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Gordon Borell1s presentation that linked this concept
was solid and a highlight of the tour.
Specific course of action and takeaways...
Use Borell1s compass reports to follow the money
(sales opportunities) and analytics to determine
engagement. The key is to focus our resources on
building communities, creating good content, and
connecting our advertisers with customers. We do
this right, and our business will be solid regardless
of current or future media platforms.
The internet and tech resources are a utility.
Partnership with Google works as a cost effective
resource for tech and development, analytics,
SEO, SEM and more. We are exploring ways to
test Google1s revenue
ing its new community
survey (revenue share)
in select markets. Smart
use of strategic partner-
ships was an overriding
theme of our trip.
We see growth oppor-
tunities in expanding
our ‘agency’ support in
print, video and online
to traditional and non-
traditional advertisers. Social, local and mobile
packages are key. We recognize the value of our
brand as a trusted source in each of our markets.
Partnership for production and services are being
We believe the future is responsive design on the
web (more than apps) that work across all platforms
and screen size. We plan to continue down the path
of an ‘all digital’ media package for our subscribers
as a revenue gain.
Fisher and others shared their persistent focus on
training and its importance with new technology
and practices. iPhone integration as the ‘best
camera is the one in the pocket’ to news report-
ing and video (photos more than video) will be
explored here. The importance of newsrooms
making all content ‘share friendly’ was a key
The Innovation Mission helped in sharpening
my filter on the ‘buzz’ or noise that accompanies
all the talk about new media or digital. Visiting
several of our small properties upon my return,
I renewed my commitment to never lose sight of
our mission to serve and build our community by
telling stories and connecting advertisers regardless
of the platform.
A Google executive, Todd Rowe, summed up my
attitude on what1s next. In picking our priorities, it
is time to ‘Get smart. Get involved. And get started’.
Here we go.
-Gary Rust II
New Media Director
Rust Communications, Inc.
The Cash Cow Is Our Audience
First, the mission provided an affirmation that
our relationships with our local audience are an
extremely valuable asset and one that larger-scale
media companies would love to share through part-
nerships or I assume, less collaborative means, if
necessary. Peter Kvarnstrom (President, Canadian
and Vice President, BC
Glacier Media Group) said
it best, “The cash cow is
not print; it is our audi-
ence.” We are a conduit
to that asset.
Second, I was thor-
oughly energized and
inspired by the compa-
nies that were pushing
the envelope of cultural
change. While no com-
pany seemed to have all the answers, those allowing
their employees creative license and freely accepting
an inevitable dose of failure were farther along the
path to successful transformation and true innova-
tion. My key takeaway is that we’ve got to get radical
in our thinking and our execution.
Director – Multimedia Customer Development
Swift Communications (NV)
Focus on Core Competencies
The Innovation Mission made me realize that there
are many different strategies being employed right
now by companies that
are considered innova-
tive. One of the consis-
tent traits of all of these
companies is that they
all have a strong core
strategic direction and
their teams are working
in sync in order to move
toward their goals. Most
of the companies believe
that what worked in the
past will not work in the
future and there needs to be constant innovation to
survive and succeed. Being ahead of the curve or an
early innovator is critical for success.
The fact that media companies are moving so
quickly away from traditional online display revenue
and looking for the new digital revenue streams of the
future was a key takeaway. These innovative media
companies are focusing on utilizing their core com-
petencies and “feet on the street” to become digital
ad agencies, resellers of national online products,
and e-commerce hubs instead of relying on standard
online display units and traditional sources of revenue.
Getting ahead of the curve on mobile is critical and
we need to move incredibly fast to be ahead of this
curve in terms of providing great content and creative
advertising units via all mobile devices.
When I returned from the visit, my top priorities
to use the Borrell Report to analyze our market and
determine where our greatest opportunities are in
order to prioritize our upcoming strategies
continue down the path of pursuing partnerships
and vendor relationships to add new creative
advertising units to sell to our clients,
spend a lot of time focusing on mobile and e-com-
merce opportunities for our websites.
It was an incredible experience and opportunity
to not only visit these great companies, but also get
the opportunity to network with such an incredible
group of innovators in our own group.
- Susan Cantrell
VP Sales & Marketing
The Lawrence Journal-World (KS)
Experiment with Content/Distribution
The most-important general idea I absorbed on the
2012 Innovation Mission
West is to test and experi-
ment with content/dis-
tribution strategies and
online pay models.
Fisher Interactive leads
the way on testing what
kind of content best works
online and how to most-
effectively broadcast it
on various platforms and
channels. Fisher makes
great strategic use of SEM
and social-content marketing – it was hugely valuable
to hear how they experiment with content, search
and social and the important lessons they’ve learned
in doing so.
Chris Hendricks of McClatchy really impressed
upon me the importance of constantly testing online
subscription rates. McClatchy experiments with
rates, metered threshold, etc. on its paywall sites.
He stressed that it’s important to find a balance
where most, if not all, of your loyal, repeat users
buy a subscription, but at the same time maintain
as much fly-by traffic as possible. This means lots
It’s a brave new world – one in which we must con-
stantly test new products and strategies and always
keep an eye to evolving mediums and platforms.
I also learned what an awesome leader, planner
and person (LMA President) Nancy Lane is!
- Rory Moulton
Gary Rust II
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