Wisconsin Media brings in new ad revenue with community-focused campaigns

By Brooke Christofferson with assistance from Melissa Olson

USA Today Network

McClean, Virginia, USA


Wisconsin Media is leveraging its team’s innovative strength to support their clients’ passion for greater community engagement and drive new revenues with its “Marketing with Heart” programmes.

Partnerships such as these create a meaningful connection between advertisers and the highly engaged audience that the expansive Wisconsin news group delivers through programming that supports charitable organisations or brings light to issues that affect our communities at-large.

Based on four pillars – uniqueness, exclusivity, legacy, and value – these programmes create strong relationships between Wisconsin Media, our communities, and the partners that help support these programmes through underwriting or sponsorship dollars.

“Marketing with Heart” pillars

Once you’ve had that “aha” moment with a client — where you’ve identified his/her passion point — how do you structure a partnership opportunity that has long-lasting impact?

These four pillars establish the framework for effective “Marketing with Heart” campaigns:

  1. Uniqueness: Create something that has never been done before.

  2. Exclusivity: Ensure the programme is exclusive to the client or industry segment.

  3. Legacy: Develop multi-year programmes for assured renewal.

  4. Value: Demonstrate a return on investment to your client and deliver proof of performance.

“The purpose of these campaigns is to set the new revenue standard at Wisconsin Media,” states Pam Henson, Wisconsin Media’s regional president. “To do so, we must lead in innovative thinking and world class activation.”

And, that’s exactly what helped Wisconsin Media drive revenue throughout 2015, with strong renewals on pace for this year.

According to Tom Baylerian, Wisconsin Media’s vice president of advertising: “It’s not just about getting the initial programme created and sold. It’s about ensuring each programme has legacy potential to secure multi-year renewals and value, which equate to return on investment for Wisconsin Media and its clients.”

“Marketing with Heart” examples include:

  • Organ donation awareness: Froedtert Hospital, a major health-care provider, was expanding its service area and needed a creative way to introduce its brand to northeast Wisconsinites. As the leading organ transplant center in the state, it wanted to ensure that its expertise was well communicated to the new markets as well as its other service lines.

    During in-depth conversations with this client, Wisconsin Media executives learned that it was highly interested in helping increase the state’s donor bank enrollment – its “passion” point.

    Working with Froedtert Hospital, Wisconsin Media helped create a four-month campaign with high-impact print and digital ads featuring a local sports figure, Green Bay Packers football player Randall Cobb, as a spokesperson to encourage donor registration.

    Combined with this awareness drive, Froedtert Hospital also executed a branding campaign featuring digital ads with video combined with high-frequency print ads. This delivered a fully integrated programme that connected the client with an issue that moved readers to respond positively to the messaging.

    Campaign results show that 95% of readers reported the ad made them look for further information or articles about organ donation and nearly three-quarters of readers indicated that this campaign improved their perception of Froedtert Hospital.

    Not only was Wisconsin Media able to capture new business, it was able to immediately secure incremental year one revenues with the organ donor awareness campaign, which was exclusive to the newspapers in a 10-market area.

  • “Catch a Star”: Seeking to improve its connection and engagement with local communities, Roundy’s, a grocery segment advertiser, challenged Wisconsin Media to create a programme that would improve the local perception of its store brands combined with community “give back.”

    The marketing and sales team uncovered the client’s passion to support organisations focused on families and children, along with its desire to connect with a sports-engaged audience.

    When presented with the “Catch a Star” programme, the client was immediately impressed that Wisconsin Media was able to meet the challenge.

    Partnering with Make-A-Wish, Children’s Hospital Foundation, and Roundy’s, the first-year campaign included a donation mechanism benefiting Make-A-Wish Wisconsin and Children’s Hospital Foundation through the sale of holiday card sets featuring artwork from a “Wish Kid.” 

    The promotional components included sponsored print and digital ads adjacent to the clients’ standard ads along with cross-promotion in Roundy’s ads for card sales (donations).

    The inaugural campaign in 2014 not only raised donations to the beneficiary organisations, but secured renewal for a second-year campaign in 2015, where Wisconsin Media was able to secure 14% more in advertising revenue compared with the first year.

About Brooke Christofferson with assistance from Melissa Olson

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