Advertising today is not a one-channel operation. Any media entity still focused solely on its legacy core ad offering is already getting left behind.
Television can’t sell time; it needs to sell Web sites and marketing services. Newspapers cannot simply sell print; they need to sell online. No matter how important the core offering remains, industry trends show a need to expand.
Most media entities know this, so they’ve moved on to the next question – “What should we be selling?” – while trying to devise a playbook to expand offerings and remain viable in an Internet-focused world.
To get there, these media companies need to put careful consideration not only into what products to sell, but how those products connect and complement one another and fit the needs of their customers.
Let’s look at newspapers specifically. The most obvious extension for newspapers’ sales teams is to package print and digital, giving advertisers exposure in the print publication and on the newspaper’s Web site. In 2015, that’s no longer a differentiating factor – it’s table stakes.
What else do these smaller, local advertisers need? They need to reach consumers online outside of the newspaper’s Web site.
I can’t emphasise this enough. Reaching the audience online but outside of your owned and operated products is a must. You can’t constrain the reach of your messaging anymore. You need to focus it on reaching the right people at the right time, and that is not always on your Web site. In fact, the majority of the time, it won’t be.
Your local advertisers probably need help putting together a professional Web site themselves. They may need assistance building a social media presence. They may even require a full-service ad agency that can help formulate their digital media strategy.
These aren’t familiar areas for newspapers, which have no connection to running ad agencies. But they represent a huge revenue opportunity.
The goal is to find a suite of products that make sense. Digital is appealing, but there are myriad digital services you can offer to advertisers: display advertising, video, audience extension, mobile, and search, just to name a few.
Search garnered buzz for years, and it helped digital advertising make it through the recession a few years back. It seems like a logical place to expand an offering, but, again, media companies need to ask themselves about the connection.
If you know anything about online search, you know that a Web site is the biggest component for getting noticed on search engines. And if a brand earns a place of prominence in the search rankings but has a subpar site, then consumers won’t stay on the site very long.
So you can’t make the leap from print advertising to pay-per-click (PPC) directly. You will fail your customer if you do.
You need to address the core online presence of the advertiser before spending big (or small) on a PPC campaign. Properly aligning your product portfolio to speak to the needs of customers, and prioritising the need to strengthen where they are weak, is a winning proposition.
This is the final step to ensure what you’re selling makes sense to the people to whom you are selling.
Anyone can package together a bunch of widgets and sell them to advertisers who don’t fully grasp which services and tools they need. But if they don’t grasp the necessity or the reasoning behind the package, they’re not going to pay for additional services, and they’re certainly not going to stick around.
Smart bundling of advertising products allows the sales force to maximise its relationships. The newspaper industry is already seeing results with customers who previously only bought print advertising.
By extending these services in logical ways, and packaging the products at distinct levels aimed at clients, traditional media companies can take advantage of a huge new revenue opportunity.