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Outside-in editorial approach puts customer needs at forefront

13 April 2015 · by Geoff Tan

I’ve spoken at more than a few media and publishing conferences around the world (in Vietnam, Hong Kong, Philippines, Middle East, Denmark, Canada, Australia, and Ukraine). One of the topics constantly discussed and debated at these encounters is how publishers and media owners should be re-purposing their content to connect with consumers at large.

Across most legacy businesses where print content is still thought of as king, the most common practice across the industry is for editorial head honchos (who see exceptional value in their stories) to rush head-long into fashioning these into topical Web sites and branded apps.

I term this the “inside-out” approach, which stems from the fundamental belief that our content is so well researched and written that consumers are just waiting to lap it up no matter what shape or form it comes packaged in.

When editorial content is re-purposed from the inside out, there is usually very little consideration as to how well readers will take to it; the assumption is that it will always be received well. Formal testing and research is rarely done to assess ...

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Why news media organisations need sales staff

09 April 2015 · by Scott Stines

There’s no arguing that the way consumers and businesses buy today has changed dramatically over the past decade with the evolution of the Internet, the proliferation of information, and increasing financial pressure on business.

Classified advertising has migrated to the Internet with self-service advertisement placement and search capabilities.

A considerable amount of display advertising has also migrated online as well. A recent survey of media executives suggested that future growth in programmatic advertising could lead to the extinction of advertising sales staff.

Some argue that these changes have led to the devaluation of the sales function and its role in ensuring the news media organisation’s ongoing financial success.

Do news media organisations need “sales” staff?

To some, “sales” is a dirty word and a less than admirable profession. “Sales” connotes pushy, aggressive, and unethical behaviour focused on ...

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Are you strategically at the “front of the room”?

07 April 2015 · by Bob Provost

Two years ago, I posted a blog post called Time for newspapers to start “talking the talk” of their own digital success. The blog post references the well-kept secret of the digital strength and success of many modern multi-media news(paper) media organisations.

It briefly suggests that one way to get the word out effectively is to present professional programming to current and prospective clients in the business community.

I’d like to revisit the topic today, specifically addressing the power of being the convener if not the presenting expert, thought leader, and/or innovator at the front of the room.

Although we are slowly changing perceptions, the dominant reality today is that most newspaper media companies are perceived as ...

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Fail quickly, cheaply, successfully

25 March 2015 · by Phil Schroder

“Failure is not an option.” This line became famous after the movie Apollo 13 was released and is one of those ubiquitous lines that many, many in business have used for years.

However, is that still true? Isn’t some failure really a measure of success?

In today’s world, projects fail every day. Google has shut down multiple projects in just the last year, but I don’t think they considered this a failure. In many ways, this has shown them what works, what doesn’t, and how to improve on the next project.

Even Apple, as perfect as it may seem, has had multiple failures in its past. The Apple Newton, the Pippin, and “Hockey Puck” Mouse are products that many of us have never heard of, but Apple actually released these to the general public.

What it has taught a company like Apple is to develop fewer products, but ...

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The online video love triangle: consumers, advertisers, Google

15 March 2015 · by Lon Haenel

People love video. With its moving colour and sound, brands today tell their stories on a seemingly unlimited canvass.

For as long as nearly the oldest among us remember, video has been a part of our lives. It has entertained, educated, provoked emotion, announced wars, showcased sporting champions, announced current events, and provided a forum for every imaginable topic.

It’s no wonder that video is surging now online.

Machines love video, too. Google is one such a machine. It loves video so much it operates YouTube, the world’s biggest video search engine. If you’re running a digital agency — or if you’re just in the media space helping small- and mid-sized businesses with digital — sit up and pay attention to the benefits of online video.

In 2014, digital video advertising spending grew 56%. By 2018, the U.S. online video ad market is expected to reach US$12.8 billion. Currently YouTube owns about 20% of the marketplace.

But why should our local SMBs care about video? Because people love video and ...

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Culture eats strategy for breakfast, innovation for lunch, passion for dinner

09 March 2015 · by Geoff Tan

The best tactics in the world, the most creative of ideas, and spirited exuberance among colleagues – these are the ideal ingredients to guarantee your company a bright future and continued success, right?


Sorry to disappoint you, but all these positive attributes and more will all come to naught if it lacks the right – yes, you know it, so just say it – culture.

Strategy for breakfast

Now, let’s take it one meal at a time.

Wasn’t it Peter Drucker who said that “culture eats strategy for breakfast?” Although most of us can attest to the importance of both strategy and culture, anecdotally most organisations seem to pay more attention to the former rather than the latter.

I like the way assistant marketing manager Elise Mackay put it when she wrote on her blog that “culture is going to be the driver of your business, and strategy is the road map. So if we don’t have the engine, we’re not going to ...

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Profit eluding you? Try a long-term, well-communicated marketing plan

04 March 2015 · by Bob Provost

This is the third in a series where I have advocated for an expanded vision of the marketing mix that embraces several additional and obvious, yet undervalued, strategic factors necessary for success today.

Many media companies today have addressed the traditional four Ps (price, product, promotion, and placement) of the marketing mix. They have developed a robust array of digital and traditional solutions for both advertisers and content consumers (products).

For the most part, they have priced them competitively. And they have communicated their availability comprehensively (promotion and placement). Yet success eludes them.

In today’s media environment, there are too many competitors offering comparable solutions. Successful differentiation and positioning relies on an expanded definition of the marketing mix.

My December blog post urged marketers to recognise that success today and in the future is rooted more than ever on the human resources, talent, and workplace culture (the fifth “P” – people) of your organisation.

Too often, marketing strategists overlook ...

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#AdviceForYoungJournalists from a sales, marketing perspective

26 February 2015 · by Phil Schroder

Audience is one of the top key metrics at media companies in the world now. While it used to refer to just the print newspaper, it now encompasses paid print, free opt-in products, Web sites, mobile apps, and social media sites.

In fact, the Alliance for Audited Media (AAM) is now encouraging media companies to report on all of these metrics with its consolidated media reports, which really tell a picture of the brand and the audience that we reach on a multitude of platforms.

Over the last several weeks, I began noticing a hashtag on my Twitter feed called #AdviceForYoungJournalists. Some of the tweets were humorous in nature, while others offered some serious advice.

However, one thing that I found missing was what focus journalists should have to reach their future audience. That’s when I decided ...

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2 news media companies capitalise on challenges, opportunities to increase audience

11 February 2015 · by Scott Stines

Every day we are presented with opportunities – and challenges – that, if we had the time, resources, and capabilities, we would gladly pursue to our advantage.

Two recent examples of seizing opportunities and meeting challenges played out last week at newspapers in Corpus Christi, Texas, and Toledo, Ohio. Nearly 1,500 miles apart, these two cities have little in common other than both having great local newspapers.

Celebrating Selena

Hamp Rogers, circulation sales director at the Caller-Times (E.W. Scripps), had lived in South Texas for more than a decade and was familiar with the widespread fame of the performer Selena, the “Queen of Tejano Music.” Selena, a Corpus Christi native, had been killed in 1995. The major music auditorium in the city is named for her, and the Selena Trail is a popular tourist attraction.

The Thursday edition of the Caller-Times would feature a front page story on the Celebrating Selena Festival, and Hamp knew it would be good for single-copy sales. He just didn’t know how well.

After hearing reports from the field that afternoon about strong single-copy sales, Trent Spofford, digital director at the Caller-Times, suggested ...

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Now hiring: Chief growth hacker to replace chief marketing officer

09 February 2015 · by Geoff Tan

Controversial as this headline may sound, the challenging media and publishing scenarios witnessed the world over could do with some stark and drastic measures to help prop up bottom lines and unravel new and untrodden paths toward growth.

Not since Johannes Gutenberg’s invention of mechanical movable type printing more than 570 years ago have we been more in need of a whole new rethinking of the business. 

The debate today is not about how we can sustain the newspaper “print” business in the 21st century. Most, if not all, published print titles are now available across a multitude of platforms and form factors.

The US$64 million question confronting traditional publishers and media owners in this day and age is: “How can we sustain ...

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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

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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April 2015 ( 3 )
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