Just a few years ago, each of Schibsted’s subscription news brands was managing more than 30 different sales campaigns during a normal year. The market was exposed to different offers, prices, terms, and products causing high sales volumes. But this demanded lots of effort and had a high campaign cost as none of the activities were large enough to take advantage of volume discounts from the suppliers of external marketing channels.
Due to major changes in the subscription market and demanding economic times in the media industry, mainly caused by decreasing print circulation and ad revenue, Schibsted decided to merge the commercial departments of the subscription news brands to streamline all commercial tasks. A consequence of the merge was a change in the way we looked at our sales campaign effort.
With a common, highly competent campaign team and the local teams with a deep understanding for each local news brand, our hypothesis was that gathering our resources and competence in our campaign efforts would provide better results than working on our own.
With a strong focus on profitability, we went through all sales efforts for every brand in every channel and cut the sales activities that weren’t profitable. The resources used to work with the hundreds of different efforts and offers were joined to work with a few large main campaigns during the year.
Running sales campaigns for some of the most well-known brands in the Norwegian market, visibility was still important to achieve reach and conversions, as well as to ensure each brand’s market position. When cutting many of the smaller campaigns causing a presence in the market and moving to a few large campaigns throughout the year, it was even more important that each campaign was visible enough to have a significant reach in the market to surpass the conversions we would have with the high number of smaller campaigns.
This is how the idea of the “360 campaign” was born. The name 360 reflects the use of every channel in a 360-degree circle of marketing channels.
Building a 360 campaign
To build a large campaign supporting up to 10 different news brands (one national, three regional, and six local), we created three different layers of workflows: common campaign structure, common external marketing channels, and local adaptation for each individual brand.
Common campaign structure
There are many advantages of having a common campaign structure. The teams setting up and coding the campaigns can make one common structure and then customise the campaign communication to each brand. Testing functionality and communication are also done in one flow.
As the campaign starts running the traffic from up to 10 different brands, that traffic will be high enough to have significant test values after just a short while. This gives the test team valuable insight into conversion flows to optimise at the start of the campaign period, rather than having to wait for each brand to reach a significant traffic volume before optimising.
Common external marketing channels
Planning a large, national campaign for up to 10 different brands offers advantages when it comes to dealing with providers of external market channels such as boards, radio, and television.
Negotiating prices for a wider range of brands in one deal offers benefits both in pricing and coordination. Most channels are able to provide a segmented customisation of each brand’s local campaign in the significant area.
Local adaptation for each individual brand
Once the campaign structure is set up and the external marketing channels are booked, each brand customises the campaign set up for its local needs. This causes the market to see a customised sales campaign building each brand as well as selling subscriptions.
Even though the time to market and the offer is the same for every brand, as a consequence of a common set up, the markets perceive the communication as different campaigns if exposed to more than one brand in the campaign period.
Having worked with common campaigns for the Schibsted subscription newspapers during the past two years, we have learned nothing is a done deal in these rapidly changing times. The market is constantly changing as are the available marketing channels for selling subscriptions. But together we have more power, and we are experiencing higher sales volumes after sharing ideas, failures, and successes.
We are continuing to adapt to new ways, always aiming to be one step ahead of how the market will act to our communication by combining the insight from both our common work and from the daily work each brand does locally.
For Schibsted’s subscription media brands, this way of working gives us a significant common lift in subscription base several times a year. The next step now is to work on planning campaigns so we can boost traffic just before a campaign starts, as we did in the fall of 2017 with great success for Aftenposten.