Bulletin photo by Jordan Griffin
NENPA Fall Conference
Shifting ad strategies is key to
creating positive momentum,
halting negative momentum

By Michael Anderson
Bulletin Staff

If newspaper companies are to remain relevant, publishers and their advertising departments are going to have to adjust their strategies for building advertising revenue or face being phased out of business.

Jerry Kackley, president of the K Group, a marketing consultant company based in Scottsdale, Ariz., was steadfast about that during his presentation to about 50 people that kicked off the 2012 New England Newspaper and Press Association Fall Conference Oct. 11 at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Natick, Mass.

He was joined by Patti Hannan, vice president of advertising for the largest newspaper in Oklahoma, The Oklahoman of Oklahoma City. Hannan participated via Skype to talk briefly about how the Oklahoman had increased ad revenue since she worked with Kackley and the K Group

Newspaper company advertising has plummeted the past 10 years, in part because of the rise of online ad sales. Kackley said that downturn can be turned into positive momentum only if newspapers remedy issues as Hannan did at the Oklahoman.

“The sales force can no longer outsell the level of negative momentum created by the current go-to-market and pricing strategies,” Kackley said. “We can’t pour more (revenue) into the top of this funnel and make this thing work anymore.

The level of negative momentum -- from lost advertisers and advertisers who are advertising less than they did previously -- has continually increased the past six years, in large part because of “broken” go-to-market strategies, Kackley said.

Strategies that worked before 2006 are no longer effective, he said.

He said new platforms, such as search and social media, are affecting the ways in which advertisers build their advertising campaigns.

Kackley recommended a number of strategies for advertising departments to reverse those negative trends.

For example, sales representatives can’t just make small “asks” in recommending ad campaigns. Kackley said newspapers are making a mistake by merely wanting sales representatives to go out and take “any deal.”

One of Kackley’s main points was that ad campaigns need to be sufficient to achieve “results thresholds” for advertisers. Three of four advertisers, when asked what’s more important, the results of an advertising program or its cost, said the results were more important. Focusing on the cost of a campaign, as opposed to the results of that program, is a big mistake, Kackley said.

Kackley said advertising pricing is most effective when it is used to control behavior, not to control demand. Lowering the price to increase demand for something that isn’t selling well to increase demand for it is another common mistake, he said.

“Think about this: We lower the prices on things that don’t work well and raise prices on things that work the best,” Kackley said. “So we push people out of the advertising vehicles that are getting results for advertisers and into ad vehicles that work the least well.”

Kackley challenged audience members to explore in their organizations how sales representatives go about filling their sales pipeline. Industry analysis shows that most of the accounts in the sales pipeline are not going to consider or make a change in their advertising program, he said.

“We want reps to load their pipeline with accounts that could be impacted right now,” Kackley said.

He said the K Group has developed strategies to help sales representatives fill their sales pipeline with accounts in which impacts can be made immediately.

Bulletin photo by Daniella Iervolino

Patti Hannan, vice president of advertising for The Oklahoman of Oklahoma City, told the audience via Skype how a change in advertising strategies suggested by the K Group helped the Oklahoman raise its ad revenue.

POSTED 10/25/12


© Copyright 1998-2012 New England Newspaper and Press Association. All rights reserved.