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Creating a customer-first company culture

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]

Consumer centricity: Practice it with your advertisers or perish

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 ...

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7 ways media companies — and Olive Garden — can attract Millennials

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.

Sound familiar?

I think media companies can take the same criticisms applied to Olive Garden and apply them to ...

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Inside Gazette’s profitable digital innovation strategy

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 ...

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Does your media organisation have a shared vision for the future?

12 October 2014 · by Bob Provost

Googles 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 ...

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The blurred lines of content, consumer engagement

01 October 2014 · by Scott Stines

There is no shortage of articles, presentations, or discussions regarding consumer engagement in the news media industry.

Marketers talk about the need to “engage audiences” and “manage relationships” because they understand that engagement is directly linked to the consumer’s relationship – and perceived value – of their brands.

The days of “take it or leave it” marketing are over, replaced with what is now being called engagement marketing or experiential marketing.

While engagement has been a hot topic among news media management, in reality there is a dramatic disconnect between what is talked about in the boardroom or department managers’ meeting versus what actually happens on the front lines every day.

We are told that consumers are ...

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4 single-copy opportunities for publishers

17 September 2014 · by Phil Schroder

Single copy is one of my favourite parts of the job.

One of my first jobs coming up in the business was with Gannett as a single-copy manager. It was a new experience for me, having come from the home delivery side of the industry, but I loved it from day one.

There is something new with single copy every day, and the product sales are directly driven by marketing and positioning of the product.

An article I read last week made me cringe with this line: “The decline in single-copy sales is far outpacing that of subscriptions.” The article went on to mention large single-copy sales drops in key markets across the country.

I think this is a trend that publishers need to reverse. With the decline of home delivery at many newspapers, we should be promoting ...

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Taking a 10,000-feet view of circulation e-commerce

04 September 2014 · by Scott Stines

In the daily grind to get the job done, we often can’t see the forest past the trees. It’s always a healthy exercise to step back to get a little perspective.

I wanted to share with you one 10,000-foot-view of newspaper circulation e-commerce during the first half of 2014 with the hope that it will stimulate your short-term thinking and actions.

Let me put this information in perspective. We create and host secure forms for newspapers across North America. Most of those online forms capture newspaper subscription orders or allow subscribers to renew their current subscriptions. Most of those online forms are accessed via links in e-mail messages, so what I am sharing is specific to newspaper circulation e-mail marketing in North America.

It also should be noted that the newspaper markets that comprise these results are not metro markets, but rather have a circulation ranging from 20,000 to 200,000.

A wealth of information related to Web traffic, device types, operating systems, and browsers is available to us as it relates to online circulation forms. During the first half of 2014, the online circulation forms in this study ...

 ... [more]

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]

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
Distinguished Executive-In Residence
Rutgers Business School
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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Geoff Tan
Senior Vice President & Head of Strategic Marketing
Singapore Press Holdings Limited
News Centre, Singapore
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October 2014 ( 6 )
September 2014 ( 2 )
August 2014 ( 3 )
July 2014 ( 3 )
June 2014 ( 2 )
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April 2014 ( 2 )
March 2014 ( 4 )
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January 2014 ( 2 )
December 2013 ( 3 )
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