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Relax and Follow The Money
“Relax and follow the money.” These words of wisdom from Gordon Borrell
came at the SNA Fall Conference during the Friday keynote address.
Where should smart newspaper publishers be investing right now? It’s not in
mobile, youth sport sites or even your main newspaper site right now. And while
all of these are important, the money is not there. So relax, and follow the money.
The money is in niche sites. The money is in online coupons. The money is not in
banner ads (although you should still be selling them). The money is there; you
have to find it.
The more narrow the niche, the more
the money will follow. A wedding site
in Dallas is more profitable than the big
TV station’s site. Why? Advertisers
want the narrow niche that provides
outstanding results. Borrell praised the
industry for coming together on the
launch of zip2save.com and told the
audience to “brace themselves for success”.
Media buyers from NSA, Vertis and Kohl’s were also vocal at the conference
about zip2save.com. Randy Novak, Director of Newspaper Strategy at NSA,
complimented the industry on the launch of zip2save during the keynote address
on Wednesday. He was impressed with the marketing plan and the way in which
the industry was launching the site. Media buyers from Vertis and Kohl’s also
encouraged newspapers to become partners in the zip2save effort during their
“Relax and follow the money” was an ah-ha moment for me and a phrase that I
will surely use again and again. Much like “good enough” or “invest a little; learn
a lot”. It just makes so much sense. Newspaper publishers are overwhelmed with
choices right now. What is my mobile strategy? Should I start a marketplace
product? Should I charge for my content? Should I redesign my main newspaper
site and add new features?
Relax. Relax. Relax. Take a deep breath. Where is the money going? Now follow
it. (Check out www.borrellassociates.com to get a free look at local online ad
spending in local markets across the counrty.)
The newspaper web site is going to be an important source of information for the
community. It is a must-have that also drives business. But is it where the money
is going? No.
Figure out the niche opportunities that exist in your market and follow the money.
And be sure to have some online only sales reps to sell it. Borrell can’t believe
that we are still having this conversation as an industry. 15% of print sales reps
will successfully sell online and that comes to us after years and years of track-
ing. The model does not work. Publishers want print reps to sell online and so
they continue to push it and it continues not to work.
You will never be able to compen-
sate a print rep enough to sell
online due to the difference in
price. Why would you want your
best print reps spending a ton of
time selling low dollar online ads?
And furthermore, the biggest
opportunities online are not with
existing customers. This of course
sparked lots of debate at the con-
ference and even during the pub-
lishers’ roundtable following
For those that aren’t hiring right now, consider independent contractors at 100%
commission. Give it a try; experiment. As Borrell said, “find someone with purple
hair and several piercings”; meaning that there are people that live the language
of online and would love to sell your offerings. Relax. Follow the money. It’s just
darn good advice for all of us right now.
For further information visit:
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• Unrivalled service: we pride ourselves on our training,
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is tailored to your needs
Relax. Follow The Money. Smile.
Courtney Chojnacki, Online Sales V.P. for Cnhi, is
joined by Rob Page, CEO of Zope Corporation
at the SNA fall conference last month.
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