Category Archives: direct marketing

Hey Gannett, Why Buy More Papers?

networks

As of this writing, it’s quite possible that Gannett has bought Tronc (a.k.a. Tribune Publishing.) As many media watchers know, Gannett has made a series of offers to Tronc this year. Based on a report from Politico Media today, the deal appears to be all but announced.

Whether you’re inside or outside the media business you may be wondering why exactly Gannett is in such a hurry to snap up Tronc, one of the country’s largest metro newspaper publishers. One thing is for sure, it’s not necessarily about publishing more print newspapers.

Newspapers and journalism have been in the midst of a great deal of industry upheaval and change for the past decade. The future of newspaper publishing isn’t about growing print circulation. Rather, the future is about digital (meaning video, really) content distribution to a valued audience of reliable news and content consumers. Metro newspaper publishers are aiming to deepen their relationships, and drive revenue, by providing their loyal news consumers with more content overall and more mobile-friendly content, to be precise.

Tronc owns the Chicago Tribune, the LA Times, the San Diego Union Tribune, the Orlando Sentinel, the South Florida Sun Sentinel and several other large metro papers. In other words Tronc has audiences in several top ten media markets. According to ComScore, Tronc’s online audience exceeds that of the Washington Post and nearly matches Disney. As you might expect, these are among the largest audiences on the web.

Gannett is already the largest newspaper publisher in the county. The purchase of Tronc, with it’s large online audiences, content distribution network and investments in video production,  position Gannett to be a major player in the future of content, information and entertainment. A future that is, more or less, already here.

Post by Jim Jinks

Audi & Tecate: Debate Night In America

debates

As you may have heard, the future of the free world is at stake tonight in the first of this season’s head-to-head Presidential debates. Back in the Fall of 2014, when many thought this election would likely be between Jeb Bush and Hillary Clinton, I thought the debates would be big, even ”Super Bowl” big. After all, this was projected to be an election between yet another Bush and yet another Clinton. Little did I know, it would be Trump and Clinton and the hype for this first debate would be more akin to the Super Bowl and the World Cup combined!

Expectations are running high for an entertaining and decisive evening. Indeed, the viewership is expected to be 100 million or more. Given the size of the anticipated audience, this debate has become one of the largest TV and advertising (to a lesser degree) events of the year. Unlike the Super Bowl, however, you can’t really watch the debates for the halftime show or just the commercials. The debates are commercial free but the pre- and post-game network TV slots are going for $250k and up.

Here are two notable spots, you’ll see tonight, that perfectly tie-in to the moment:

Audi

Tecate

Considering the debates are about 90 minutes, there will be many words spoken tonight by the candidates. But these :30 spots from Audi and Tecate, when all is said and done, may actually convey more to swing viewers/voters.

Happy viewing!

Post by Jim Jinks & Darcy Mauke

Advertising is Dead

cemetery

I’m sure on a Monday morning, at the beginning of a long week of anticipated sales and prospecting, the last thing anyone would want to read is that their industry is ”dead.” I’ll admit ”Advertising is Dead” is a strange title for a post, especially given that Mediabids is in the advertising business and our last blog post title happened to be  ”6 great ads that prove print isn’t dead.” Obviously advertising isn’t dead but the way many people still think of advertising -meaning the way many of your clients still think of advertising- is very much dead. This is particularly true at the local SMB level where advertising for the purposes of reach (i.e. to get the word out or simply build awareness) is very much dead.

As we all know, digital has been disrupting the advertising business for many years now. To date, the greatest disruption has been to the newspaper and magazine business but lately the bigger story is the disruption in local TV and radio. SMBs have increasingly relied on digital advertising channels – first it was local search ads and now it’s search plus social media advertising. Why?

It’s not that fewer people can be reached by local TV and radio, quite the opposite.

It’s not that local TV and radio have lost all their considerable powers to influence an audience.

It’s not necessarily about the cost of creating TV and radio spots (although for some SMBs this may be an excuse they frequently give to media sales people.)

It’s also not even about the cost of buying local TV or radio time (although it’s not inexpensive.) If advertisers could better measure the impact of local TV and radio, the sticker price would be less of an issue. In other words, what advertisers don’t want to pay for is the unknowns.

Earlier this year, eMarketer announced that digital display ad spending would exceed search spending for the first time. In 2016, digital display ad spending is projected to increase 23% while search spending would grow another 10% this year. The reasons for the growth in digital display are several: the improvement in the user-experience online (or UX as the fancy people call it); the explosion in smart phone adoption; and perhaps most importantly, the ability to better qualify (and CONVERT) traffic and customers through the use of video, rich media and native advertising online.

As I said, advertising in terms of reach is dead. But advertising in terms of conversion, as the eMarketer article suggests, is booming. It’s all about conversion now, especially at the SMB level. Automakers, soft drinks and snack makers, national quick-serve chains and some retailers still need big reach to drive people into store locations. However, many SMBs are much more interested in the conversion of digital traffic to paying customers. This means a mix of media that allow SMBs to qualify callers and site visitors -such as digital display, search, email, social media and PRINT.

Yes, I subtly added print advertising to the list.

It’s true. Print advertising still has a big role to play in our increasingly digital first world, especially for the SMB market.

At Mediabids, our advertisers have conversion rates that are well into double digits (the average is about 40%.) So advertising, as we have long known it, is dead. But what advertisers want from their investment in advertising hasn’t changed much at all – they want to pay for customers at a cost-effective rate. This means that digital and print advertising is most relevant and still kicking.

Post by Jim Jinks

 

Print Ad Success, Happens To Be Just Like Fishing (no kidding!)

Ezra.jpg

I just returned from my annual trip to Alaska, where I did a lot of fishing with my kids. Stay with me for a minute, there is a point to this that relates to marketing in newspapers. I believe, that what I have learned about fishing applies to marketing in newspapers.

Not surprisingly, my kids all like catching fish more than they like waiting for fish to bite. The problem is that a big part of fishing is waiting (I always tell them, “that’s why they call it fishing, not catching”) and having faith that the fish will respond sometime soon. If my kids believe that we have gone to a bad spot or that there is no hope in trying, their attention to detail diminishes. Instead of checking the bait every few minutes, they check every hour. They don’t hold the rods, they put them in the boat’s rod holders. They are less likely to try different techniques or pay attention to where their bait is positioned. In short, fishing is a self-fulfilling prophecy. You are unlikely to be successful, unless you pay attention, which is easier to do when you believe that success is possible.

In an effort to counterbalance the inevitable impatience of children fishing, for the past several years I have manufactured a new “secret spot” that some unnamed but very wise old friend has told me about. I tell my kids that this friend caught monsters at this spot and their enthusiasm rises to a fever pitch. They believe that this spot will produce fishing glory, so they fish harder, are more attentive to detail and are more patient than they would be otherwise. So it is no big surprise that my fictitious “secret spot” always outperforms other areas that we fish.

Fishing is a hard thing to scientifically quantify and there is no doubt that a certain amount of luck factors into a good day of fishing. However, I firmly believe that there are many factors that a fisherperson can control and the expectation of success creates an environment where success is more likely.

Now, stay on the line, I am about to set the hook – marketing in newspapers is very similar to fishing.

As you probably know, we do a lot of response-based print marketing here at Mediabids. In response-based marketing there are two parties who are involved in a transaction. First, there is the advertiser who is trying to generate response for their goods or services. Second, there is the publication, who wants revenue from the results they generate for that advertiser.

Too often, I believe, all parties (and I include Mediabids in this group) don’t expect success for a specific ad in a specific publication. They want success, but they don’t expect it. All parties involved act like my kids when they are fishing in a spot they believe is unlikely to yield results. But attention to detail generates better results in fishing and in newspaper marketing. Maybe the ad would perform better with a different offer or at a different price point? Maybe the ad would generate more response if it ran in a different section of the publication or at a different size or on a different day of the week? Often it is the little things that determine the difference between an ad performing well or below expectations. However, if success is not expected, it is easy to ignore those little things, which only increases the odds of failure. It is too easy to say, “This ad isn’t going to work.” and not try anything. It is like my kids saying, “There are no fish here.”

We should all expect success from print advertising. We have all seen enough success stories to know that print can generate large numbers of highly qualified results. It should happen with every ad we place, but it doesn’t. It is the job of Mediabids, the advertiser and the publication to expect and demand that ads perform well.

Post by Jedd Gould.

Top Podcasts for a Better You

Head Phones

I have been one of those people, at times, that has been indifferent to the emergence of the digital age. I mean, I still read actual books…sometimes I even buy hardcover versions! I know. I know. What a Luddite, right?

But let’s be honest, unless you’re a big gamer, the internet has been -until the past few years- awash in advertising and A LOT of one-dimensional content that can be take it or leave it (there are many exceptions, of course.) In fact, among the most heavily visited sites on the old WWW have been newspaper sites -which is great, don’t get me wrong. But newspaper sites are hardly what all the fuss and promise of the internet has been about, until recently. As many of you likely already know, the latest generation of the internet (are we at 3.0 yet?) is about text, messaging and social media apps and accessing video and audio content. It’s the audio content (a.k.a. podcasts) that we’ll talk a bit more about here today.

Starting in 2015, especially with the popularity of Serial (from the makers of This American Life on NPR), podcasts have really begun to emerge. National Public Radio, the New York Times, Slate, ESPN and several other media outlets have really started to focus on podcast content, not to mention a myriad of other smaller players. After all, the production of podcasts doesn’t necessarily require much of an investment beyond a microphone, a server for storing the files and the time involved. As a media salesperson or an agency staffer, why should you care about podcasts?

Podcast audiences, generally speaking, are still relatively small so selling ad space in them or looking at them as a cornerstone of a media plan is a ways off..in terms of really being a part of the marketing conversation. But as a media seller or an agency staffer, the real value of podcasts to us is more basic – inspiration and education.

At the risk of sounding a little new age, listening to podcasts (like reading books or watching films) can help you be a better you. The exploration of ideas and hearing different perspectives on things that are happening in our world, will only help you -as a media seller- to make connections with others and -as an agency staffer- to be able to think of old problems in new ways. If you haven’t started to take some time for podcasts, the time is now. At the very least, if you’re still something of a Luddite like me, starting now you can still claim to be an early-adopter (even if it’s just barely the case.)

If you’re unsure of where to get started with podcasts, here are five from the worlds of journalism, business, culture, politics and entertainment to consider:

RadioLab

TED Radio Hour

The MOTH

SLATE Political Gabfest

WTF with Marc Maron

 

Post by Jim Jinks

 

Millennials & Boomers

Berlin Wall

I’m of the Gen-X generation. If you don’t really know what that means, don’t worry about it. Despite the fact that MTV, Ferris Bueller and the fall of the Berlin Wall happened on our watch, marketers are almost entirely consumed by the habits of the pre- and post Gen-X generations. You may know them by their more traditional labels – Baby Boomers and Millennials. In fact, based on how much time those of us in marketing and media spend thinking and talking about boomers and millennials, the Gen-X generation is a apparently a mere footnote of demography.  Yes, I’m a little annoyed about this, but I digress.

In print media organizations, especially, there’s a great deal of concern about how the media consumption habits of boomers and millennials differ. People with an axe to grind (digital, TV and radio media sellers, for example) are fond of saying that print’s audience is dying off….as if only older Americans read print. This is, of course, not the story.

The media consumption habits of millennials and boomers do differ, in some ways. But in terms of ”old” media, the differences are not all that significant. In other words, there’s no Berlin Wall separating the two largest generations of the past hundred years (just us Gen-Xers.)

Based on a recent study by Jacobs Media Strategies, these are the percentages of use (at least once per week) for each demographic:

Boomers – Radio (89%), Newspapers (86%) and TV (81%)

Millennials – Radio (80%), Newspapers (71%) and TV (72%)

Also, the Jacobs study reports that tablet, text and Smartphone usage are not all that different between these two groups.

Of course, the spread (15%) between boomers and millennials, for newspaper usage, is widest but it’s not that much different than radio and TV. My point is that the media habits of younger Americans and older Americans, on a macro level, are not that different and it’s untrue that newspaper readers are simply dying off.

But if you’re determined to claim that millennials are so different than the generations that have come before them, I will offer that in terms of podcasts, streaming video, streaming audio and social networks, millennials do use these media by a wide margin over boomers. However, it’s probably just a matter of time before boomers adopt more millennial-like media habits, with regard to these newer technologies. The rapid adoption of Smartphones and tablets among boomers, shows that sometimes old dogs can learn new tricks.

Post by Jim Jinks

 

 

 

 

Top Marketers to Follow @Twitter

I started using Twitter, somewhat, back in 2011. It wasn’t until 2014 that I began to be more of a daily user and started to publish tweets on a regular basis. Twitter launched in 2006 so I was a relatively late adopter -perhaps I should have little to say- but it’s 2016 and especially if you’re a salesperson for a digital and/or print publisher, you really need to be using Twitter by now.

Twitter

It really is an invaluable tool for keeping up with the news of the day, especially in both the publishing and marketing industries. For one thing, your publication’s editorial department is using Twitter. Second, many of your clients are likely using Twitter and the advertising agency buyers you call on are for sure using Twitter. Why aren’t you?

In a less than scientific survey of media reps, these are the three most frequent reasons for not using Twitter:

  1. Why would I use it if I don’t know who to follow?
  2. I don’t think anyone would care what I tweet so why bother?
  3. I already get plenty of industry email newsletters…I don’t have time for Twitter!

Let’s start with #3.

Are you reading those industry email newsletters? If you’re following the knowledgeable people that actually aim to offer their audience valuable insights and support, then it’s relatively easy to glance at Twitter -here and there throughout the day- without it taking too much time or being disruptive to your workflow.

Regarding the second objection to Twitter (”I don’t think anyone would care what I tweet.”), you may be surprised at your own value to others in your industry so don’t hesitate to tweet out if you have an original thought or something to say. But also, no one is forcing you to tweet. You can use Twitter, and it is still valuable to you, even if you never ever respond or share anything on Twitter.

Now #1 is indeed a valid objection and I can relate. Twitter is a little intimidating at first, because after all, we don’t know what we don’t know. But for those of you ready to try something new and you’d appreciate a little help in taking the leap, here’s a few leading voices in marketing to consider following, be inspired by and perhaps learn from on Twitter:

@jeffbullas

@kimgarst

@jaybaer

@dharmesh

@JoePulizzi

Of course, there are at least forty other thought leaders one could follow. But once you get started you’ll learn quickly how to curate your own list.

Be well and good luck!

Post by Jim Jinks (@JimJinksCT and @Mediabids)

 

 

Winning In Local Elections: Three Steps to More ”Political” Sales for Local Print Sellers

2016

This Presidential election season is proving to be one of the most contentious (not to mention utterly bizarre) since perhaps the 1960s. But even in 2016, newspapers continue to be very important and an influential media channel. In the past week, for example, the Washington Post and the Houston Chronicle have made headlines by endorsing Hillary Clinton very early in the general election campaign. They both cited their primary reason as the ”danger” that Trump poses to our country. But while Hillary and Trump get most of the big media attention, as an ad salesperson for a local daily or weekly community paper there are plenty of sales opportunities in races for state and/or local municipal positions and issue campaigns.

As a media buyer by training and as someone active in local politics, here’s my advice to local print ad sellers who want to be rock stars in selling to local political campaigns:

  1. Make Sure They Know You – Contact the local town or county committee chairperson in your area -often these folks may know reporters or editorial personnel at your paper but they’re not likely to know you. Call them -email will likely get ignored- and ask them about the upcoming elections. Committee chairpersons will likely know, and have the direct contact info, for the campaign managers and other key people involved in any and all local races. Elections at the local level are not big ”organizations.” Other than the candidate, there are usually only one to two other people in the inner circle.
  2. Know Your Value To The Campaign – While there are billions being spent on national and statewide elections –see AdAge– campaigns at the local level (even races for the state assembly) are usually on a shoestring. There’s also generally limits to how much a candidate can contribute to their own campaign and at the local level this amount can be very low. Among the largest line items in a local campaign’s budget are for campaign signage, events and direct mail. You have an opportunity to grab some of the direct mail budget but you have to show how you can reach households at a very cost-effective and competitive price point. Also, be sure the powers that be in the campaign know that your newspaper can do the graphic design and ad production work at little to no cost. Don’t let the campaign think they can’t ”do print” simply because they don’t have the ad design expertise.
  3. Run a Special Local Election Supplement – Voters look to newspapers for guidance and information. In reading your pages, voters are actively thinking about the election and the issues that matter. If a campaign has an ad there, it’s not unlike having an AdWords text ad show up in search results on Google. A campaign ad in a local paper is an ideal placement but campaigns sometimes need to be sold on this reality – especially if the candidate is new politics and campaigns. One way to really entice a campaign to advertise in your paper is to run a special election supplement. My local weekly paper sends all the candidates the same set of questions and they use the responses as the main content for a local election supplement that runs the week before the election. Once you have one campaign advertiser….others will follow, believe me. The last thing a political campaign wants to have happen is to be absent when the opposition is present.

Generally speaking, local campaigns really begin in earnest after Labor Day. So forget about Hillary and Trump, now is the time to begin laying the groundwork for garnering a slice of the billions and billions spent in political campaigns in 2016. Good luck!

Post by Jim Jinks.

 

 

Affiliate Summit East

AdobeStock_66358355.jpeg

We’ve covered Affiliate Advertising here on the Print Observer blog in the past…

Here: “Customer Acquisition: Using Online and Offline Affiliate Marketing to Generate New Customers

And here: “Affiliate Marketing – Changing Marketers Expectations of Advertising Results

At Mediabids, we’re uniquely positioned to help advertisers complement their online affiliate programs with our affiliate print program which allows advertisers to pay per response for reaching new customers and prospects in newspapers and magazines.

Our program which includes our exclusive network of thousands of print publications provides a performance-based model through which advertisers can drive calls and sales.

To learn more go to: https://www.mediabids.com/

We’ll be at Affiliate Summit East this coming Monday in NYC.  For any advertisers or partners looking to connect, please email Darcy Mauke at dmauke@mediabids.com.

Open Letter to Media Buyers & Marketers

newspaper machine

Is this picture of newspaper boxes kind of how you think of print? …dreary, old, outdated?

C’mon. Be honest. This is a safe space here.

As a media buyer, agency exec or client-side marketer, the way you think about print media has an enormous impact on the newspaper and magazine industry.

There was yet another sour report today about print revenues. First quarter 2016 newspaper and magazine revenues were down another 3.5-4.5% YOY.

I know many of you have moved on to digital and probably haven’t given much thought to print advertising for some time. I know and it’s not entirely your fault. After all, it’s tough to not follow the herd when the stakes and demands are so high. It’s also especially tough, when you may not know better.

By largely turning our backs on print (and instead pouring dollars into digital display) we’ve missed a huge opportunity to be heroes.

Mediabids Conversion

This chart shows close rates and the average length of calls for a few of our advertisers that deliver the highest call volumes. To be clear, the decimal point is in the correct place. All of our conversion rates start with TWO numbers before the decimal point.

By comparison, here’s the latest conversion rates for digital display ads.

Digital Display Click Thru Rates

If you’ve been spending time in digital media, these conversion rates are very familiar and may be the norm. From my perspective, these conversion rates are just north of ”why bother?”

Print advertising is a huge opportunity to deliver real results and value to your clients. If you haven’t already, perhaps it’s time to update your view of print media.

Sincerely,

Jim Jinks