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IMS UPDATE

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Solving a Top Marketing Mistake

MarketingMistakeAggressively pursuing a target audience is not a marketing mistake; pursuing too many is.

As product and options continue to grow in virtually every industry, you can’t be everything to everyone. It’s vital to precisely identify which specific target market segments will yield the greatest return on investment.

It’s better to own three segments than be an-also ran in 10. Then you can think about expanding your marketing efforts.

Here are some things Integrated Marketing Services and our wholly-owned research company, American Opinion Research, have learned about finding the audiences with the most potential.

  • Market research is the most used and most effective approach to identifying your best target audiences. Research will pinpoint the unique groups which represent the greatest sales potential. Focus on those, and you’ll be investing your marketing dollars where they will produce the best results.
  • Determine what really motivates these targeted customers to make purchase decisions. Sure, productivity, cost, prior experience, referrals, product features, etc. are all major considerations. But motivations are often emotional as well as practical; security and insecurity, confidence, pride, etc. In fact, a wide variety of research has shown that emotional benefits often outweigh products or services when making a purchase decision. Again, research can identify these hot buttons.

Use this information (with your agency, if you have one) to develop precise targeted marketing messages that will motivate customers in each segment, but all under the umbrella of your overall brand positioning.

  • Strategic marketing starts with choosing segments with the most immediate sales potential, then developing and conveying marketing messages that resonate with buyers. But you can’t stop here.
  • Continue to prove and support your leadership in the segments you’ve chosen. Developing white papers, partnering with key opinion leaders on articles and projects, sharing industry research, media outreach, etc. all help build credibility paid advertising cannot.

In other words, aim the arrow at the bullseye.

LoisKaufman_200x200
Lois Kaufman, Ph.D.
President, Integrated Marketing Services

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Keeping Customers Longer

KeepingCustomersLongerEvery company wants to attract new customers and build market share. But sometimes they forget one of the cardinal rules of marketing: it’s easier to keep a client than attract a new one.

This is particularly true for business-to-business marketing. It takes a lot of time, effort and money to acquire a new client (sometimes six to 10 times) more than keeping a current one.

We conduct customer engagement studies in all types of industries; pharmaceuticals, medical devices, education, media and many others. In virtually every industry we are able to identify “customers at risk,” (those most likely to stop using your products or services) and develop strategies to retain them. However, engagement research goes well beyond typical customer satisfaction research.

Often, the main reason customers leave has nothing to do with quality or service.

We’ve found:

  • The old cliché, “Out of sight, out of mind,” is the kiss of death for retaining customers. A frequent complaint, “They only come to see me when they want an order.”

Retention is all about engagement, and keeping in touch with your customers is key to engagement. It doesn’t have to be every day. A regular phone call, providing helpful information (white papers, issues in the news, “how to”, industry intelligence, and industry stories in the news) will help make a client believe you care.

  • Remember to thank clients for their business.

Sales people sometimes do this (but just sometimes), but rarely do executives bother to contact a client and thank him or her for their business. This will set your company apart from others.

  • Monitor customer experiences.

Identify customer problems before they become a crisis, and then fix the problem. You’ll find out customers stick around longer.

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Anthony Casale
CEO, Integrated Marketing Services

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The Truth About the Research “Black Box”

BlackBox
Market research firms sometimes claim they have a unique, super accurate analysis tool housed in a mysterious “black box.”

That black box doesn’t exist.

Most research companies use the same approaches to data collection and analysis, whether it be multiple regression, discriminant analysis, conjoint, cluster analysis, MaxDiff or another one of the variety of analytic approaches.

Clearly, analytics is at the heart of effective research. But the success of a project depends as much on what happens at the beginning of the research process, as at the end; and this is what really separates one research firm from another.

Here, based on our experience conducting hundreds of research projects, are some issues and solutions to look for to get the greatest return on your research investment and make your research more actionable:

1.    The need to better understand the client’s business and industry

Understanding the goals and objectives of a research project is absolutely essential, but you can’t stop there.

If a firm conducts secondary research as part of the process it can learn more about:

  • Industry concerns and opportunities
  • How the client positions itself and its products/services
  • How competitors position themselves and their products/services
  • Corporate and product image among current and potential customers

These secondary issues can be researched online, but a growing source of this intelligence is “social listening.”

By monitoring relevant social media conversations, we can learn a lot about the industry, the client and competitors. This information; alone, helps get the research project headed in the right direction.

2.    Questionnaire design: The key to successful research

Researchers often focus on the technical aspects of market research, and rightfully so.

However, when research projects don’t succeed, it’s usually because the exact questions needed to get the exact information needed to make informed decisions are not asked.

Some common issues:

  • Not prioritizing the most important issues

In too many studies, questions are asked because they are “interesting.” Interesting doesn’t always mean useful. We often ask, “What exactly can you do with the results?” If there is no good answer it generally means it’s not a good question.

One way to prioritize issues is to make two lists. In one column note the top five problems, concerns, or important questions you need to answer within the next two years. Then, list very specific information needed to make each decision. Compare the priorities, selecting the most common, and you also have the questions you need to ask.

This is a simple, but effective approach.

  • Avoid the smorgasbord approach to market research

It’s common for researchers to deal with client teams, members of which often have different interests and concerns, many of whom want to see those concerns included in the research project. Too often, this results in asking a little about a lot, but not in enough about on any single topic to provide the answers you need to make accurate decisions.

It’s important to begin at the very start with the most important issues, cover them in enough depth and, if questionnaire time allows, start adding other topics.

3.    Consider, in advance, which analytical approaches may be used

As stated above, there are many analytic approaches available. Considering which one(s) you may use is not only vital to questionnaire design, it helps keep focus on the prime objective throughout the research process.

4.    Don’t settle for data dumps

Anyone can present numbers, and that’s what many presentations are.
Insist your presentations include specific findings, conclusions and recommendations as part of the report.

Remember, it’s not the numbers that count, but what they mean.

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Anthony Casale
CEO, Integrated Marketing Services

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Recapturing former customers; some not gone for good

FormerCustomersThink about the customers you’ve had and lost over the past five years. Then think about what it would mean to your business to recapture just a small percentage of them.

That’s often the result of a good customer reacquisition program. It’s generally faster, less expensive and more efficient to reacquire an old customer than develop a new one.

Here are some approaches we’ve found:

Review five years of your customer lists; determine which are the best former customers to target, those with the most potential to win back

Give preference to those with which you had a good relationship.

Don’t forget about the rest, but focus first on those which you have the best prospects of reacquiring.

You also have to ask yourself a hard question: do you want this customer back?

We all want to win as many customers as possible, but some are very difficult to work with, and can even disrupt the morale of your staff. Others demand more work than the budget justifies, sometimes, it’s just a bad fit.

Find out why they stopped buying your products or services

“Stop studies” among former customers can determine why they really quit (not what they say top-of-mind) and how to get them back. Often the reasons have nothing to do with quality and service, or even price.

Competitors may have been more persistent at staying in contact, or the customer doesn’t sense you considered it important to your company. Very often you simply haven’t differentiated yourself from competitors:

If there was a problem with your products or services, fix it, visit the former client, apologize and explain how you have corrected the problem. Ask for another opportunity.

If possible, think of something you did or shared…” What was the name of that restaurant we…” or, “I was talking to…and your name came up.” Or, simply say you haven’t worked together for a while and you want to see how to get back together.

You may have to take a few small projects or orders to start rebuilding your relationship.

Regardless, targeting former customers may be one of your best strategies for attracting new ones.

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Anthony Casale
CEO, Integrated Marketing Services

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Keeping public notices in print; it’s what citizens want

LegalNotices

People in your state want public notices to stay in printed newspapers, not moved to government websites. Market research from American Opinion Research (AOR) proves support for keeping legal ads in print is overwhelming.

LegalStats™ research from AOR has been used in a dozens of states to sway state legislators and local lawmakers away from moving public notices from print.

LegalStats™ research shows:

AORLegalStats_charts

LegalStats™ includes:

  • A powerful, ready-to-use presentation of results
  • A free-of-charge*, presentation of results to your members, state and local officials
  • A press release and materials to promote results

In addition, LegalStats™ measures the use of newspaper products in your state (daily, weekly and online), proving they have the greatest reach.

Customize your research to your specific needs

You have the option of adding other topics that, in every state, have shown:

AORLegalStats_charts2AORLegalStats_charts3

  • Consumers consult newspaper advertising most before shopping
  • More than any other source, consumers make actual purchases based on newspaper advertising

Newspaper advertising provides the most “effective advertising reach” of any medium, including radio, television and direct mail

Choose the LegalStats™ program based on your needs and budget:

Number of interviews: 400 (accurate to within plus or minus 5 percentage points), 600 (+/- 4 pp), 800 (+/- 3.5 pp), 1000 (+/- 3 pp)

Interview lengths: 15 Minutes (average length of LegalStats™ research); can expand to 20 minutes and 25 minutes

AOR will design the study that best fits your needs.

 *Except for out-of-pocket travel expenses

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Anthony Casale
CEO, Integrated Marketing Services

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The Origin of Five Amazing Marketing Ideas

The Marlboro Man: Great Cowboy_websuccess, but with a downside

The iconic Marlboro Man marketing campaign, considered one of the most successful ever, began in 1955 to convince males that smoking filtered cigarettes was not feminine (they were first introduced as a woman’s cigarette). The ads originally used a number of different characters, but the rugged cowboy image stuck. Ironically, four men appearing in the Marlboro ads died of smoking-related causes, according to the Los Angeles Times, but not before several appeared in anti-smoking commercials.

watch_webWhat time is it really?

Although there are some variations, watches in advertisements are generally set at 10:10. One reason, the hands resemble a happy face.

Why wear jeans on Fridays?jeans_web

Although generally considered a relatively new development, dress-down Friday actually began about three generations ago as a way to boost worker morale. It really took off in the 70s, when clothing manufacturers began promoting it as a way to increase sales.

ring_web1Diamonds weren’t forever

Before World War II, diamond engagement rings were relatively rare; now, they’re almost the rule. What happened? Sales took off when the De Beers® diamond cartel launched a huge campaign linking diamonds with engagements, according to the BBC. The campaign was specially aimed at women and even suggested the ring should cost two-month’s salary. Not sure if that works today.

A sweet campaign

The legend of St. Valentine has been around for more two thousand years; the tradition of giving candy is much more recent. In the mid-1choc_web800s, Richard Cadbury, of the Cadbury Candy Company, launched a large marketing campaign tying chocolate to the celebration of Valentine’s Day to help launch a new company line. Cadbury also designed the first candy box, including the elaborate boxes in which Valentine candy was sold. FYI, in Japan, women sometimes give chocolates to men.

TonyCasale_200x200
Anthony Casale
CEO, Integrated Marketing Services

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Increase Sales By Tapping Into Customer Emotions

iStock-542821252_webIt used to be said “nobody ever got fired for buying IBM.”

IBM wasn’t really selling business machines, although those were its products; it was selling security. IBM was then considered “the best”, and purchasers felt nobody lost their job for buying the best.

  • Geico isn’t selling insurance, it’s selling piece of mind
  • Mercedes isn’t just selling cars; in addition to other benefits of driving a Mercedes it’s selling self-worth and prestige

Mercedes current campaign, “The best or nothing,” plays into these emotions.

To help increase the sales of SUVs among females, an automaker once ran a commercial showing a woman at home alone with just her child. It was dark and rainy but she had to drive to the hospital, bad weather or not, when her child suddenly became ill.

The commercial showed a video of the SUV in her driveway in the rain, and the voiceover asked, “What would you like to have in your driveway tonight?”

The commercial was actually selling safety and security.

How many cell phone ads have you seen promising to connect users. They are appealing to the emotion of “belonging”.

Psychology is defined as “the science of mind and behavior,” and few things are more important in marketing than motivating customer behavior.

Understanding the psychology of buyer groups allows us to understand and tap into their emotions. In fact, a wide variety of research shows that emotions play a more important role in a purchase decision, business-to-consumer or (as with the IBM buyer above) business-to-business.

American Opinion Research (AOR), a division of Integrated Marketing Services, once conducted research for a company targeting healthcare professionals and institutions to increase sales of its medical device. In a research study of doctors and buyers, AOR asked, “What brand of (the specific type of equipment) would you want if a friend or relative were on the operating table?” and why.

The results provided vital insight into customers’ emotional hot buttons, and formed the positioning for a very successful marketing campaign.

Integrated Marketing Services has coined the term “emotional engagement,” to describe this marketing approach, which also usually results in more satisfied, loyal customers.

Emotional engagement is important regardless of the marketing channels you use and whether your company is selling business-to-consumer or business-to-business. Your consumers and potential customers all have emotions.

Here, based on our experience, are some ways to build emotional engagement:

  • Start with market research; most successful campaigns do

Sure, you can learn something by simply talking with customers, but the vast majority have a difficult time expressing their feelings, and almost never articulate how these feeling turn into emotions.

Traditional focus groups are also ineffective; placed in a room with other people participants often lean toward conformity.

Today’s, more sophisticated market research techniques go well beyond measuring customer wants and needs, using more advanced psychographic analysis to pinpoint emotional messages that will motivate buying decisions. We can then segment audiences into mutually exclusive groups, each of which respond to different messages whether they are user groups, procurement officers, C-suite executives or others.

This type of research can also identify potential new products and services.

  • Focus on the results of using your products or services, and not the products themselves. There’s nothing emotional about most products
  • Despite what many marketers believe, it’s ok to be negative

Negatives prompt such emotions as fear, anxiety and insecurity. Providing a positive alternative or solution to a negative can change these emotions to peace of mind, confidence, security – all buying motivators and differentiators for your products and services.

Remember the Federal Express commercial showing an employee being reprimanded by his boss because an important package wasn’t delivered on time. The commercial then showed the FedEx logo with the voiceover, “When it absolutely, positively has to get there overnight.”

That's security!

The message also differentiated FedEx from competitors.

  • The right images can help convey your message

But, be very selective. Avoid the common mistake of choosing a visual because it’s pretty; make sure it advances your message.

  • It’s particularly important to incorporate an emotional appeal in digital marketing, which tends to be more impersonal

Videos with an emotional connection are shared more often than those that don’t, but they need to be short and to the point. Online testimonials focusing on the impact of a product can spark an emotional response, including belonging, surprise, and others.

Based on Integrated Marketing Services’ experience, a few of the emotions which have proven to affect business buying decisions include, confidence, self-respect, fear, security and insecurity, envy, compassion, hope, disapproval, optimism, annoyance, anger, aggressiveness, optimism, trust, apprehension, and others.

The trick is to determine which of these emotions, or one of many others, motivates your target buyers.

Contact Anthony Casale at 609-683-9055 ext. 202 or email acasale@imsworld.com

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Anthony Casale
CEO, Integrated Marketing Services

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Making Trade Shows Pay Off

People at an ExhibitionMany trade shows fail to provide a positive return on investment, even before the booth is shipped. Here’s why:

  • Poor pre-show planning: entice potential customers to your booth, don’t just hope they walk by and stop in. Many trade shows will provide a list of attendees to vendors. Contact them three or four weeks ahead, try to set up a meeting or attract them by offering a personal demonstration of your product or some other incentive. Follow up with an email blast a week before the show. Good pre-show planning also provides the opportunity to build your company’s awareness and credibility by arranging speaking opportunities (needs to be done months or even a year in advance) and setting up interviews with trade media at the conference.
  • Wasting money on expensive paper brochures: Most end up in a trash can. Go digital. Offer your information on a thumb drive; better yet, offer to send it digitally after the show, but customize email communications so as not to appear generic. This type of follow up can be even more effective if you can identify the attendees’ needs while talking with him or her at your booth. This also allows you to collect business cards at the show, which can be added to your marketing database.
  • Lack of post-show marketing: It’s amazing how many trade show leads are dumped in a file with nobody following up. Assign one person to ensure every lead is contacted within days, no longer than a week after the show, which will convey professionalism and efficiency and, many times result in sales. Otherwise leads go quickly cold.

Provide an experience at the show, don’t just invite attendees into your booth to talk.

If possible, allow them to interact with your products or experience your services which leads to customer engagement. Touch screens and interactive demonstrations generate interest and attract people to you booth.

Finally, measure return on investment after the show and you have followed up. This will help you determine if the show is worth attending next year, or, you have to refine your marketing approach.

Contact Anthony Casale at 609-683-9055 ext. 202 or email acasale@imsworld.com

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Anthony Casale
CEO, Integrated Marketing Services

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Consumer or B to B; Companies Gain Advantage Through Social Listening

iStock-500395310Right now, there may be dozens, hundreds or even thousands of your customers and potential customers sharing information and experiences about your products and services; and about your competitors.

There is probably no more useful information than customer feedback to develop effective marketing strategies, gain competitive advantage and increase customer satisfaction. And, it's right in public for you to see—online.

More companies are listening online to monitor customers and competitors, but most are a long way from taking full advantage of social listening to increase satisfaction, build market share and develop competitive advantages.

If you’re not engaged in social listening, or not using it to its potential, you’re not only missing what customers are saying about you, your products, services and competitors, but also opportunities to:

  • Understand customers’ pain points and needs to create more actionable marketing strategies
  • Build customer engagement and satisfaction, even among those currently dissatisfied
  • Identify and reach key influencers, particularly important to business-to-business companies
  • Build credibility, and be perceived as the leader in your industry
  • Better position against competition
  • Evaluate marketing and promotional programs
  • Understand “unmet” needs, key to developing new products and services
  • Understand your image, and the image of competitors

On the other hand, competitors are also using social listening to learn about your company, and developing their own strategies.

Social Media: The New Intelligence

Marketing today is increasingly driven by customers, true for both business-to-business and consumer companies. They have more choices. Shopping information sources are soaring, allowing companies and consumers to evaluate these buying choices before they are made.

Consumers and customers constantly talk with one another online, sharing experiences, perceptions and recommendations, both pro and con.

According to research by American Opinion Research:

  • After email, social media usage easily rates as the No. 1 Internet activity
  • Almost two-thirds of adults search social media before shopping or making a purchase decision, higher among millennials (adults between about 29 and 36)—a must-reach group for many companies, consumer and business-to-business

In addition, the vast majority of social media users rate “user generated content” as extremely credible, more trustworthy than advertising. They’re listening and paying attention to each other.

Social listening is now a must, not an option.

Developing a Social Listening Program

iStock-534428933_smSocial listening is not an end onto itself. Social listening is an extension of your branding and marketing programs designed to provide timely, actionable information to help defend and extend your brand and build sales and market share and customer satisfaction.

Data is just data unless it is analyzed and presented in a way that’s timely, useful and actionable. By analyzing comments you can gain vital insights and identify trends affecting your company and your industry.

There are, however, important, and often missed, nuances to building a successful social listening program.

  • Use social listening to understand your various customer groups

It's vital to segment comments by various audiences.

Whether they realize it or not, most companies have more than one audience. The most effective social listening strategies develop, understand and analyze strategies to reach your multiple target audiences.

  • Focus on customer intensity

Understand intensity of social media comments; what drives customer action, as opposed to just talk. The more intense, the more important it is to take immediate action. There are very accurate approaches to measure intensity.

  • Analyze emotion

Emotional comments often reveal drivers and pain points that prompt satisfaction and dissatisfaction with your company. Measure, understand and act on emotion.

  • Take action

Social listening is just an exercise unless you do something with it. Social listening gives you the information to revise your marketing plan, if necessary, tweak promotions, develop strategies to turnaround dissatisfied customers, etc.

They key is do something.

For more information, contact Lois Kaufman at 609-683-9055 ext. 203 or email lkaufman@imsworld.com

LoisKaufman_200x200
Lois Kaufman, Ph.D.
President, Integrated Marketing Services

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Part 2: Retaining Readers; It’s Not Too Late

Strategies that won't break the bank

Part 1 of this article focused on some of the most important, but lesser known, reasons consumers are leaving newspapers:

  • Newspapers need to do a better job differentiating their products; many consumers are confused what they’re offering, what content they provide, and on what platforms.
  • Many newspaper brands have deteriorated; most consumers don’t consider printed newspapers, or their websites, as their primary sources of local news; which is a fact but wrong.
  • Newspapers not only do less marketing than many other industries, much of what they do doesn’t engage consumers, focusing more on product features than reader benefits; which are much more important.

Fortunately, there are strategies to increase reader retention and frequency without breaking the bank. Digital may be the future, but print still pays the bills, so hold onto as many readers as long as you can.

Our findings are based on thousands of interviews conducted in markets across the nation by American Opinion Research (AOR), of Princeton, N.J.

Everything Old Gets New Again

iStock-496277488A large majority of former subscribers, and about half of current subscribers, believe printed newspapers and their websites provide pretty much the same information. And, sometimes they do right down to the lead story. This perception is costing newspapers print readership and digital usage.

One solution: develop a content plan to differentiate your platforms and exploit the benefits of both.

Years ago, when I was Deputy Managing of the Pulitzer Prize-winning Times Union in Rochester N.Y., afternoon newspapers like ours faced a constant challenge: how to cover the news when the morning newspaper or television often had it first.

The same is true today for the vast majority of newspapers; they are rarely the first source for breaking news, even local news.

Like the afternoon newspapers of a generation ago, printed newspapers today need to be creative in developing “second day angles,” content that is more timeless, but still timely. Even feature stories should have a “news peg,” a reason why they’re in the paper that day.

And, that requires a new plan for coverage.

Even the venerable Times of London is cutting its breaking news coverage and moving to other types of content, including on its website. Early results look positive.

“People don’t come to us for breaking news; they can go to the BBC and Twitter for that, which is free,” said Alan Hunter, head of digital for The Times, in an Editor & Publisher article titled, “The Times of London is swearing off breaking news.”

“They come to us for the authority of our reporting, opinion and analysis.”

Devising a content plan, just like a business plan, allows you to develop the most effective strategies, based on reader needs, carefully identify opportunities and, perhaps most important, make sure everyone on your staff is on the same page.

The two most important questions in developing a content plan:

  • What information can you provide that consumers can’t get elsewhere; the single-best predictor we have of readership and reader frequency
  • Provide content that’s useful in their daily lives, the second-best readership predictor

One suggestion: people are looking for ways to enhance and improve their lives; AOR research shows that's what is most important to them. Newspapers have generally reported actions and issues, not answers, which feed the perception that newspapers don’t provide unique information and don't care, and, probably, adds to the appeal of television.

You can change that, but you need a content plan that goes beyond brainstorming. That's not that difficult, but is something most media companies have not considered. This should help differentiate your products, an important priority mentioned in Part 1 of this article.

Identify Unmet Needs

When working with non-media companies, our research often focuses on identifying the “unmet needs” of their target audiences. Many newspapers take a different approach: looking for an audience that wants what they have to offer, rather than developing products people want to buy.

Newspapers can distinguish themselves and be perceived as providing unique, useful information by identifying consumers’ unmet needs and providing that information.

There are different ways to identify unmet needs. One approach we have found successful:

  • Measure the importance of very specific types of content consumers say they "must have".

(Identifying specific content is a must; not just local news, for example, but what types of local news. We also base the analysis on “must have” topics. Simply measuring interest usually doesn’t measure intensity.)

  • Identify the primary source of information for each specific topic consumers must have (including print subscribers)

In a surprising number of cases, consumers have no one dominant source, even for content they care most about. This represents an opportunity.

  • Determine on what platform, print or digital, consumers are most likely to read or access this information, and how best to bundle content so print and digital platforms complement, not duplicate, each other

Do What We Tell Advertisers

Newspapers tell their advertisers to market harder when times are tough. Most do just the opposite.

There are many ways to market and promote without relying on expensive, external marketing plans. And, even those often tend to be poorly positioned and unproductive.

A large New Jersey newspaper once ran an extensive, and expensive, radio campaign promoting the backgrounds and experience of its editorial staff members. The concept: build credibility in the people who bring them the news.

Nobody cared, and it didn't affect image or readership.

iStock-502510376Consumers care what’s in the newspaper for them. This is the most important element of any successful marketing program, internal or external.

Tell people why they should care.

Upcoming and same-day content promotion in the newspaper can help retain subscribers and increase reader frequency among single-copy buyers and former subscribers, most of whom still read at least occasionally.

For almost every product, in almost every industry, frequency equals loyalty.

I’ve run several newsrooms and visited more than 100 others as a media researcher and consultant. The vast majority either don’t appreciate the importance of in-paper promotion, or need to do a more effective job.

Just a few strategies:

  • Same-day content promotion: focus on what’s in the newspaper that day to entice readers to spend more time with it, an important predictor of readership
  • Upcoming content promotion: Build anticipation about the unique and useful information that’s going to be in the newspaper, tomorrow, the next day, Sunday, etc.

Clearly, this won’t be breaking news, no longer the strength of newspapers anyway. But virtually every newspaper plans some content in advance. Focus on content that is useful, local and unique, and you can cut churn and increase retention.

If you can’t identify any, there are bigger problems.

Here are some guidelines in making internal marketing more effective:

  • Make a compelling promise there is helpful and useful information inside the newspaper

I remember seeing a magazine cover promoting the story, “The best place for you to invest your last $5,000.”

How would many newspapers promote this story?

Maybe something like, “Personal finance, Page 5d”; no direct promise of personal benefits, useful information and certainly not very compelling.

  • Be short, to the point and engaging; again, promise personally important benefits. Start looking at magazine covers. Most are very good at this, because they live and die on discretionary readers which are more like newspaper readers today.

These strategies are relatively inexpensive, but will be successful if done correctly—with the reader in mind.

Perhaps the best advice I ever received about selling newspapers came from my old boss at USA Today, the late Al Neuharth, USA Today’s founder and then Chairman and CEO of The Gannett Co.

Al walked over to my desk in the USA Today newsroom one evening, handed me a piece of paper and said, “Every one of our stories needs to answer this question."

The question, "Why should I care?”

He was right.

For more on American Opinion Research, click here.

Contact Anthony Casale at 609-683-9055 ext. 202 or email acasale@imsworld.com

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