidal management admits they “stumbled” out of the gates due to a number of missteps.

News media companies can learn valuable lessons from the Tidal music streaming story, the first of which is the importance of telling your story before others start telling your story for you.

Tidal may very well be a better music streaming service, but the nature and tone of the product release failed to communicate relevant benefits to potential users of the service and opened the door for others to position the new music streaming service in an unfavourable light.

The failure of Tidal to immediately address questions and criticism only served to make matters worse.

The first tenet of marketing is ...

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About this blog

The “Bottom-Line Marketing” blog aims to bring together the principles behind marketing with the real-world experiences of newspapers transitioning to newsmedia companies. Our bloggers are some of the leading marketers at the world’s leading newsmedia companies today, most with experiences with packaged goods and brands such as McDonald's and Disney. They will aim to show how marketing – often under-utilised in the news industry – improves the bottom line (even a baby's bottom).

Meet the bloggers

Bob Provost
Distinguished Executive-In Residence
Rutgers Business School
Newark, USA
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Scott Stines
Cedar Rapids, USA
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Geoff Tan
Senior Vice President & Head of Strategic Marketing
Singapore Press Holdings Limited
News Centre, Singapore
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September 2015 ( 2 )
August 2015 ( 2 )
July 2015 ( 2 )
June 2015 ( 2 )
May 2015 ( 2 )
April 2015 ( 3 )
March 2015 ( 4 )
February 2015 ( 4 )
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December 2014 ( 4 )
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