Home' Local Media Today : November 2014 Contents 14 | LOCAL MEDIA TODAY | November 2014
Q&A Susan Azzopardi
CONTINUED FROM PAGE 2
“Kevin Kamen works relentlessly. Whenever he speaks about the
publishing business or companies, I pay close attention.”
Paul Tash (Mr. Tash is Chairman of the Pulitzer Board
and CEO/Chairman of the Tampa Bay Times.), August 1, 2014
“Kevin Kamen is one of the world’s best-known and most-prolic brokers
of media properties and companies.”
Gypsy C. Gallardo, CEO/Publisher of
The Power Broker Magazine, July 30, 2014
Whose judgement do they trust?
“Kevin Kamen correctly predicted as far back as 2010 that a buyer would
be willing to pay $42 million to $51 million for The Journal ... ‘They paid
about $4 million to $5 million more than they should have,’ Kamen told
WPRI.com ... Kamen suggested Gatehouse was motivated to pay a premium
in part to ensure a competing newspaper chain didn’t get The (Providence)
Ted Nessi, WPRI 12, Providence, Rhode Island, July 23, 2014
Considering selling your publication? You
should have your title nancially valued
correctly and listed for sale. Call or come visit
Kamen & Co. Group Services to assist you.
KAMEN & CO. GROUP SERVICES
NY (516) 379-2797 • FL (727) 786-5930 • FAX (516) 379-3812
626 RXR Plaza, Uniondale, NY 11556
Whose voice do
industry leaders seek?
Just ask them.
Q At the time of your nomination for the LMA 2014 Digital Sales Manager of the Year
award, your revenue gains in digital were impressive at $350K over prior year. What
are some of the strategies and products you’ve created to move the needle?
A The first thing we did this year was insist on 100% participation from all of our sales
reps. This was actually a metric that came from corporate, who had also insisted on
an average monthly billing of $4000 per rep. Based on this, and taking into consideration
what each rep had billed the previous year, we set specific digital targets for our reps and
managed them. We offered incentives for monthly and quarterly achievement and we
constantly kept their personal targets in the forefront. We met with reps regularly to review
strategies, built client proposals together, offered “printernet” bundles or special impression
campaign pricing to support our goals.
Once we had achieved our 100% participation we stepped our game up and focused on
growing our billings, rewarding reps who sold 1 million impression campaigns.
As our annual target became closer we started to count down our dollars to target with a
large visual in the department. We achieved this target just last week! In 2014 we are on track
to bill $1.2 million. Total billings in 2013 were $746K.
Q What metrics do you watch and how do you use these metrics to maximize revenue?
A We watch the numbers. What is our target, how far from target is any particular rep,
how many impressions are available, is our special position inventory SOLD OUT,
and then we react.
Q Can you share an example or two of how you work with the
editorial division to create sales opportunities? And, please
describe some of the multi-media offerings that result from these collabo-
A We have collaborated on a number of projects with our Editorial
team, particularly around special community events. What’s great
is that our Editorial team is always mindful of including banner inventory
on any niche site that they are developing. For instance, we currently have a
SpecVotes site for our municipal election that has banner inventory.
One of the best multi-media collaborations was our War of 1812 project.
We produced a broadsheet section and incorporated the layar technology
within our editorial and advertising content. This was a terrific way to add in more visual
content including video. We also created a video trivia contest that we promoted within the
section and on thespec.com.
Editor’s note: Layar technology is an interactive print solution. Images and content can be
enhanced. It allows you to associate additional links, slideshows and videos etc with print and
image content. Example: In the War of 1812 project, they had a photo of a soldier trio. When
you use the layar app technology and hover your smartphone/ipad over this image, a video
Q I understand you charge your reps with varying digital sales tasks depending on their
selling styles and digital comfort levels. Tell us about this.
A Not all sales reps are created equal and at least from a digital perspective it was
obvious that there were early adapters and then there were a lot of other folks. For
some the only pressure we applied was to have at least one digital billing in the month,
regardless of the amount. Forcing the sale was not going get us the buy in or the results
long-term. We let them bite off little amounts, the bundles for example that were easy to
For others the expectations looked different. We coached them to be collaborative with
their clients and develop annual customized multi-media programs. This required a lot of
four-legged calls but had many benefits. Each time was an opportunity to coach and develop
the reps as well. This worked amazingly well with our Real Estate team. Many of the local
builders were further ahead with their marketing tactics and were looking for digital solu-
tions. Print was threatened and there were many dollars at risk in this vertical. We met with
every builder to determine their goals and objectives and positioned multi-product bundles
to secure our dollars.
Q How has your sales culture changed since the focus has shifted to digital? How do
you get your reps to recognize that multi-media is part of the core portfolio?
A As well as things are going from both a revenue and budget perspective, it is
sometimes disappointing when you consider the opportunity vs. the dollars. There
is lots of work to do. There is still a percentage of the team that don’t position digital as a
regular part of our day to day selling. But, I feel very satisfied that we have turned a corner
and are heading in the right direction. We have challenged print reps to do what they
know...sell! Making it second nature is the next step. We focused on removing the barriers
to make digital selling easier. The next step is theirs. We always tell them, you know this
stuff. Just ask for the order.
Q On the client side of the equation, how are you helping local merchants understand
the importance of multi-media marketing and how do you manage their expecta-
tions as they get more involved in the services that you and your team are offering?
A We really do try to get in front of as many clients as possible. We are trying to sell
multiple solutions and that is not something managed through email or on the
Our client information sessions are very effective and we have at least a 50% closing rate
when we have our clients in. Whether they buy or not, we still view it as an opportunity to
share information and educate them about our product suite. We have been on many, many
four-legged calls with our reps. We share results and best practices with our clients and en-
courage bundling of solutions for optimal results.
Managing expectations is still a challenge sometimes but one thing that is vital is that we
remain connected with our clients, not be afraid to share results and offer alternative solu-
tions to drive the campaign further.
Q Finally, can you share a ‘best practice’ or two from your experience in the digital
arena? Would be especially interested to learn about integrative solutions or
packages that have worked especially well.
A We have positioned many integrated bundles to our sales team this year and it has
been a very effective way to add digital into the equation. We include value add
within these bundles. The bundles make it easier for reps to sell multiple products at one
time to their clients so this solution actually has multiple benefits. While the bundles can be
customized, clients cannot opt out of the digital portion.
We also have recently started to forward interactive pdf sales sheets to our clients. These
sales sheets offer multiple products that the client can simply check the “best fits” for their
business and forward back to the rep. This has had surprising results. It is a particularly good
way for those reps who may not feel comfortable selling digital to ensure that the message
is reaching the client. I think a common fear with reps initially was that they were going to
lose print dollars to digital and they felt they needed to protect this from happening. I think
through offering these integrated solution packages, both the rep and the client have seen the
value of combining these two powerful mediums and illustrates how effective the
pairing can be.
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