Deseret Digital Media, Denver Post take 2 paths to integrated sales, advertising


As the world of print rapidly shifts into the digital realm, discussions are happening in meeting rooms around the world about how best to adapt to the changes. Most of these discussions revolve around content, and how and where it should be offered. Speakers Michael Petroff and Kirk MacDonald offered a different topic to think about, however, and shifted the discussion to sales and advertising.  

Just like content delivery, the world of sales and advertising has experienced the print-to-digital transition. This leaves media companies with the task of developing a new sales strategy that offers advertising clients multiple possibilities across multiple platforms, giving them the most return on their investment. The biggest question facing executives in developing the new model is: do you integrate new media experts with the traditional “legacy” sales reps, or not?

Michael Petroff, vice president of Deseret Digital Media in the sales and revenue department, presented to INMA delegates the business model that has been successful for them. Their model contains sales strategies that are based on the unique values within each platform. Their departments are separate in almost every way – separate physical locations, profit and loss divisions, direct sales teams, content, product and tech teams and management structures. This allows for experts in each of the new media platforms to provide their expertise where legacy sales reps may lack, while still collaborating their efforts.

“Even though we have a separate company, we still have a very close relationship with sales reps to promote the company,” Petroff said.

DDM, a company based in Salt Lake City, has seen great success by separating their digital agency from other divisions within the company. The company bases its model off of the success it observes in other top companies, and has profited in doing so.

“We have a separate digital division, and the (ad) agencies are very receptive to this approach,” Petroff said.

DDM produces, the second-largest broadcast news and information site in the United States, with 236 million page views, just behind

Kirk MacDonald of the Denver Post offered a different solution in how to adjust sales and advertising models to new platforms. MacDonald, executive vice president of advertising, marketing and digital sales, said they consider themselves more of a multi-media company with a printing press. They have chosen to integrate their sales teams and have seen great success as well.

“We have the largest audience in our regional marketplace,” MacDonald said.

The Denver Post used what they call an ABCD model, which stands for audience, bundle, creative and deal. This model is mostly audience-based whereas DDM’s model is more content-based, MacDonald said. Their model offers a bundle option and exposes advertisers to multiple verticals, he said.

“If they want to move between the mediums, we have the ability to take them there,” MacDonald said.

MacDonald said that he believed the changing media consumption habits need to be acknowledged, and those who are reluctant to change will be left behind.

“Legacy sales people that don’t believe they can change won’t make it,” MacDonald said. “And those who do can make it.”

Both presentations offered the respective companies’ organisational structures, CRM systems, hiring philosophies, product-agnostic sales engines and print and digital marketing solutions, and each company has experienced success. Both speakers agreed that the important thing to recognize is that change is here and adaptation to that change is important. MacDonald said that the model they currently use will not be the last, and it will continue to evolve.

“There are lots of different models to choose from – just pick a model and execute it,” MacDonald said.


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