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4 reasons Web hosting offers sustainable revenue growth for media companies

03 February 2016 · By Bob Provost

After 40 years working with clients as a media marketing executive, I now have a couple of years under my belt working with media representatives and other marketing vendors from the client side. I’ve learned a few new lessons and reinforced a number of those already learned while working in the media world.

In my August blog post, I advocated for media organisations to embrace Web hosting as a means to fully and strategically engage as a partner with their advertising clients.

Well, as I review year-end outcomes and look at 2015 versus 2016 budgets with organisations I am now involved with, I am even more firm in the conviction that Web hosting is a strategic necessity to secure the digital revenue streams necessary for success.

Is it time for your media company to consider Web hosting as a way to bring in revenue?

Of course, it is not as simple as offering a server, connectivity, and an IP address. In this blog post, I’ll discuss some of the ways Web hosting has ...

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What the media industry can learn from David Bowie

01 February 2016 · By Geoff Tan

“Commencing countdown engines on. Check ignition and may God’s love be with you.” R.I.P. David Bowie.

Although the world has lost a multi-talented artist, there is much to learn about creativity from the way Bowie lived his life. Eleanor Black’s article entitled “David Bowie: a creative force like no other” speaks of him as a “brilliant, kooky, highly original storyteller.”

And if this sounds familiar as it should, we as publishers who wield instruments that tell the most compelling stories to the readers who buy our titles can take a leaf out of the life of the “Starman” himself.

If you dig a little deeper into what Bowie really embodies, you will discover ...

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How to automate communications while maximising customer relationships

18 January 2016 · By Scott Stines

A Business Insider headline from May 2015 read, “Experts predict robots will take over 30% of our jobs by 2025.” That same month, an NPR Planet Money article asked, “Will your job be done by a machine?”

Pundits have been predicting that machines will take over tasks currently performed by humans for the past 70 years, and they have been right on many accounts.

Our wired society makes it possible to automate many jobs and tasks that have been labour intensive, freeing up humans to do what they do best: create, solve problems, and come up with ways to automate other labor-intensive tasks.

This is especially true when it comes to managing relationships with customers, subscribers, and advertisers. In fact, most of the information needed to automate communications with customers – delivering timed and targeted messages that drive transactions – has existed for some time.

Here’s a look at how news media organisations can use available information to automate marketing, sales, and service communications with customers to maximise the value of customer relationships, save staff resources, and generate incremental revenue at a ...

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How the past can position your news media company for a more creative 2016

07 January 2016 · By Geoff Tan

As a practitioner in the advertising and media industry for more than 35 years, I’ve watched the definition of “creativity” (in the advertising sense of the word) fluctuate across the breadth and depth of its intended role and purpose in helping brands communicate and engage better with their intended consumers.

A major source of blame for the inconsistent values placed upon the Art of Creativity has been the evolution of media and the proliferation of its forms and platforms.

The simplified analogue world where my career kicked off had only newspapers, television, radio, cinemas, and posters as mainstay vehicles to amplify what advertisers wanted to shout to the world out there. This is a far cry from the digital arena of the now, where the multiplicity of media manifestations have reached exponential proportions across paid, owned, earned, shared, and converged platforms!

The Art of Creativity has adorned its fair share of preferred personas across distinct periods in time: the “product era” of the 1950s, the “image/impression era” of the 1960s, the “positioning era” of the 1970s, and so ...

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Newspaper innovation: No longer an oxymoron?

29 December 2015 · By Bob Provost

Excuse the title. It is a personal reminder of a presentation I delivered at a newspaper industry event in 1992. I introduced my topic by sharing that, in my opinion, the phrase newspaper innovation ranked right up there with jumbo shrimp as a classic example of an oxymoron.

My, how things have changed.

Recent articles and e-mails from INMA and other blogs (including those by Geoff Tan here in the Bottom-Line Marketing space) have covered the topic of innovation. A recently released INMA strategic report expounds on the topic, and rightly so.

One of the most compelling, frank, and, well, helpful perspectives on developing a culture of innovation actually doesn’t mention innovation. The Employee Handbook of New Work Habits for a Radically Changing World by Price Pritchett and Ron Pound references change. I recommend it as a short yet insightful perspective for organisations struggling to transition culture and employees ...

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Looking back on media innovation in 2015, surging ahead to 2016

13 December 2015 · By Geoff Tan

December is my favourite month of the year.

The Christmas street lights have all been turned on. The malls are all decked out in yuletide splendour, awaiting the jury’s verdict for the “best dressed building” accolade. Age-old carols and music of the season can be heard across the airwaves and in public precincts including restaurants, cafes, pubs, and shopping malls.

As they say, “It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas.”

When I heard this song on the radio again recently, it intrigued me enough to want to find out more about this perennial favourite. It was written in 1951 by Meridith Willson and became a hit for Perry Como and The Fontane Sisters. Soon after, Bing Crosby recorded a version which was widely played and, as the saying goes, the rest is history!

Alvin and the Chipmunks covered the song in their 1961 and 1981 albums. Big Bird from Sesame Street fame sang it as part of a medley. Johnny Mathis’ version, which he recorded in a 1986 album entitled “Christmas Eve with Johnny Mathis,” gained popularity after its inclusion in the 1992 film “Home Alone 2: Lost in New York.” And in modern times, Michael Buble and Harrick Connick, Jr. have ...

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Singapore Press Holdings’ 5-step sales approach starts with an idea

11 November 2015 · By Geoff Tan

I am astounded by the anecdotal evidence of sales organisations that are still putting the cart before the horse when it comes to selling a product or a service. The archaic 19th-century practice of shoving inventory down a prospective customer’s throat without too much care or concern whether the item fully satisfies the need of the potential buyer is unfortunately still prevalent today.

It is fortunate, however, for these legacy practitioners that the burning of guilty culprits at the stake is banned across the civilised world we live in – otherwise these human fireplaces would never run short of “live” fuel to stoke its flames!

Given the fact that “solution selling” as a sales discipline was developed way back in 1975, I am hugely surprised that some old-school methodologies have made it to our current era!

Across our offices at Singapore Press Holdings, we adopt a consultative selling methodology when dealing with our prospects. The elements intrinsic in this approach include:

  1. Finding out what the customer is really looking for.

  2. Developing cutting-edge ideas that address these needs.

  3. Building value in our multi-faceted ...
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Products or solutions: Can your sales team perform a diagnostic?

25 October 2015 · By Bob Provost

I recently was in a position to review a series of high-quality sales presentations for several media organisations, and, at the same time, on the receiving end of yet another media organisation’s sales effort. It was quite a diverse array of players – a television station, metro newspaper, and cable entity – all with an arsenal of digital tools and Web/mobile audiences.

I was impressed with the quality of the presentations, both in graphics and content. In fact, I found myself developing enthusiasm with each organisation, their product portfolios, and the earnest professionals who were involved from each media organisation.

But the end result was the same in every case.

After providing an analysis of the marketplace, customers, and competitors, and then providing an overview of their capabilities/products, they in effect asked me to choose what products/services/tools I needed.

To me, this is tantamount to bringing a vehicle in need of repair to a reputable mechanic. The mechanic tells you all about your vehicle, provides an overview of the highway system and traffic situation, and shows you an marvelous array of shiny ...

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Why publishers should consider a brick-and-mortar move

08 October 2015 · By Geoff Tan

Image of a brick wall representing why publishers should move to their own brick and mortar stores

As a marketer, I’ve always been curious about brands, especially FMCG (fast-moving consumer goods) or grocery store staples, which move from the aisle to the street via the form of brick-and-mortar restaurants.

Popular Greek yoghurt company Chobani opened a café in New York City’s Soho neighbourhood in 2012, featuring its yoghurt as the main hero. Another example is Nestlé Toll House Café, which serves cookies, smoothies, and ice cream, the majority of which are made with Nestlé products.

What’s up with these brands, one might ask? Isn’t it good enough that they sell well at mainstream supermarkets? What does this extension strategy do for ...

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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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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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