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How zero-base engineering the revenue team could save media advertising

17 April 2016 · By Bob Provost

I read with interest Earl Wilkinson’s News Media Outlook 2016 and, more recently, Geoff Tan’s Change or Die blog post.

Earl’s report explores the relative merits of propping up the façade of traditional media while reconstructing from within versus simply starting over with a NEWCO venture while allowing the traditional media company to run its course.

I have some strong opinions, largely based on personal experience and observation on both concepts.

Geoff’s post addressed head-on the dire straits many media organisations face, and his C.O.D. (change or die) Protocol is an in-your-face ultimatum to those who wring their hands while clinging to the status quo or embrace change “talk” but fail to “walk” the path of ...

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Change or die: Why failure to act is not an option for news media companies

10 April 2016 · By Geoff Tan

I spoke at an industry conference recently and titled my presentation Innovate, Don’t Constipate. It drew a full after-lunch audience, all eager to take in what was behind this provocative declaration.

From the feedback I received from the folks who patiently waited in line to chat with me after my talk, the stern warning I issued from the podium seemed to have gone down extremely well.

My message to the legacy publisher community that formed the majority of the audience was delivered loud and clear: Change or die, which I simply referred to as the C.O.D. Protocol.

With failure not being an option for those of us who still see value in the power of print, the clarion call is to mobilise ourselves and forage into deep unknown territory to unravel the hidden potential in newspaper media.

Media companies must keep pursuing new monetisation verticals if they are to stay relevant.

Each and every one of us worth our salt should be looking at disrupting the norm, shifting the paradigm, and innovating like hell. The “walls” between sales and editorial, sales and circulation, and sales and production should already have been broken down, and these intra-departmental partnerships must positively result in new business models leading to new revenue ...

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E-mail communications: More than just a fast, cheap way to reach your audience

31 March 2016 · By Scott Stines

Most news media companies have already tapped into the power of permission-based e-mail marketing to grow audience, engagement, and revenue. How e-mail communications are used can vary dramatically by publication, with many organisations initially focusing on “blasting” messages to all available e-mail addresses to promote content and drive Web site visitors.

We’re often asked about the “best” ways to use e-mail communications to grow audience, consumer engagement, and revenue. Here’s what we’ve learned over the past 16 years.

It’s cheap, and it’s fast. Those are the two attributes that are most frequently associated with the e-mail communications channel.

Using e-mail for communication is much more than inexpensive and fast.

While accurate, they are not the most valuable attributes of the e-mail communications channel. There is no arguing that e-mail is inexpensive when deployed correctly. It is also true that e-mail’s “speed to market” is unmatched in terms of reaching your target audience with ...

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What publishers can learn from the game of rugby

17 March 2016 · By Geoff Tan

In the game of rugby, a scrum is a method of restarting play. It involves an ordered formation of players packed close together with their heads down, pushing forward against a similar group from the opposing side, with both sides trying to gain possession of the ball.

If you are wondering what this has to do with helping us through the challenges the publishing industry faces today, the operative word you must remember is “scrum.”

The rugby term "scrum" can also be applied to the publishing industry.

Influenced by its meaning within the sport, scrum also refers to a software development model based on multiple teams working in an intensive and independent manner. Invented by Dr. Jeff Sutherland and Ken Schwaber in the early 1990s, scrum is a simple organisational framework based on three ...

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Telegraph Herald thanks, follows up with new customers via e-mail

25 February 2016 · By Scott Stines

What should you say to a new subscriber? Well, for starters, how about “thank you?”

Mike Newland, circulation and operations director at the Telegraph Herald in Dubuque, Iowa, USA, implemented an automated subscriber management e-mail programme in 2013. E-mails are timed based on a subscriber’s start or expire date, and messages are versioned based on subscriber’s delivery method (carrier vs. motor route), frequency of delivery, payment method, and rate code information.

These e-mail campaigns are in addition to subscriber touchpoints made through other communication channels. “It’s important that we connect with new subscribers as soon as possible to establish a positive relationship and let them know that we care about their readership,” Newland said.

The Telegraph Herald has a system in place to thank and follow up with new subscribers.

One day following a scheduled delivery start date, new subscribers receive a “welcome e-mail” that thanks them for subscribing to the Telegraph Herald. The e-mails are personalised and provide the subscriber with the date they should have started receiving delivery of their newspaper.

The Telegraph Herald's welcome e-mail is personalised for each subscriber.

It also provides a link to an online “verify delivery” form, where subscribers can confirm delivery, report non-delivery, and/or provide comments or questions.

When subscribers submit the online verify delivery form indicating they ...

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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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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
President
mass2one
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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April 2016 ( 2 )
March 2016 ( 2 )
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November 2015 ( 1 )
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