What ails sales? One ad vet's view
By Janet DeGeorge
Newspaper advertising revenue is down because most advertising departments have not changed the way they do business in 50 years. Well, probably 100 years.
They have not changed the confusing and bloated way they charge customers for advertising, they have not changed the organizational structures or goal setting procedures for their sales staff, they have not changed how they manage their managers, often pitting them against each other instead of focusing on customer needs.
The lack of imagination in the way many newspapers run their online products and advertising is boring users to run to other places for their advertising needs.
Their dealings with generic employment products like HotJobs has lost them both their bread and butter employment advertisers as well as their strong key categories such as Medical.
Are you still waiting for Hotjobs to save your classified employment? Even as top Yahoo management is jumping ship? HotJobs is a good search engine, but you have to take care of your own market your own way.
But even internally, the often times hostile relationships between print and online, instead of working miracles together, downgrade both products.
To be successful you need a stimulating product, a motivated sales force and management that respond to customers needs by being committed to ADVERTISING RESULTS.
And that takes change. Opps…dirty word. I dropped the "C" bomb, sorry.
Top outside sales reps run after $35 special section ads instead of $3,500 employment display, call center reps outbound call on one time advertisers instead of seeking out year long advertisers, online sales forces sell against their own print products often dissing print and creating a whole lot of switch business.
And self promotion? There is none.
I just worked with a paper that expenses 10% of classified revenue to promotion each month. They are a 400k circ paper, 140 people in the classified call center busy from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m., an extraordinary array of 13 money-making websites with an internet staff of 120 people. They own their market and are on top of their game.
Their advertising managers all have advanced degrees, know how to work the numbers, continually improve their product (they are getting redesigned at this moment by Brass Tacks Design), continually monitor their staff for excellence, have ongoing staff promotions and training.
Where is this paper? In Bogotá, Columbia. They own their market even with as many Internet competitors as we have in the United States.
Newspaper advertising in the U.S. is in quicksand and instead of reaching out for the rope right in front of their nose and pulling themselves out, they keep throwing their hands wildly in the air and sink deeper and deeper.
Common sense has left the building.