Strategic Marketing: Conference summary


In August 2010 smartFocus Astech held a Strategic Marketing conference in Vail, CO. Below is a brief summary of the conference highlights.

Making money beyond traditional advertising– Shawn Higgins, Director of Sales/Marketing, Spokesman Review proposes newspapers “lead with free and drive to paid.” He proposes the following ways in which newspapers can garner revenue: travel services; notices (e.g. wedding, engagement and funeral – all with add-on features); framed photos, prints made in-house (e.g. poker playing fish – see:, historical pages or re-prints of “stuff on the walls” (i.e. corporate collection); books; custom research; or event related materials.

Using newspaper databases– Newspapers have lots of consumer information within their walls (and specifically on their computers).  Maximizing the database information is recommended by Peg Nadler, President, Peg Nadler and Associates (who was recognized as Target Marketing Magazine’s Direct Marketer of the Year) and she is supported by Greg Bright, Director of Data Management at the Arizona Republic. Bright demonstrated that four key targets: young adults, families (more print oriented), families (more digitally oriented) and the boomers+ are all interested in news but each group has preferences to how they receive it. The younger group is more digitally oriented while the older group is more print focused. Newspapers can use their databases to segment and effectively target each group offering them the right mix of products based on their preferred method of communication.

What content will consumers pay for– David Besson presented and proposed that consumers pay more as they get more specialized or exclusive content. He suggests that services such as premium coupons or access to editorial round tables could be provided for small increments more. Furthermore personalized content (editorial and ads) is valuable to consumers. They could choose to pay for it, have the cost covered by agreeing to receive target ads or a blend of the two.

Removing silos to deliver better products– Editorial & Marketing need to work in concert to deliver products that suit consumers’ needs according to Ryan Davis, President of Too often the departments have worked in isolation. To make his point, Davis notes that if editorial alone had created M&Ms, they would be functional plain chocolate spheres. With Marketing, they become colourfully coated chocolate treats. On the other hand, with Marketing alone, a flashy sports car is created with no guts. With editorial, the car becomes both performance and style.

Test the waters of social media– “People are the ultimate app. Not facebook, twitter, linkedin, etc. Those are the tools.”  Based on this, the Sacramento Bee’s Darrell Kunken, Director of Market Analysis, and Frank Wofford, Senior Research Analyst tested facebook for advertising and for the newsroom. For the advertising group, they used facebook to highlight a high-value targeted golf offer and succeed in securing incremental sales. For the newsroom, they highlighted special features through ads featuring the content with the goal of increasing awareness of the editorial topic and to build traffic to the site. They also chose to target the ads based on the users’ interests. For example, the editorial was a state park series so the ads had different creative when they where on a hiking page vs. fishing page. Finally, they note that once the paper experiments and becomes comfortable with social media, it can then offer local advertiser seminars (thereby positionin