In an effort to turn around declining ad revenues, Independent Newspapers Kwazulu-Natal (INKZN) joined forces with NRS Media, one of the world’s leading media sales experts, to deliver AD Impact, an innovative advertiser acquisition programme designed specifically for newspapers.

The partnership between NRS and INKZN, formed in 2010, created a solution that targeted local direct advertisers. As the South African economy was suffering from the worldwide economic downturn, the local market was becoming increasingly competitive and advertisers needed a new way to approach advertising.

The AD Impact solution provided an educational forum to inform local advertisers about the benefits of branding and advertising.

At the time, many businesses were slashing their advertising budgets, attempting to save costs but not fully recognising how important it is for advertisers to maintain a constant, consistent presence — especially during lean times.

Advertisers who participated in the seminars also were given the opportunity to join an annual membership programme that provided them with a consistent media presence at a discounted rate.

From the very beginning of the programme, the results were impressive:

  • Nearly 500 businesses were invited to participate in the original seminars, and 143 signed up for annual memberships.

  • Almost half of the first year’s members renewed for their second year in 2011.

  • The second year also attracted 62 advertisers who had not previously used newspaper advertising.

In addition to the seminars, advertisers were invited to attend “Power of the Press” follow-up seminars, which showed how effective newspaper coverage and advertising can be. It also gave them the opportunity to get advice on creating effective ads that would provide maximum impact.

The intensive, hands-on approach was appreciated by many advertisers, who reported they felt this added a great deal of value to the offerings.  

To help maintain the relationship between the newspaper and advertiser, the programme includes an ongoing service commitment, with a certain number visits and phone calls made periodically to keep advertisers content and engaged. In addition to creating a better relationship with advertisers, it also provides the sales team with numerous up-selling opportunities beyond the programme.

An unexpected benefit within INKZN has been a boost in enthusiasm among members of the sales team, who were given sales training and professional development during the programme. This has resulted in improved morale and a stronger sense of teamwork, and also has generated US$2.25 million toward the newspaper’s annual direct retail revenue.

Each year has seen an increase over the previous year’s revenue results.