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News Tribune mines Big Data for reader acquisition, retention

27 August 2014 · by Phil Schroder

Big Data is a buzzword that so many use. But do we really understand what it means and how to use it?

According to Webopedia’s definition:

“Big Data is ... used to describe a massive volume of both structured and unstructured data that is so large that it’s difficult to process using traditional database and software techniques. In most enterprise scenarios, the data is too big or it moves too fast or it exceeds current processing capacity. Big Data has the potential to help companies improve operations and make faster, more intelligent decisions.”

But how do we use these huge databases we have ...

 ... [more]’s paid content strategy celebrates many lessons on its first birthday

10 August 2014 · by Lon Haenel

Happy first birthday,

The Gazette’s new paid content strategy became a year old on July 30, 2014. To celebrate, I’m using this space as an update on where we’ve been and what we hope to yet accomplish.

In 2012, we started to execute our roadmap to the future. The DNA of the plan was, and is, to greater monetise our two core assets — content and audience.

Specifically, our objectives were to grow revenue, build a great content management system, integrate with existing publishing systems, drive efficiency, develop a platform to personalise the user experience, and keep a keen eye on emerging digital trends, both inside and outside our industry.

We are doing very well, thank you. Just in the first year, we delivered on nearly all objectives. will continue to evolve and get better.

Financially, the payday has exceeded forecast and expectations — not just digital growth, but an amazing uptick in ...

 ... [more]

Measure what really matters in your e-mail campaign: completed orders

06 August 2014 · by Scott Stines

Information is power. And when it comes to measuring the success of e-mail marketing campaigns, there is no shortage of information available for reporting and analysis.

The challenge is that we sometimes become more interested in the numbers associated with our campaigns than with the only number that really matters – orders.
One of the great characteristics of e-mail marketing campaigns – any direct response campaign for that matter – is that results are immediate and measurable. For example, here are just a few of the metrics associated with e-mail marketing campaigns and their implications for on-going campaign success:
Delivery rate: Life would be easier if every e-mail sent was delivered. But just like postal mail, not every message can be delivered.

For e-mail marketing, a high delivery rate is the direct result of ...

 ... [more]

What can media companies learn from Amazon, top social media sites about social transactions?

27 July 2014 · by Phil Schroder

Selling subscriptions is an age-old game of paying careful attention to types of campaigns, the pricing of campaigns, and the response mechanisms employed. Many articles have been written about these subjects, whether it’s about selling digital subscriptions or what and where you should sell.

However, one of the most thought-provoking pieces I read recently was from fellow INMA blogger Scott Stines, who wrote about making sure you really cover the “last three feet” of a marketing campaign before you get started. I thought all of his points were excellent, but two of them really stuck out:

  • Make it easy to buy.

  • Keep it simple.

These are two pieces that are too often missing in ...

 ... [more]

4 key areas of subscriber retention media companies must address

16 July 2014 · by Phil Schroder

As I was traveling for several weeks last month, I experienced multiple encounters with service companies that invest a lot of resources into acquiring customers. The question is, which ones really focus on winning that customer’s loyalty and keeping them coming back time and time again?

According to the Harvard Business School, increasing customer retention rates by 5% increases profits by 25% to 95%. While those numbers might seem high for those of us in the media industry, they do hold a lot of truth, especially when you add advertising revenue into the mix.

Retention is something audience development professionals talk a lot about. But the real question is, do we put our time and money where our mouths are?

There are four key areas of retention that every audience executive should address (but not be limited to). Think of these steps as ...

 ... [more]

6 ways to start a marketing campaign with a successful end in mind

10 July 2014 · by Scott Stines

There is no shortage of intellect, creativity, and effort when it comes to developing marketing and communications strategies and tactics.

This includes evaluating alternative strategies, analysing target audiences, and assessing creative execution across all communications and sales channels.

While so much effort is expended “up front,” the final steps in the sales transaction are often overlooked or neglected. The “last three feet” of the marketing and sales process is essential to having your brilliant strategy and killer creative pay off.

That is why it is important to start with the end in mind when crafting your marketing and sales campaigns.

The history of missteps at the “last three feet” of campaigns is too long to recount. Whether it is the direct mail piece that asks respondents to mail back a card (no envelope) with their credit card information exposed to everyone in the mail stream, the incorrect toll-free number, or the non-secure online form collecting credit card payment information, the result is the same – failure.

Successful marketing and sales campaigns require ...

 ... [more]

4 ways to help local small businesses with their mobile strategy

17 June 2014 · by Lon Haenel

Quick: When you woke up this morning, where was your mobile phone? If you’re like most, you’d measure that distance in inches, not feet.

Mobile has become a driving force. Consumers don’t create a lot of separation between themselves and their smarthphones. The mobile revolution is here.

Mobile has become a constant in our lives. As a medium, it reaches us during all phases of life. In some cases, it drowns out other media:

  • Nearly 6 out of 10 people have used a mobile device while driving.

  • 3 out of 10 go mobile during dinner, during school functions, or in a movie theater.

  • 19% report mobile usage while in church.

  • 9% have reported they’ve used a mobile device during sex.

Mobile has created a medium that’s more engaging than prime time.

Did you know that the mobile phone in your pocket has more computing power than all of NASA in 1969? As marketers, we’ve never had more power to...

 ... [more]

Big Data highlights media industry’s quandary: need to earn profit while respecting privacy

12 June 2014 · by Scott Stines

Next week, when the postal mail arrives, sort out personal letters (remember those?) and bills, and place everything else in a stack to review at the end of the week. When your week of collecting postal mail ends, take a hard look at what you’ve received.

Sort your postal mail into two piles:

  1. Companies with which you’ve done business.

  2. Companies, political campaigns, and non-profits with which you have never done business or given money.

Pay attention to whom the mail was addressed: occupant, resident, and variations on your name, e.g. Stines Household, S. Stines, F. Stines, Scott St. Ines.

This exercise will begin to reveal the personal information that has been collected about you and how it is used by public and private companies, political parties, and non-profits to sell their products and services and raise money.

As someone who has paid a mortgage and sent children to college with the money earned from using information, I am both reluctant and eager to submit this article to’s Bottom-Line Marketing blog.

Reluctant, in that I know the more information we have on a target audience, the better we can target and the better the results, e.g. more profit, greater return on investment (ROI) for

 ... [more]

Sports contests bring in revenue, data, readers for regional media company

28 May 2014 · by Phil Schroder

Readers love to enter contests and sweepstakes. The key to getting them to participate is to make it easy, or fun, or — even better — both.

Contests can run for just a few days or last for months. But according to an infographic from Kontest, the best duration for your campaign is 25 days or 60 days.

Kontest also recommends using several channels to boost a promotions performance. This is great news for most publishers, as we can promote through print, on our desktop and mobile sites, through our social media pages, and using e-mail blasts.  

There can be a number of reasons why a publisher might run a contest:

  • To increase opt-in email database.

  • To build social media following, i.e. increase Facebook fan page likes.

  • To obtain answers to survey questions.

  • To retain current readers/subscribers.

  • To acquire new readers/subscribers.

We do contests frequently at The News Tribune and The Olympian. Here are a few that have worked well for us, and each has been run with a different goal in mind.

Facebook Seahawks tickets giveaway: When the Seahawks, our local American professional football team, was in the playoffs earlier this year, we were able to ...

 ... [more]

5 ways to turn Facebook lemons into lemonade

21 May 2014 · by Lon Haenel

The world somehow survived recent Facebook changes. We’re doing fine, thank you very much.

Hundreds of millions seemingly become more dependent on Facebook each day. The smallest changes from the social media giant send ripples across the social universe. If Facebook changed the way we communicate, and now Facebook is changing again, how much damage did it create?

According to Facebook, delivering relevant content in a way that won’t be missed by Facebook users is the goal. This was explained in a blog post by Facebook. The objective is to remove content that is “gamed” in the news feed to gain more distribution than it normally would. Facebook engineers went to work to scrub three major areas aimed at reducing news feed spam.

I saw the early accusations against Facebook. The company claimed that just 6% of a business’ page feed would appear on followers news feeds. “How dare they?” and “Facebook should be free!” angrily rang out.

This behaviour, coupled with Facebook’s rising ad revenue, would have social media critics ...

 ... [more]

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

Lon Haenel
Vice President
Digital Media & Circulation
The Gazette
Janesville, Wisconsin, USA
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Bob Provost
Director of Marketing
The Star-Ledger
Newark, USA
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Phil Schroder
Vice President of Audience Development
News Tribune
Tacoma, Washington, USA
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Scott Stines
Cedar Rapids, USA
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