Home' Local Media Today : April 2005 Contents LEARNING TO EMBRACE ‘INTERNOLOGY’
Imagine your cell phone ringing and the call is from your local
newspaper text messaging you that your son’s Little League game
scheduled for this afternoon has been canceled due to bad weather.
Imagine getting an e-mail notice every time your favorite band is
coming to town with an offer to get advance tickets.
Imagine learning online not only what seats are available at the big
basketball game, but actually seeing the view of the court from
every available seat in the arena.
No need to imagine any of this, for it is here, as many of us learned
at the recent Suburban Newspaper of America conference.
The SNA Publisher’s Conference in Orlando was, as usual, out-
standing. It offered a variety of sessions with very useful informa-
tion and creative concepts including readership enhancing ideas,
circulation building ideas and the ever-popular advertising great
But there was one session that stood out from the rest. Rob Curley,
Manager of Web Operations and self-proclaimed nerd from the
World Company, publishers of Lawrence-Journal World and
Lawrence.com, demonstrated how his company has turned the
newspaper/Web relationship upside-down and has out-localled the
local content of traditional community newspaper.
Using “Internology” (interns and today’s technology) the Lawrence
Journal-World Web site has interactive information that is not only
entertaining, but very useful in helping readers plan and live their
Reporters and interns are armed with camera phones so they can
instantly post photos to the Web site. In many areas, the informa-
tion is gathered and designed for the Web site first - the printed
product then gets its information from the Web site. The high
school sports site includes all schedules, game stories and box
scores. They include photo galleries from each game and a post-
game audio interview by the coach. The calendar of events is easi-
ly searchable and interactive. One can make dinner reservations
online or find out what today’s drink specials are at the local water-
When asked where they get the interns who gather all this intensely
local information Rob responded “from the Nerdery” (the local col-
lege and high school campuses). And all advertising is sold as a
“Cyber/Fiber” package to appear online and in print.
It is exciting to think of the opportunities to make our newspapers
more usable, relevant and interactive for our readers through our
websites. It is also alarming to realize that no longer are communi-
ty newspapers the only source of this usable, local information.
Companies like AutoTrader.com and Craigslist.com have created
powerful, interactive sources of very local advertising information.
The good news is that we still have the lion’s share of the local
content. Nobody gathers as much local information as the commu-
nity newspaper. The challenge is to embrace the new technology to
make this local information accessible and usable to our readers, or
someone else will.
SNA Board President
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“Lowe’s has experi-
growth over the
years and newspa-
pers get the credit
as the core compo-
nent of our media
mix”, said Kevin
Cleary, Director of
Media Services for
Inc. As the keynote
speaker at the SNA’s
publishers gathering last
month in Orlando, Cleary had a full house of lis-
teners who were keen on learning more about this
retailer and their plans for newspapers in their
future marketing strategy.
Currently in the midst of the most aggressive
expansion in the company’s history, Lowe’s has
150 planned store openings in 2005 with 160
more to come in 2006. The location emphasis is
in the top 25 DMA’s (U.S. only) with regional
focus on the northeast, the upper mid-west and
the west coast. Market focus is on Minneapolis,
Chicago, Boston, New York, LosAngeles and
As Lowe’s continues its’ aggressive growth strat-
egy, which inevitably has market overlap with
competitor Home Depot, the company is acutely
interested in proving value in their media budget
while maintaining and growing their ten-year
average annual 19% same store sales growth rate.
Recognizing that there is media overload nowa-
days and the long list of media options, Cleary
told the audience that “making media choices has
become extremely complex and challenging.” He
cited the fact that despite the decrease in leisure
time, consumers are spending more time with
media. The proliferation of media options has
resulted in the need for relevance, mobility,
measurability and fluidity. Cleary explained that
by fluidity, he means “test-learn-adjust”, adding
that we are “great believers in this cycle.”
“Newspapers are our go to market medium” say
Cleary. The advantages that Lowe’s appreciates
about the medium are reach, primary consumer
shopping resource, messaging platform for selec-
tion/price, and selective coverage with the latter
being the “distinct advantage that newspapers
have over other media” says Cleary.
The insert program, with over 2 billion planned
for 2005, is the core component of Lowe’s print
advertising although ROP ads play a secondary
role when there’s a need to tell what’s new at
Lowe’s, publicize promotional offers and expand
reach beyond the selective coverage approach
used for the preprint program.
The sales and market potential of any given store
are the main drivers of the ultimate decision to
use a newspaper and is used to determine insert
frequency, distribution quantity, coverage area
and coverage type (paid paper, free, shared mail,
Lowe’s Media Man Calls
“Go To Market” Medium
Kevin Cleary, Director of
Media Services for Lowe’s
Companies Inc., address-
ing SNA publishers at
spring conference in
continued on page 4
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