Newsletter No 8 29 November 2005
Advertising & Marketing:
“Master the Obvious” to Capture New Readers

Newspapers today, whether in developed or emerging markets, have to fight for readership. Mike Smith, managing director of the Media Management Center in the United States gave a number of concrete examples of how newspapers of all sizes are fighting, and winning, this battle. His overall advice to newspapers: “Master the obvious”.

»Multi-Media Marketing
The Lawrence Journal in the United States has a circulation of 20,000. It has successfully boosted its readership by mastering multi-media marketing to maintain and capture new readers from a relatively small readership pool. An example of how the newspaper successfully used its newspaper and website together to draw in new readers is this: The newspaper ran with a story on the decision of a local football stadium to increase its ticket prices. The price increase was featured as a main story in the newspaper. To complement the story, the newspaper added a feature on its website that would calculate the total price increase over the year for seasons ticket holders. The website had another interactive component. Students were hired to sit in the football stadium and take photos of the view of the pitch from each seat. Viewers could then click on the seat in a plan featured on the website and see the view they would have from each seat in the stadium. By adding these multimedia features, the newspaper was able to turn a single story into a major attention-grabbing marketing strategy.

»Use Technology
A newspaper in Santiago, Chile distinguished itself from its competitors by the way it presented itself online. Viewers can download each individual page of the newspaper from the website, including adverts, and it can also be downloaded section-by-section. In this way, the newspaper has been able to get an idea of what the readers want to read and what advertisements readers are actually looking at – something that is more difficult to determine in the hard copy of the newspaper.

»Blow up the Newspaper
Sometimes, when circulation has suffered a consistent decline, the best plan is to start over from scratch. This is what the The Spectator in Hamilton, Ontario (Canada), decided to do after years of declining readership. The newspaper decided to target particular segments of the population, particularly women and younger readers. It had the added challenge of doing all of this without incurring any new expense. The newspaper executed a complete redesign. It collapsed its traditional 6 sections into 4. It converted its sports section from a broadsheet to a tabloid and killed the business, entertainment and lifestyle section. It launched a daily, broadsheet magazine, converted the weekend comics section into a separate tabloid and launched a new weekend section of national and international analysis. 40 percent of editorial staff found themselves in new jobs or substantively different duties. The newspaper also physically reorganized the newsroom.

After two days, overall circulation for The Spectator increased by 3.9 percent. The percentage of female readership increased 7 percent and the percentage of baby boomer readers increased by 8 percent.

»Deepen the Experience
Clarin newspaper in Argentina devised a strategy to create content along the lifespan of the reader, from the “cradle to the grave” It set out its objectives as such: Recruit new readers, retain existing readers and increase the amount of time people spend on the newspaper. In keeping with this strategy, the newspaper has a number of supplements geared toward young readers. Content to readers of all ages below 19, aiming even to create a newspaper reading habit among those as young as 4 years old. For the 20 to 29 year olds, the newspaper designed its content to reflect their rapidly changing lifestyles. Music and cinema features heavily for this target age group, including a special sports section. For readers in their 30s – many of whom are first time home buyers or high end renters - the newspaper features sections on architecture and housing. For readers in the 50-plus category, the newspaper aims to provide high quality content and analysis, as well as themes such as improving the quality of life in Buenos Aires. This strategy has been very lucrative: Today Clarin is one of the most successful dailies in the Spanish speaking world.

»Satisfy the Core
The Chicago Tribune realized early on that their core readers were not price sensitive – that is they would be willing to accommodate a price increase. Thus it decided to exploit the loyalty of its core readers by creating a loyalty program, which was essentially a subscribers incentive program. This strategy included a subscriber advantage program, which included discounted tickets to sports games, courses and other leisure events, free CDS and coupons and products from advertisers. In addition, aficionados of the daily crossword puzzle could find out the results to the puzzles the same day the newspaper was published by checking the results on line. All of this was offered through a special members section of the newspaper’s website. Currently there are 30,000 readers signed up to the newspaper’s loyalty program.