November | December 2012
Health, fitness and an overall active lifestyle are on the rise. This demographic is made up of many varying segments and they all have huge buying power â€” learn how to leverage it! Starting on Page 21
Check out our comprehensive coverage of the 2012 WCAA Conference in Las Vegas, Nev. Page 8-61
Legal advertising is an oft-overlooked component of classifieds. Donâ€™t miss out on its revenue potential! Page 18-19
Networking is a staple in the lives of professionals, but many dread it. Learn some tips to improve your networking skills! Page 44
Go to our website at www.
abovethefoldmag.com for tips, techniques and ideas to generate new revenue!
A product of
A D V E R T I S I N G P L AT F O R M A series of intuitive applications that automate the advertising process for print, online and mobile. It gives your advertisers a complete cross-media solution with analytical tracking for proven lead generation and results.
EzAdsPro Publisher is an online, feed-driven system that combines self-service and e-proofing to allow production departments and customers to produce automotive and real estate advertisements in minutes. Publisher can be used for niche publications, display ads and classified line ads. With your purchase of Publisher, you receive the services of our Studio team. The Studio will help configure and optimize your ads to make automation simple. This allows you to send us your ad designs and we create the backings and items for simple and customizable ad building.
• Self-service webbased application that creates Display advertisements, Listing advertisements and classified books. • Supports all modern browsers, Mac or PC. • Automated image workflow, offering different color correction settings. •S imple drag-anddrop ad creator, with drop to swap support.
•Auto flow, by varying sort methods. | ABOVE THE FOLD MAGAZINE
•R ight-click support, to change templates on the ad. •R evolutionary “Live Proof” technology, to enable customer self-service without the headache of training, users can edit the live proof directly in the browser, no user names or passwords needed. •L ow res PDF downloads with proof stamping. •P DF Annotation
support. | abovethefoldmag.com
A complete social media integrated solution. An opportunity to provide a Facebook integration tool, with dynamic searchable pages, at the agent, broker, auto dealer, publication or publisher level. And, finally, includes Twitter integration, allowing users to tweet listings to prospective purchasers. All include opportunities for branding and full analytical reports, for proven lead results.
• Facebook Ingegration: - Enables a dynamic searchable page at either the dealer/agent, publication or publisher level - Full listing details with images - Ability to post and share listings - QR Code Integration - Full reporting on searches and individual views • Twitter Integration - “Tweet This” button inside EzAdsPro - Send prospective purchasers details about specific properties - Bit.ly links to full property pages - Full audit trail of messages posted to feed - Opportunities for branding
EZADSPRO BLACK BOX
Handles all of our data aggregation, between an automated mobile device for collecting automotive data via a VIN scanner, to aggregating and managing feeds from unlimited sources; Black Box allows us to manage and repurpose data dynamically.
Convert the other mobile delivery platforms of SMS and QR Codes into a revenue generation center. Automatic creation of SMS codes, linking back to specific real estate or automotive details, with full listing URLs. QR Code generation, with links to our system, providing agent/broker/automotive dealer and publisher web portals. EzAdsPro Text Messaging creates mobile text messages that deliver real estate or automotive listing information as well as a link to a mobile web page for more details. Convenient, integrated reporting allows a publisher to provide complete analytical information for the customer.
An opportunity to generate revenue from this exciting marketing medium. Three platforms supported:
iPHONE | iPAD | ANDROID
Apps will be locally branded, with comprehensive searching, geolocation and mapping built in as standard. Full reporting provided on lead generation.
• Convert the other mobile delivery platforms of SMS and QR Codes into a revenue generation center. • QR Code generation, with links to a specific listing in Black Box, or a branded, mobile landing page. •A utomatic creation of SMS codes, linking back to specific listing details, with Google street view URLs branded landing pages and trackable email generated leads.
NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2012 | PAGE 3
| CONTENTS Index Infocus 8 | New Ideas and Strategies from the 2012 WCAA Conference We attended this year’s WCAA Conference in Las Vegas, Nev., and brought back a ton of valuable ideas, practices and concepts. 9 | Leading Through Change: Bill Cummings presents keynote speech
8-16 | 2012 WCAA CONFERENCE An in-depth look at what happened at the WCAA Conference in Las Vegas, Nev.
Bill Cummings opened the first full day of the conference with a presentation on adapting to the changing newspaper advertising industry. 10 | Employee Satisfaction Makes for Happy Customers: Zappos.com and company culture Jamie Naughton, the Speaker of the House at Zappos.com, took the WCAA stage to examine the importance of committing to customer service and company culture. 12 | Jason Taylor and the Benefits of Event Marketing Jason Taylor, the President of the Chattanooga Times, discussed events and the benefits they offer to your community, your advertisers and your department. 13 | Event Marketing in the Spotlight Past and present WCAA board members, Michelle Ackerman, Leslie Aubé Nagy and Carla Royter fronted a panel that offered great community-event marketing ideas. 14 | DRIVE Awards WCAA teamed up with Classified Concepts to recognize and award conference attendees for their innovative ideas and best practices.
16 | Shannon Kinney and Thinking Like Google In the face of a changing industry, Shannon Kinney says newspapers should look to Google as a source of inspiration for new and improved business practices. 18 | Make the Most of Your Legal Revenue: A webinar with Janet DeGeorge In a Brainworks webinar, Janet DeGeorge presented everything you need to know about legal advertising in order to fully realize its revenue potential.
A guide to generate more revenue.
november | december As we close in on the holiday season, it’s time to make sure you’re prepared for these consumer-heavy months. Keep an eye out for valuable holiday advertising campaign and event ideas this issue, as well as the thoughts and strategies we gathered at the 2012 WCAA Conference in Las Vegas. We also take a look at the active lifestyle demographic and the revenue potential it holds!
PAGE 4 | ABOVE THE FOLD MAGAZINE | abovethefoldmag.com
NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2012 |
Index Pg 40 Advertising Revenue Generation 21 | Intro to Demographic: Active Lifestyle 22 | Active Lifestyle Infographic 24 | Know Your Target: Four active audience segments 26 | Active Marketing 28 | Business Building Calendar 30 | Good Tidings and Advertising: Revenue generating ideas for December 32 | Resolving to Improve Your Department: Ad ideas for January Real Estate 34 | Real Estate and Pinterest: A match made in heaven
36 | The Importance of Vetting Home Inspectors Transportation 37 | Car Ownership Among Millennial Generation 38 | Boost Your Black Friday Sales Recruitment
40 | Change the Recruitment Game 42 | Changing the Hiring Process
Sales 44 | Networking — A Necessary Evil 45 | Keep Your Head High 46 | Five Tactical Tips for Small Advertisers 48 | Off the Cuff: How to avoid a price war
Talk Back Management 51 | Boosting Morale By Fighting Negativity in the Workplace Do you have an idea for an article? Have you had any recent success with your sales? We’re looking to feature innovative and creative ad departments that really know how to stand out in the crowd. Questions or comments? Email us at:
53 | The Secret Behind Employee Retention 54 | Organizational Physics: Why nature’s law can help you manage
NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2012 | PAGE 5
“Your dot.com Publishing Source”
A Division of Mikel-Brock Investment Group, LLC
United States Office Meg Erlewine | Managing Editor Alexa Unser | Associate Editor
Whether you’re a seasoned publishing professional or new to the industry, Printit-all.com allows you to outsource the most costly barriers to growth in our industry.
Beth Kellmurray | Associate Editor Greg Ludlow | Sales Manager Perry Rice | Managing Partner Darren Hicks | Partner Tracy Phillips | Partner Justin Rice | Partner Taylor Pearl | Graphic Designer Zachary Bear | Graphic Designer
We Feature: Full-color, heat-set web printing
United Kingdom Office David Wright | Partner James Wright | Partner John Ford | Programmer
Fast turnaround times
Dan Milden | Support Scott Webb | Support
Expedited shipping services Direct mailing services Buying power at more than 17 facilities nationwide Let us help you reduce the overall cost involved with publishing your product. Ask for Jason Ansley and mention Above the Fold!
www.print-it-all.com phone: 417-623-3730 Fax: 417-623-2813 firstname.lastname@example.org
Matt Chapman | Support Alan Lam | Programer David Watkins | Programer David Lawson | Business Dev. Manager Frances Needham | Accounts
Australian Office Orsen Tormey | Distributor
About Us Above the Fold is a product of EZAdsPro and formerly MacDonald Services. We have improved and consolidated our previous products of Advertising Executive, Sales, Transportation, Real Estate and Real Estate Marketer into one comprehensive magazine and useful website. Above the Fold is your source for information, ideas and tips exclusively for newspaper classified advertising departments. We cover the latest developments in print, online and mobile integration to help you decrease expenditures, increase revenue, simplify the creative processes and raise your ROI. We offer not just news, but analysis of developments in the evolving classified marketplace, webinars, how-to guides and daily insight on how to enhance your online and mobile presence. That means the topics we cover stretch beyond just our aforementioned specialties and include new concepts and developments affecting newspaper classified advertising revenue. Our goal is to help revitalize the industry and ultimately increasing your bottom-line. In addition to that, we attend major industry conferences like SNA, WCAA and SCAMA as reporters to gather valuable information and research. While nothing beats attending yourself, with us there for you, it’s like saving a few bucks on registration and travel costs. By signing up for the Above the Fold e-newsletter, you can receive conference information and the latest classified news and tips right to your inbox! With a rich history dating back to 1926, we have a strong belief in sharing the wealth when it comes to stimulating ideas. With new techniques and strategies and a revolutionized mindset, we have the ability to anticipate the needs of our readers and inspire creativity and innovation while we assist you in generating new revenue.
Contributing Writer John Foust has trained thousands of newspaper advertising professionals. Many ad departments are using his training videos to save time and get quick results from in-house training. E-mail for information: jfoust@ mindspring.com
PAGE 6 | ABOVE THE FOLD MAGAZINE | abovethefoldmag.com
Address 302 Ferry Street, Ste 200 Lafayette, Indiana 47901-1164 Phone 765-742-9012 EZAdsPro Website www.ezadspro.com Above the Fold Website abovethefoldmag.com Sales Email email@example.com Editorial Email firstname.lastname@example.org
QUICK SPOT We went to the 2012 WCAA Conference in Las Vegas and left with tons of great ideas. Read all about the great presentations on pages 8 through 16!
Ten Things to Look for in This Issue
For this issueâ€™s demographic, we focused on the active lifestyle! Learn everything you need to know to target members of your community who have made a commitment to their health. (Pages 21-27)
Car ownership is on a decline amongst young adults between the ages of 18 and 24. Learn why that is on page 37.
Sales is largely a mental game. In order to succeed, a positive mindset before and after a sale is essential. (Page 45)
The AtF Associate Editors hashed out pricing strategies: the good, the bad and the ugly. Read what they had to say in this issueâ€™s Off the Cuff. (Pages 48 and 49)
Competition from sites like Monster is hurting recruitment advertising in newspapers. Reverse engineer your approach and offer a social network where employers can find potential employees. (Pages 40 and 41)
Negativity in the office is a quick way to kill morale and productivity. We have some tips to prevent bad attitudes from overtaking your department.
(Pages 51 and 52)
November is upon us, and that means the holidays are just around the corner. Make sure your department is keeping up with great holiday-themed advertising ideas and more by checking out our Business Building Calendar!
(Pages 28 and 29)
In the Brainworks-sponsored webinar, Janet DeGeorge presented everything you need to know for your newspaper to take full advantage of the revenue potential of legal advertising.
Pinterest is gathering a lot of buzz in the social media world. This social network lends itself perfectly for real estate agents. Flip to pages 34 and 35 and read how to leverage its potential.
(Pages 18 and 19)
NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2012 | PAGE 7
WCAA 2012 IT’S SHOWTIME
New Ideas and Strategies From the 2012 WCAA Conference Beth Kellmurray, Associate Editor
Some say, “What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas,” but that’s not the case for the great sales strategies offered at this year’s WCAA Conference in Sin City. The conference was three days full of great ideas to take home to your ad department. Even if you weren’t able to make it out for the informative and funfilled conference, we’re here to share it all with you! The conference kicked off Monday with a presentation from future WCAA President Nate Rodriguez and a keynote presentation from then-current President Bill Cummings. Rodriguez discussed how to seek out new clientele while maintaining current customers and managing expenditures. While most say that the newspaper industry is on decline, Rodriguez reminded attendees of all the benefits of advertising in the newspaper. While other media outlets, like TV and radio, are viewed as primary competitors, their small number of listeners and viewers are split between multiple stations. In a world of busy consumers, newspapers offer their readers flexibility — the chance to sit down and read at their own leisure. Cummings’ presentation added to this notion, saying that newspapers also offer their advertisers quantifiable results, whereas other media sources can only offer estimates.
Monday continued with great advertising ideas. Classified Concepts discussed the great ideas submitted in their DRIVE contest by papers like The Denver Post and U-T San Diego, amongst others. The day concluded with presentations from Shannon Kinney, the founder and GM of Dream Local Digital, Inc., and Lance Lambert, the Regional Manager at Carfax.com. Kinney discussed that in the newspaper’s rapidly changing industry, reinvention is necessary. She told attendees to look at Google as a role model, and learn how to change in order to keep newspapers relevant advertising resources. Lambert spoke on advertising strategies focused on maintaining your precious resources and budget. Tuesday kept the thoughtful conversations going with presentations from Vince Coultis, Jamie Naughton and Randy Lopez and an informative panel that put the verticals in the spotlight. Coultis, started the day off with a lecture on rethinking hiring and training processes in order to promote employee work ethic and success. Jamie Naughton also discussed employee dynamics in the workplace. Tuesday afternoon began with a panel made up of The Las Vegas Review-Journal’s Chelle Bize and Bryan Nelson and Glacier Media Group’s Mike Rutigliano, which discussed the techniques they implement in their departments to make for the best recruitment, real estate and transportation verticals, respectively. Finally, Randy Lopez’s presentation focused on the importance of incorporating social and mobile technology into your advertising strategies and taking every marketing opportunity in your community possible. Beyond mobile and social, Lopez admitted that the information in his presentation is changing every day, because technology is constantly evolving and you must be ready to adapt with it. The WCAA also presented the first-ever Jay Palmquist award, which is given to an outstanding professional in the
PAGE 8 | ABOVE THE FOLD MAGAZINE | abovethefoldmag.com
industry. This year, the award went to Patrick MacDonald, who carried on the work of MacDonald Advertising Services from his family before him. The WCAA acknowledged MacDonald as a dedicated and enthusiastic member of not only the industry but of the WCAA organization, as he has rarely missed the annual conference. Event marketing was the star of the show on the final day of the conference. Michelle Ackerman, Leslie Aubé Nagy, and Carla Royter, all took turns discussing how events can be a great revenue generator for their particular vertical (turn to page 13 for more!). Jason Taylor, President of The Chattanooga Times Free Press, gave a dynamic lecture filled with great examples of events he coordinated in Chattanooga that gathered great press and enthusiasm from attendees, while raking in revenue for the newspaper’s ad department. All in all, this year’s WCAA Conference was packed with great ideas and advice from industry experts. Keep reading for more details on the great information provided by these presenters and make sure to check online for more at www. abovethefoldmag.com! ■
Go online for coverage of the following: Hiring, Training in a World of Constant Change By Vince Coultis, The McClatchy Co. Retaining Dollars: Direct response branding and targeting advertising strategies By Lance Lambert, Carfax.com Relevant Classified Verticals in Today’s Competitive Market: A panel discussion on best practices With Andy Vogel, Tribune/LA Times; Chelle Bize, Las Vegas Review-Journal; Bryan Nelson, Las Vegas Review-Journal; and Mike Rutigliano, Glacier Media Group Socially Mobile By Randy Lopez, Johnson Gray Advertising
Wcaa 2012 it’s showtime
Leading Through Change Bill Cummings presents keynote speech Beth Kellmurray, Associate Editor
Bill Cummings opened the first day of the conference with his keynote speech, “Leading Through Change: Leadership, Product Mix, Promotion, Pricing and Salespersons.” As we all know, the newspaper industry is changing, and Cummings’ speech emphasized that it’s time to make a commitment to adapting with it. In order to adapt, newspapers need to change their approach to management. Much of the industry is facing a similar situation; their longtime ad managers and reps are now reaching retirement, and when they look for young professionals to hire, they aren’t finding candidates with newspaper sales experience. The solution, Cummings offered, is not finding applicants with experience specific to the industry, but instead, applicants with potential that they can train into successful sales reps and managers. Moreover, he said that with the current economy, managers and executives want to hire these reps and pay them lower salaries or solely based on commission, but still expect them to bring in huge sales for the department. Cummings explained that there is something missing in that logic. Instead, he suggested that by
compensating reps accordingly they will show initiative and dedication to their positions and will make big sales. Also, when reps and managers do make large sales, reward them with year-end bonuses, which will promote loyalty within the department and consequently increases retention rates. Cummings went on to propose that ad departments also have to change their product offerings. Digital is no longer the future of newspaper, it’s already here and papers must create strategies for selling both print and digital ads. As is, he believes that papers are not reaching the revenue potential in digital ads, because the inventory is under utilized and the ads are lacking in creativity. He suggested that the solution is to create campaigns around events as demonstrated by many of newspaper’s competitors. Creating ad campaigns around limited time events, like weekend sales, encourages a call to action and a sense of immediacy from readers and consumers. Sales reps must approach the way they sell differently, Cummings said. First and foremost, newspapers should deliver 4,500 local impressions over 24
Their longtime ad managers and reps are now reaching retirement, and when they look for young professionals to hire, they aren’t finding candidates with newspaper sales experience.
to 48 hours with clear and defined rates for each offering, such as print and mobile ads. Furthermore, he said that many reps are finding that customers are hesitant to advertise in the newspaper, because they think there is better reach and results on television and radio. If that’s the case, reps should point out the differences between those media sources and newspapers and explain the benefits of advertising in the paper. For example, cable TV may be an affordable solution, but the reach is actually limited, because timing makes it difficult to guarantee that viewers see client’s ads. Television also can’t promise or demonstrate the results of the ads after the fact, they can only offer estimates before the ad is placed, whereas newspapers can offer tangible and quantifiable results, responses and leads. Cummings encouraged sales reps to be more tactical and organized in their selling by planning out five potential or current clients to contact every day. He also noted the importance of contacting clients the Monday after their ad runs to discuss the results, thus demonstrating your value as an advertising resource and consultant. Sales reps must be experts on their clients’ businesses, not only to offer advertising solutions and campaign ideas, but also to show that they are invested in their business and committed to their community at large.■
NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2012 | PAGE 9
wcaa 2012 it’s showtime
Employee Satisfaction Makes for Happy Customers Zappos.com and company culture Beth Kellmurray, Associate Editor
On Tuesday at the 2012 WCAA Conference, Jamie Naughton, the Speaker of the House at Zappos. com, discussed the importance of building a company brand that makes employees a proud member of a team, rather than another cog in a machine. Zappos.com is an online shoe and apparel store founded in 1999 based in Henderson, Nev., not far from this year’s conference in Las Vegas. Amazon.com acquired the site in July 2009 for approximately $1.2 billion. Zappos.com has earned a reputation based on dedicated customer service and a unique company culture. In her presentation, “Managing the Change: Building a Brand That Matters,” Naughton explored how these two facets of customer service and company culture are not mutually exclusive, and that in reality, one is necessary for the other to exist. She broke down her presentation into the various aspects of the company’s vision that have helped Zappos.com achieve a defined and
recognizable brand as well as customer and employee happiness. Creating a Sustainable Brand Naughton encouraged conference attendees to give a great deal of thought in terms of their newspaper’s brand and their role in perpetuating that image within their department. She said that, first and foremost, companies must make a decision to create a longterm brand and construct a business strategy that helps sustain it. That means, employees at all levels and in all departments must understand the definition of the brand and reflect it in their work. In order to decide what your brand is, you must take your company’s mission into consideration. For Zappos. com, it wasn’t just delivering shoes. Naughton said that it’s crucial for companies to look at the bigger picture when deciding on their brand. When Zappos.com did this, they decided that their mission wasn’t delivering shoes, but “delivering happiness.”
Naughton said that in order to preserve company culture, performance reviews shouldn’t wait until the end of the year; they should be an on-going conversation between employees and employer to get feedback on both ends of the spectrum. PAGE 10 | ABOVE THE FOLD MAGAZINE | abovethefoldmag.com
So what did it mean to “deliver happiness” to Zappos.com customers? Naughton says the answer was excellent customer service and everything it took to ensure that. For the site, this could mean surprise free or overnight shipping, amongst other bonuses. Naughton pointed out that this is what works for Zappos.com and is not necessarily universal. She encouraged WCAA-goers to take this as an example and apply it to their own offices. The important thing is to determine what your company values are and create a company culture based upon those principles. For instance, your ad department’s core value could be ensuring customer satisfaction for your advertisers. Perhaps that means regular in-person meetings with clients and
Wcaa 2012 it’s showtime
shorter turnover in ad production time. These aspects trickle down into the inner workings of a company, helping determine who you hire, how they work and the product your clients receive, thus contributing to your over all brand. Customer Service As mentioned, Zappos.com decided that in order to create a brand that delivers happiness, excellent customer service needed to play a huge role. The site decided that in order to achieve its mission, they decided to treat it as a problem in need of a solution. In the case of delivering shoes and offering great customer service, Zappos.com created a 24/7 call center for any and all questions from customers. They also offer free returns and when customers call in (sometimes even when they don’t), they often offer surprise upgrades, such as free or overnight shipping. Naughton explained that for Zappos.com, the key isn’t maximizing the number of purchases, but rather optimizing the shoppers’ experiences. Sometimes this means not being the end-point for a sale, in fact, Zappos.com occasionally redirects customers to their competitors’ websites if they don’t carry what the customer is looking for. Moreover, Zappos.com doesn’t track call time or set sales goals for their employees. They simply encourage the best customer service possible. This means empowering all employees to take the measures they deem necessary in order to give customers the best experience possible, especially employees in the call center. Naughton said that Zappos.com does everything in their power to avoid customer’s having to utter the words, “Can I speak with your manager?” Instead, employees in the call center have the same knowledge and authority to make those decisions on the spot while the customer is on the line. Naughton explained that much of their revenue feeds back into providing
great customer service, such as those unexpected bonuses on shipping time and cost, because these are the characteristics that keep customers coming back. The shoe site focuses on delivering happiness to each individual customer in order to build its customer base, because one customer that has a positive experience will then go on to tell a friend until the good news spreads to a larger audience. For example, Naughton noted a time when a customer called in to return a pair of shoes she was going to give to her mother, but her mother passed away before she could give them to her. In turn, the Zappos.com rep not only took care of the return, but also sent flowers to the customer. As a result, the customer wrote a blog about the experience, which was then read by someone who wrote an article on the story and it was eventually read by thousands of people. These are the types of experiences that stick with people and build long-lasting customer loyalty.
Moreover, instead of yearly performance reviews, Zappos.com does weekly “culture reviews.” Naughton said that in order to preserve company culture, performance reviews shouldn’t wait until the end of the year; they should be an on-going conversation between employees and employer to get feedback on both ends of the spectrum. These reviews play a significant role after new employees are hired. After a week or so of working with Zappos.com, the new hire goes through this review to discuss whether or not it is a good fit. If the employer or manager suspects that it isn’t a good fit, they offer the employee $2,000 to quit. As the weeks go on, Zappos.com increases the offer to $3 to $4,000. These incentives ensure that the store is keeping the right employees who are dedicated and enthusiastic about the company’s work.
Company Culture The other fundamental component of the site’s brand is their company culture. Zappos.com prides itself on hiring employees that are enthusiastic about their work and feel that they are a significant part of a team. In order to ensure that they are hiring and keeping the right employees that contribute to this culture, Zappos.com uses a unique employee performance review, hiring and firing system.
Naughton also said that Zappos.com is committed to transparency between employees and employers, as well as between the company and the public. For example, Naughton said that the company sends out regular newsletters that include an “Ask Me Anything” section where employees can anonymously ask questions to upper-level management — both the good and the bad. Additionally, Zappos. com allows reporters to come in and interview anyone at the warehouse. As Naughton pointed out, if you’re hiring the right people, you shouldn’t have to worry what they are going to say to the media.
During the interview process, Zappos. com asks unique interview questions to determine if the jobseeker is right for their culture. For instance, they ask, “On a scale of 1 to 10, how weird are you?” Naughton explained that the answers to this question are more telling than typical interview questions like, “What are your strengths and weaknesses?” The responses give the interviewers insight into the applicant’s personality to see if they would fit in with the culture encouraged at Zappos.com.
Zappos.com also creates newsletters based on the interests of employees, like employees who are parents, who like soccer or Star Wars. These newsletters put employees in contact with other Zappos.com employees who enjoy the same things, but may not work in the same department. Therefore, employees feel a connection with one another, and consequently, a greater connection to their work, ultimately building a company culture that promotes employee happiness. ■
NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2012 | PAGE 11
wcaa 2012 it’s showtime
Jason Taylor and the Benefits of Event Marketing Beth Kellmurray, Associate Editor
Jason Taylor closed the 2012 WCAA Conference in Las Vegas with an exciting presentation on creative ideas to boost event marketing revenue for your newspaper. He used his firsthand experiences creating beloved community events as the President of The Chattanooga Times Free Press. His speech, “From $0 to $2 Million: How to increase your event marketing revenue,” discussed the importance of creating a diverse menu of events for your town and offered examples of some of the great events he and the newspaper have organized in Chattanooga, Tenn. Taylor encouraged conference attendees to seek out new opportunities for events in their communities, and said the benefits for newspapers are significant in number. Some that he mentioned included creating sustainable community partnerships, brand recognition for the newspaper and, of course, boosting revenue for your department. When a newspaper reaches out to businesses in the community to create events for the area, they simultaneously create partnerships with those businesses that can be returned to in the future. Not only that, but they also create significant bonds with the employees of those businesses, because they truly get to know those individuals as they orchestrate an event. Taylor pointed out that events are a great way to boost customer traffic to small- to mid-sized companies in the area, which will be greatly appreciated by local businesses. This will create a
positive image of the newspaper and will stick with them, nurturing a long-lasting relationship between the two. Taylor also noted that event marketing increases brand recognition for newspapers. Businesses that benefit from these events will view the newspaper as a brand that offers valuable advertising solutions, and will turn to the newspaper for all of their advertising needs. In addition, community members that attend these events and have a positive experience will view the newspaper as more than just an information and advertising resource. They will see that the newspaper is deeply invested in the community. This means that event marketing, if done well, could substantially grow both the newspaper’s readers and advertisers. Therefore, it’s no surprise that one of Taylor’s major points was that events have major revenue-generating power for your newspaper. He explained that events can go above and beyond offering sponsorships to your clients. For instance, he suggested selling booths and VIP tickets, just to name a few. Moreover, Taylor said that events offer an opportunity to further establish your already highly active demographics. For many newspapers, high school sports is a very successful demographic, so a high school athlete awards ceremony would strengthen the relationship between the newspaper and that audience. Likewise, events can improve demographics that aren’t as active. If there is a market your newspaper wants to grow, Taylor suggests creating an event targeted at that group to
PAGE 12 | ABOVE THE FOLD MAGAZINE | abovethefoldmag.com
rejuvenate it. As he explained, if you don’t seize the opportunity, someone else in your market will, and they will take that revenue out from under you. Beyond job events and art fairs, Taylor encouraged the audience to get creative and organize nontraditional events. He suggested creating events that community members have a natural curiosity about. For example, he suggested creating weekly virtual events focusing on a specific career in which attendees can ask questions about the field. Approach local medical professionals or auto mechanics to act as the authority on the topic and answer all of the readers’ questions in a live chat on the newspaper’s website. Taylor also touted the success of late-night events that offer attendees a way to blow off steam and go out for the night. He said that in Chattanooga, the newspaper hosted bridal shows in the evening and women came with friends and then went out afterward, turning into an entire night-out for the attendees. This means increased revenue not only for the newspaper and the event’s sponsors, but an over all boost to business in the area surrounding the event. The important thing is to find holes in your market in which you can create an event to meet the needs of community members and advertisers, and then reap the revenue benefits for your department. If you establish your paper as the go-to resource for event planning and marketing, advertisers will begin to seek you out for sponsorships without you having to ask first. ■
Wcaa 2012 it’s showtime
Increasing Revenue With Events WCAA puts event marketing in the spotlight Meg Erlewine, Managing Editor
The final day of the 2012 WCAA Conference focused on event marketing. Session moderator Cindy Hefley invited three active WCAA members to take the stage and share their best practices. Michelle Ackerman, Advertising Director for the Colorado Springs Gazette and 2003 WCAA Past President, explored how event marketing can increase real estate revenue. U-T San Diego’s Classified Sales Manager Carla Royter, and current WCAA Second Vice President, encouraged the audience to add virtual events to their recruitment vertical. And WCAA Board Director Leslie Aubé Nagy, Clovis Media Inc.’s Classified Advertising Manager, showed how niche events are a great way to get involved in your community. This session was packed full of great advice, so much so that we can’t include it all here. We’ll be focusing on Ackerman’s presentation in this two-part article; be sure to join us next issue for the conclusion. The Gazette is actively involved in the real estate community, playing host to a number of events designed to engage both the community members and the agents alike. The first event Ackerman discussed was the National Association of Realtors’® Open House Weekend. This weekend moves around each year, Ackerman warned, so keep checking to learn when it is. She encouraged the paper to partner with NAR® to help sponsor the event. They utilized Classified Concepts services to help provide print, online and mobile offerings. The Gazette’s Realtor® Package includes: an Open House ad with photo in print and online; homes featured on the Open House Map in print, online and app; a register-to-win entry box and
table tents; at the Open House — Realtors® gets to keep the leads; and new home builders can participate. Promotions help drive the traffic. Ackerman recommended using inpaper advertising, along with rack cards, radio, online and sticky notes. The partnership with Realtor® associations will surely help. Plus, utilize the powers of your editorial department and run articles in the paper and push the event through social media. Ackerman encouraged giving away prizes to both the homebuyers and the agents. For the homebuyer, cash, gift cards and tickets are a great way to go, while for the Realtor®, marketing solutions, advertising and mobile websites are ideal. Ackerman explored several more events papers could use to boost their Real Estate revenue. Similar to the NAR® Open House Weekend, The Gazette holds a monthly, citywide Open House Weekend. For this event, they partner with local real estate associations; promote through print, online and social media; and package it with print, online, an interactive map and an app. Ackerman said that consistency was important, so be sure to hold it on the same weekend every month. The Gazette also hosts a variety of home tours, including: “Living Now: Spring Home Tour,” “Parade of Homes,” “Remodeled Home Tour” and “Parade of Holiday Lights.” Ackerman said the Spring Home Tour should include new and resale homes and be held in a different area of the town each weekend. Feature rentals along the mass transit lines one weekend. She suggested partnering with local retailers to offer enter-to-win
prizes, like electronics, furniture and appliances. They promote the event in paper, online, rack cards, sticky notes and spadea the prior weekend. The Parade of Holiday Lights should include resale or new homes, but the outside must be decorated and pay to participate. She suggested promoting in paper and online, and provide a map. Ackerman offered some advice on the much-loved Parade of Homes. She said that it’s important to partner with the Home Builders Association for Parade of Homes, be a sponsor, get involved. Work with Realtors® as well, hosting an agent-only lunch or open house at the Parade site. She also said the newspaper should participate in the judging, or at least help find judges. The Gazette provides an interactive map for the Parade of Homes, post this on your site and the HBA site, and sell the ad space around the map. Ackerman was excited to announce that The Gazette has a real estate-specific mobile app! While the usage is not huge — yet — it is there, and Realtors® love it! She said that it is essential you promote the app, especially on your website. She also suggested running a promotion to increase downloads. The Gazette partnered with a local real estate company to give away an iPad. The real estate company promotes the contest on their website as well, which gives them the leads and they give away the iPad. Join us next issue as we explore event marketing to niche audiences and how virtual events can boost your recruitment revenue. ■
NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2012 | PAGE 13
wcaa 2012 it’s showtime
The 2012 D.R.I.V.E. Awards Meg Erlewine, Managing Editor
This year’s WCAA Conference was honored to host the inaugural D.R.I.V.E. Awards Ceremony. Classified Concepts, who designed this contest with WCAA in mind, called for papers to show off their best ideas as they asked, “Are you a revenue driver?” This session was simultaneously broadcasted as a webinar for papers who could not attend in person. At the end of the session, attendees were asked to text in their vote for the best idea.
The Denver Post
program yields approximately $350,000 per year in incremental revenue.
U-T San Diego When looking for a way to boost their recruitment vertical, U-T San Diego turned to AfterCollege, who specialize in connecting students and alumni with top employers across America. San Diego launched in March 2011 and immediately had success right out of the gates — they generated nearly $7,000 their first month with only four reps selling! Their partnership allows them to go after a much sought-after market: a 20-something, job-seeking demographic
pays spiffs to the reps, in the form of a Visa debit card each month, which helps motivate sales. This is rewarding to the reps and helps them to stay engaged and focused. Between four reps, they generate an average of $8,000-$10,000 per month. After launching in March of 2011, San Diego generated over $60,000 in incremental revenue; they project that this year they’ll make over $105,000.
When researching the current mobile applications available in the market, the Press-Enterprise felt the need to design Michelle Ackerman, at the Colorado an innovative mobile platform that Springs Gazette, kicked off the entries went beyond those currently with the paper’s Open available. They found a perfect House Weekend (see page partnership with Phaz2 to 13 for more). Next up was develop and implement an The Denver Post, who innovative mobile texting similarly partnered with program. Starting with Classified Concepts to deliver employment, this new revenue multimedia opportunities for driver offers attributes new new homes. The idea began to advertising and to mobile in a round table discussion apps. The Press-Enterprise with builders, agents and the promotes their new app paper. They discussed how heavily in print and online, there was no centralized place along with email blasts to their for readers/homebuyers to opt-in readers and customers. find new constructions, so They feel that their tried-andthey called for a new builder true newspaper readers love map, because it was both Classified Concepts (left) and WCAA President (right) the fact that they can still tangible and interactive. The present DRIVE Award to Michelle Ackerman (center). find their ads in print and Denver Post loved the idea, online, in addition to the but wanted it to be inclusive new ability to receive those ad listings (which can be hard for newspapers to of all new home listings, not just paid on their mobile device at any time. target). Implementation process was easy advertisers, so they built a program based Once a user/jobseeker opts in to their since AfterCollege worked with their on that. Paid ads, which were full-color recruitment mobile text program, they existing Monster feed. After setting up 2x2.5" ads with corresponding map receive a weekly push alert with new a call between the two IT departments features, were $550. Free ads were also jobs for the user to review. Within two and trading feed specs, then determining allowed on the mapping page with basic months of launching this program, rates, AfterCollege created a training liners. Both ads were included on the they have more than 500 jobseekers program for the reps. They were corresponding online map. Ads are live using their mobile texting program to generating incremental online revenue online Friday through Thursday, and a search for employment. in a matter of no time. AfterCollege print map publishes every Saturday. This PAGE 14 | ABOVE THE FOLD MAGAZINE | abovethefoldmag.com
Wcaa 2012 it’s showtime
Billings Gazette The Billings Gazette contacted Classified Concepts with a specific need to supply their readers and real estate agents with a multimedia solution for open houses. Billings felt that they needed to become a better real estate resource for their readers in print, online and mobile, and of course, to grow advertising revenue. They put together a package that included a print, online and mobile app exposure. The Gazette strongly feels the map is their Real Estate franchise and when they first launched, they needed to make the price point a no-brainer. They instituted a listing charge of $5 per open house and $35 for featured listings, and also packaged their banner and skyscraper ads online. They have a goal each year of 80 percent participation from their Realtors®, which they tracked closely, comparing their open house statistics with that of their local MLS. After just two months, they were up to 62 percent participation, and on track to generate over $81,000 in new annual revenue!
The Dallas Morning News The Dallas Morning News has experienced great success with their partnership with Ranger Data Technologies, which focuses on the number one priority of the inside sales team — call volume. Outbound Ranger allows managers to prioritize and track outbound calling efforts by ad reps in real time. Real-time reporting is available by individual, group or department. At the beginning of each shift, ad reps are supplied with leads for the day. Leads may be sorted by name, revenue, expiration date, renewal category or other essential data. Leads are automatically fed to the reps based on the predetermined criteria. Dallas loves the fact that all results are tracked as the calls are made. In addition, they report that the “ease-of-use philosophy” that Ranger has is evident in the training time requirement of only one hour for reps and two hours for managers. It was important to Dallas
that implementation and training be done quickly, and Ranger was able to install the program remotely and complete training in less than two weeks. Keith Pullias, Sr., Sales and Marketing Manager at the Dallas Morning News, reported that in 2010 they increased renewal revenue by over $100,000 against the prior year. In 2011, they expected to increase renewal revenue by more than $200,000.
The Colorado Springs Gazette Sports: High School Prep Like many markets, high school sports have a huge following in the Colorado Springs market. So they created a promotion to give advertisers the opportunity to directly reach parents of high school students. This idea was so great that it won the 2012 D.R.I.V.E. award! Come back next month for in-depth details and an interview with The Gazette’s Advertising Director, Michelle Ackerman. Education Fair Every year the Gazette hosts an Education Fair for K- through 12-grade schools, with participation from public, private and charter schools. They also include booths from businesses trying to reach parents including soccer clubs, martial arts, after school activities and instruction, college prep schools. They have found that aside from selling a booth at the fair, this event is most valuable when partnered with their parent magazine and parent website. This specific event is aimed at parents, which is one of the largest readership groups in the Colorado Springs market. They promote the event in paper, online and on the radio. The Gazette is able to actively reach their local audience via their mobile websites and apps. They are adding local content to their printed product — content that readers have asked for on local events and happenings in the communities, including more photos. Not only is the Gazette reaching one of the largest audience groups in their market, parents, they are also seeing
great participation and revenue — about $25,000 of incremental revenue per event.
Glacier Media Group Guaranteed Classified Ads In March, the Glacier Media Group launched a Guaranteed Classified program. In the past, the community newspapers sold ads — size, font and how long the ad was to run. They didn’t guarantee that the ad would get results. With this campaign, the newspapers stopped selling “ads” and began fulfilling customer’s expectations by getting their ads the results they desire. With the new program, privateparty customers can run their ad until their house, car or item sells. List it. Sell it. Guaranteed! The Guaranteed Classified campaign increased the classified sections from an average of six to 10 pages in each market in six weeks. They have found that people are prepared to pay $49 to sell their car and $100 to sell their house with a print and digital listing package. The automotive section went from less than 10 private-party ads to 225. The dealer ads soon followed. Glacier Media Group feels that their program has gone a long way to increase trust in their classified products and their relationships in the community. Online they are showing their strengths and differentiators to Craigslist and Kijji; they screen content, offer customer service, have established local brands, expertise and are solution providers in print and online. Niche Sections Glacier Media Group recently created three niche sections within classifieds, allowing for more valuable content and a great advertising opportunity for six lucky companies. These sections run once a month and incorporate six featured advertisers. Each advertiser must commit to participating in six issues and is allowed to run an advertorial in one of the six issues. Each issue costs the advertiser $210. The revenue generated by each page is $1,290. $7,740 is booked at once. That’s over $23,000 in just six months! ■
NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2012 | PAGE 15
wcaa 2012 it’s showtime
Shannon Kinney and Thinking Like Google
mission statements. The fact of the matter is that advertisers don’t just want a space in the newspaper for their ad; they need to know their options. Therefore, newspapers need to become consultants — a comprehensive marketing agency for the community. Kinney said that consumers want solutions that help them organize their lives, so if you can offer a product that simplifies and organizes businesses’ advertising, they will turn to you again and again.
Beth Kellmurray, Associate Editor
On Monday, Sept. 24, the first full day of the 2012 WCAA Conference, Shannon Kinney gave an illuminating presentation called, “Revenue Opportunities: What Would Google Do?” Kinney, the GM and Client Success Officer at Dream Local Digital, Inc., discussed how newspapers and their ad departments must reinvent themselves in order to remain relevant and offer their clients and readers a valuable product. As her presentation title indicates, Kinney believes that newspapers should look to Google as a role model for adapting with the changing advertising industry. Kinney noted that Google’s second, lesserknown mission is to be the ad agency of the world. This may seem threatening to newspaper ad departments, but she said it’s a good example to follow. While Google offers a product that aims to cater to global advertising needs, newspapers struggle to serve their own community in that way. So what exactly would Google do if it were in newspapers’ shoes? Kinney says the answer is to think like a young, start-up business. This means that newspapers should take a critical look at their industry and the problems with in it. Then they must offer solutions and create an organization that provides those solutions to their clients. As Kinney said, newspapers must “sell solutions, not space.” In order to sell solutions rather than ad space, newspapers must widen their own
Moreover, Kinney said that not only does Google act as a great business role model, they also offer a product that will help your business connect with its clients — a search engine. Internet users go to Google to ask a question that needs an answer, to find everything they need. That means that your newspaper and department need to be readily found on that platform. If your site doesn’t come up when users search keywords related to your business, then you certainly won’t be found, ultimately hindering your revenue potential. Therefore, you must make your site search-friendly, by using keywords in all of your online content and include searchable headlines. Make sure you have an SEO expert on staff to walk you through the process. Newspapers have been limiting themselves by not participating in the conversations going on in their communities. As Kinney explained in her presentation, not only should they be active participants, they should facilitate those conversations, whether it’s on their website, on a social network or in the paper itself. With the way things are going, these conversations need to be two-way and multidimensional. Readers want their voices to be heard, so your paper needs to offer comment sections and usergenerated content. Of course, these conversations aren’t merely for satisfying the desires of readers. Kinney noted
PAGE 16 | ABOVE THE FOLD MAGAZINE | abovethefoldmag.com
Newspapers need to become consultants — a comprehensive marketing agency for the community. that readers will readily voice their opinions on your product. It’s your job to take those comments and re-create the paper based upon them, so you can offer the best product possible to your community. Kinney also encouraged attendees to conduct reader surveys and market data and improve their product based on the findings. Newspapers are still a trusted brand within their respective communities. Kinney said that papers must leverage that positive image while they still can so they can remain competitive against the nationally branded Googles of the world. She admitted that it will take courage for papers to reinvent themselves, but it’s not an option at this point, it’s a requirement. Newspapers aren’t irrelevant yet, as Kinney explained, the “ecosystem” is transitioning and the industry must transition with it. ■
NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2012 | PAGE 17
Make the Most of Your Legal Revenue A webinar with Janet DeGeorge Beth Kellmurray, Associate Editor
In a Brainworks webinar on Aug. 21, 2012, Janet DeGeorge brought legal ads to the forefront of the newspaper advertising conversation. We will take a look at DeGeorge’s thoughts and advice for legal advertising and explore the best practices and ways to generate revenue in your department. DeGeorge discussed a few scenarios your department may currently be facing when it comes to legal advertising. She suggested that after several years of strong, consistent legal revenue, it is now decreasing and you don’t know why or how to prevent it. She offered that one reason legal revenue is on a decline is because you might just not know everything you need to know about legal advertising, the process and current state laws. She took all of these scenarios and then broke down everything you need to know in order to make the most out of your legal ads. Read on to learn what DeGeorge had to say during her webinar, “Increasing Legal Revenue.” What Are Public Notices? It’s quite possible you aren’t well versed in legal advertising to begin with, let alone how to adequately take advantage of it in order to boost revenue in your department. DeGeorge began by explaining the basics of legal advertising. Legal ads, or more specifically, public notices, advertise the on-goings in your community that are of public concern. DeGeorge offered a few examples, including a restaurant applying for a liquor license, tax proposals and estate sales. She went on to describe the four defining qualities of public notices. Firstly, federal law requires that public notices be published in a medium separate from the government — that means your
newspaper! Secondly, public notices are required to be archived and available to the public, but beyond that, they also must be available to all of society, not just your community or local institutions. Lastly, DeGeorge said that there must be verifiable evidence that the public notice was published, and therefore, the information was released to the public. DeGeorge then expanded on the three types of public notices: 1. Citizen participation: DeGeorge defined this type of public notice as a way to inform the public of government activities, and therefore giving citizens a chance to respond if they feel so inclined. Some examples she offered include changes in the government budget, public hearings and rezoning. 2. Business and commerce: These public notices address the activities of local businesses that are of concern to the community. This includes companies looking to start new businesses, those that are about to shut down their businesses and lastly — what DeGeorge notes are the most popular form of public notices — notices of unclaimed property. 3. Court notices: These notices alert the public of non-governmental activities that use public institutions or abilities in some fashion. Some examples include foreclosures, probating wills and trustee sales.
PAGE 18 | ABOVE THE FOLD MAGAZINE | abovethefoldmag.com
Getting to Know Your State Laws Maybe you’re perfectly aware of public notices and legal advertising, but perhaps you are not up-to-date on your state laws, which dictate what your legal ads look and sound like and how much you can charge for them. These laws change every year and vary state-to-state, so it’s vital that you keep up with them, because the changes may even be to the benefit of your newspaper. In fact, you may be losing money if you are still abiding by outdated laws. For instance, your state laws may
determine the type size for your legal ads. DeGeorge pointed out that, depending on your state law, it could say anything from “classified type size,” “regular newspaper type” or specify a numeric font size. Similarly, if your state law requires you to charge per inch, it’s important to figure out if the law means the retail, classified or editorial inch. Whether it is by line or by inch, these nuances in your state law could mean the difference in your charging system, and consequently, your revenue.
paper’s process for placing the ads. Is it easy for the customer or is it a tedious and confusing process? She encouraged papers to create timely 24-hour deadlines or at least match the deadlines of their classifieds. She also implored papers to offer electronic tearsheets and
who deal with adoptions, bankruptcy and estate sales (just to name a few). DeGeorge suggested creating individual rating systems and charts for all of these categories. She also said that in order to pursue all possible avenues, you must be willing to go above and beyond your own area, as the state law permits. The federal law states that if there isn’t a newspaper in the location where the legal action or proceeding occurred, then any publication in the area that meets the duties and requirements of a newspaper and is published more than once a week may publish the public notice. If no such publication exists, then the newspaper closest to the location has the right to publish it.
DeGeorge suggested that after several years of strong, consistent legal revenue, it is now decreasing and you don’t know why or how to prevent it.
DeGeorge went on to explain that you only have to charge the same for all types of legal ads if your state law requires one consistent rate. If that’s not the case, it’s possible that you could, for example, create different rates for non-government and government ads for businesses, or your rates for public corporations may be different than the rest of your rates.
With over 30,000 state and federal laws regarding public notices, it may seem daunting to discover and synthesize all of your state’s regulations when trying to publish them in your paper. DeGeorge pointed to State Newspaper Associations as the resource that should not only provide you with the information you need, but also simplify the process. However, that’s not always the case. As DeGeorge explained, “Not all State Associations are made equally.” Therefore, it’s up to you to make sure that your State Association makes all the information you need available and easily searchable. Make it Easy for Clients and Readers In order to really hone in on the legal revenue that is available to your ad department, DeGeorge asked the attendees to take a critical look at their
affidavits and to process the affidavits and credits promptly after publication. DeGeorge also emphasized the importance of making the ads easily searchable for readers, since everyday readers discover acts of government fraud and corruption by reading public notices. For example, your paper should color code the banners in both print and online. Therefore, the banner for your legal ads should be the same color it is on the website, so readers grow accustomed to that color scheme and eventually know what they’re looking at without having to read the title of the page. Moreover, you should categorize the different types of legal ads, such as public notices, summons and auctions. Boost Your Revenue Finally, DeGeorge explained that if you want to make the most of the potential revenue in legal ads, you must approach them with the same vigorous sales techniques that you use when pursuing the rest of your classifieds. First and foremost, make sure you know all of the possible leads that have a need to publish legal ads, including (but certainly not limited to!) government offices, schools, police and fire departments, as well as lawyers
DeGeorge also noted that you must take the entire process of placing legal ads into account and charge for the services accordingly. If you are doing extra legwork, you should perhaps be charging extra for services like proof of publication tearsheets and affidavits. Again, DeGeorge said that you must be equally aggressive in the pursuit of legal ads as you are when pursuing classifieds. She suggested attending public meetings discussing matters that may require legal ads, offer a legal media kit and as you would for your classifieds, ask for referrals, set up in-person meetings and send out thank-you cards. And perhaps most importantly, DeGeorge said you must promote your legal ad services as much as you promote your regular classified services. Highlight the importance of public notices in the area and how they serve as a key information source for the public and governmental on-goings of the community. ■
NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2012 | PAGE 19
Intro to the Demographic: Active Lifestyle Alexa Unser, Associate editor
Whether you’re looking to target the hardcore athlete or the after-work jogger, the athletic industry is booming. With a culture of health sweeping the nation, you have a chance to rake in the advertising dollars from businesses and consumers that are concerned with getting and staying in shape. Since athletes and exercise fans always need gear and new ways to perfect their diets, there is a lot of money to be made by helping your clients appeal to the consumers in this issue’s demographic: people with active lifestyles.
Think Proximity Tell local businesses to focus on customers close to their premises. This way, they can encourage consumers to walk or bike to do their shopping or errands. You can even encourage local businesses to reward walkers or bikers with a cool, refreshing drink or a discount for their service. Some businesses to approach for this are, but are not limited to, retail shops, movie theatres, grocery stores and restaurants.
Almost all small businesses can use their advertising to promote an active lifestyle. From getting involved in local athletic events and offering incentives to people who engage in healthy activities to merely advertising your commitment to healthy living, people who enjoy an active lifestyle will definitely notice your efforts. Below are some ways that even the most unlikely of businesses can take advantage of this huge demographic that will certainly help your customers to bring in the bucks.
Everyone Loves Kids Every spring and fall, communities organize soccer and baseball leagues for children that local businesses can sponsor, and those sponsorships are a really great opportunity for your customers. Often the financial commitment is no more than providing team shirts, but this can still have huge ROI. Not only will the parents of these children appreciate your customer’s effort, thus becoming loyal patrons, but also other community members will
Since athletes and exercise fans always need gear and new ways to perfect their diets, there is a lot of money to be made by helping your clients appeal to the consumers in this issue’s demographic: people with active lifestyles.
see these shirts for years to come as local children continue to wear them proudly. Also, sponsorship of local youth leagues are tax deductible, making this opportunity too good to pass up. D.I.Y. No, we’re not talking about craft projects. But, it is a good idea for you to encourage your own staff to start getting in shape too! Also, encourage your clients to create an exercise incentive for their employees as well. As a perk for your employees, contact a local gym to work on a partnership. Active employees are more productive employees, so help them get in the active groove and watch their productivity soar! You can even encourage a bike to work day, if your staff lives close enough for this to be an option. Don’t Forget the Obvious Although you should be focusing on as many varied ways of encouraging and active lifestyle in your community, and thus reaping the rewards, don’t forget about your local businesses that are all about living active. Sports stores, bike shops and health food stores will no doubt want to get in on the fun too! ■
NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2012 | PAGE 21
64% The active lifestyle demographic engages with health, fitness and training activities on a daily basis. Studies show that they are often goal driven, and are loyal to brands that help them achieve their personal goals, and thus becoming emotionally connected to those brands. The demographic is mostly composed of well-educated, affluent men and women with large buying power. There are many different audience segments that make up the active lifestyle demographic. These range from those who simply like to eat well and maintain a healthy gym
routine to extreme sports enthusiasts to those who participate in organized activities, like marathons and triathlons. We explore some of the more popular audience segments below. These segments often come with large monetary commitment, which includes gym memberships, training, exercise equipment, and more â€” which can prove to be an advertising pot of gold. Tournaments and competitions are another place for media to make money. According to the Active Network, there are more than 300 action sports competitions each year worldwide, generating $100 million in media investment.
skateboarding 12 MILLION: According to the Active Network, skateboarding is the most poplar Action Sport in the U.S., with 12 million American participating each year and 4.7 million frequent participants (more than 30 days per year).
38%: Skateboarding is increasing in popularity in affluent households; 38 percent of skateboarders come from households that earn more than $75,000 per year.
75%: Seventy-five percent of skateboarders are male.
Top 5 Gym-Spending Cities
Bottom 5 Gym-Spending Cities
Savannah, GA Naples, FL New York, NY Sarasota, FL Astoria, NY
Pomona, CA Charleston, SC Ontario, CA Fontana, CA Whittier, CA
$144.35 $143.91 $134.50 $116.08 $112.20
$47.35 $48.86 $49.66 $49.78 $51.26
15 MILLION: Statisticbrain.com reports
45.3 million: Approximately 45.3 million
that 15 million Americans practice yoga (Source: NAMASTA, YIAS, LiveStrong, Yoga Journal).
Americans have a gym membership.
44%: Forty-four percent of yoga practitioners earn more than $75,000 annually, while 24 percent earn more than $100,000 annually.
$27 Billion: The U.S. spends $27 billion on yoga products annually.
$55: The average monthly cost of a gym membership is $55, however approximately 70 percent of that goes to waste. Gym members waste on average $39 a month due to under utilization.
29,750: There are approximately 30,000 health clubs in the U.S.
89%: Eighty-nine percent of health clubs offer discounts on gym membership to families and couples.
PAGE 22 | ABOVE THE FOLD MAGAZINE | abovethefoldmag.com
SNOWboarding 6 MILLION: There are about 6 million snowboarders, with 2.5 million frequent riders (more than 10 days per year).
42%: Snowboarding is also moving up in the income scale, with 42 percent of participants coming from households that earn more than $75,000 per year.
surfing 1.1 MILLION: While there are only 1.1 million surfers in the U.S., surf culture has the strongest influence in mainstream society.
50%: Surfing has been growing in status and in some regions is accepted like golf or tennis. Fifty percent of surfers have a household income above $75k.
MOTIVATORS average age
• New experiences • New Sport • Charity
Engage them: Offer training programs to get them motivated.
Women newcomers are more
likely to train through other endurance events, like 5k
and 10k marathons.
• Prepare for event • Spend time with people • Achieve personal goal
Engage them: Appeal to their value of friends, family and sense of community, as friends and family often inform their purchasing decisions.
distances to help train for longer distances.
the lapsed athlete
• Role model • Fan of sport • Charity
25% start training 10 months in advance. 45% spend $1,000 to $5,000 on annual travel.
Engage them: MOTIVATORS • Being asked to participate
Triathletes are often endurance athletes who prefer to train alone. They will pay to participate in other endurance sports, gyms and yoga.
16% still belong to a TriClub, even though they’ve let their athletic practices lapse.
Lapsed athletes still participate in sporting events but let their busy lives get in the way. Implore their community sensibilities, use friends and club members to get them back involved.
52% MALE Source: Active Network NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2012 | PAGE 23
Know Your Target:
Four active audience segments Alexa Unser, Associate Editor
The fitness industry is a huge moneymaker, which means you’ll want to do everything you can to appeal to the sensibilities of the fitness gurus and health nuts in your area. One of the major benefits of marketing to active people is that their commitment to health and fitness is year-round, so you’ll never be without this type of revenue. Also, there are several different types of active people in this demographic, which means that you’ll be able to capitalize on both seasonal activities and the various groups of active people. The active lifestyle demographic possesses large spending power, which makes them a great audience to market to. People who go to great lengths to take care of themselves likely have some disposable income. This group is always thirsting for information about how to make their fitness routine more efficient, how to cut calories, get more mileage out of the week and where to find the best new gear. While incentive marketing will definitely work for this demographic, authority marketing will work as well. Below, learn about some of the groups within the active lifestyle demographic, and how to best market to them.
The Wanderer The Wanderer, which makes up a large portion of this demographic, enjoys the recreational aspect of an active lifestyle. They often partake in evening walks or meet up with a group of friends for a quick game of basketball. They are not focused on getting fit, losing weight or building muscle, and instead focus on the enjoyment of the activity. This group is not committed to exercise in the way other groups are, but remains active and healthy. The best way to market to this group is to advertise the fun or leisure that can be gained from going for a walk or playing a soccer game. Because this group doesn’t necessarily schedule exercise or care how many calories they burned, you’ll want to treat this group with some levity, and therefore ease up on the intensity. Community events are a great way to attract this group. If you have any festivals in your area, try tacking on active events with a fun twist, and get your advertisers involved with sponsorships. A fun run, for example, would resonate well with this group, as they would be able to sign up with
a large group of friends or just do it on a whim. You can even organize a basketball tournament with prizes from your advertisers, if they choose to sponsor your event. You can also encourage your advertisers — at least the ones who market to those who are active — to simply add information for their consumers as part of their advertising. Encourage them to add facts about the benefits of exercise to their ads. Consumers will see your clients as an authority on their interests, and will likely invest in your clients’ product or service. The Gym Rat The gym rat is a hardcore fitness guru. He would rather be at the gym or out on a run above anything else and sees fitness as one of his primary goals in life. Although the gym rat is a smaller portion of the active lifestyle demographic, gym rats will likely spend a lot of their disposable income on health or fitness expenditures. Discuss advertising options with gyms, health food stores, supplement companies and athletic gear shops, as they will likely target the gym rat
One of the major benefits of marketing to active people is that their commitment to health and fitness is yearround, so you’ll never be without this type of revenue. PAGE 24 | ABOVE THE FOLD MAGAZINE | abovethefoldmag.com
with vigor. You can also organize a special section that can be distributed to local fitness centers in the area. In this special section include articles about new fitness tips, the best places for a great workout in the area, healthy recipes and coupons and discounts from local businesses. You will also want to profile different seasonal activities that they may be interested in. For example, swimming is a great activity for summer, while running is ideal for fall and spring. If you have local ski trails or resorts, you’ll definitely want to advertise those as well!
promotional event. Events like this include the Banff Film Festival, which is held in Banff, Alberta, Canada, every year. Films included are by mountaineers and hardcore climbers that document their travels and experiences. The local community can get involved in the festivities, and you can raise money for local causes.
get the best deal, while also connecting consumers to local businesses. The Calorie Counter The most common group among the active lifestyle demographic is the calorie counter. This group is aware of their health and tries to keep their consumption of calories limited to maintain a healthy weight. Although they may or may not be active, they likely engage in some physical activity to earn the occasional dessert or savory treat.
The adrenaline junkie will drop his dollars on destination trips to kayak or will hike for days for a good, solid climb.
You will want to take advantage of the commitment to fitness gym rats possess, even though they represent a small portion of the active lifestyle demographic. They are relentlessly committed to health, and will definitely keep their eyes open for new adventures and great deals. The Adrenaline Junkie Although they make up an even smaller portion than the gym rat, adrenaline junkies are a huge moneymaker in this demographic. The adrenaline junkie will drop his dollars on destination trips to kayak or will hike for days for a good, solid climb. Your best bet for targeting these individuals is to talk to travel agents, outdoor sporting stores or guide agencies. These types of businesses likely know the adrenaline junkie pretty well, and will want to advertise with you. Another way to target this group is to hold a film festival or other type of
Adrenaline junkies are also people who might want to recreationally sky dive or bungee jump, so connecting them with places that can help them do that is another way to increase your revenue with this demographic. You can also hold safety courses for people interested or include coupons for groups or firsttimers from your advertisers.
As there are a variety of calorie-counting applications out there, the calorie counter likely has a log of consumed calories and vigilantly plugs them in after each meal. This is a hyper-aware consumer, and so information is the key to getting their business. Talk with your advertisers, especially those in the food industry, about labeling the nutritional value of their dishes on their menus or websites. Often, a calorie counter may forego a delicious meal out if they are unable to adequately log it, opting for a safer option.
Because the adrenaline junkie often needs to connect multiple businesses to make their heart-pumping dreams come true, you can also talk to multiple advertisers that can come together to offer packages. For example, if your area is a destination for kayakers or rafters, try contacting local hotels and car rentals to help travelers and locals alike
You can also organize and event around calorie counting and maintaining a healthy weight. Or, you can emulate the popular television program “The Biggest Loser” and talk to local businesses about sponsoring this program. Have weekly weigh-ins with prizes, the best being a healthy new lifestyle and community bragging rights. ■
NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2012 | PAGE 25
Active Marketing Meg Erlewine, Managing Editor
The active lifestyle demographic is a lucrative and growing market. Because it encompasses such a wide variety of audiences, it offers you a huge range of marketing opportunities. As we’ve mentioned before, this demographic is often goal-driven, but these goals range as well. They span from simply getting in shape and living a healthy, active life, to endurance challenges and constantly pushing themselves, to achieving the next adrenaline rush. The active lifestyle demographic is also very loyal to the people and brands that help them achieve those goals, which is the very reason why you should target this audience. Prove that you are integral to their exercise regime and training and you’ll have a loyal reader, and a guaranteed audience for your advertisers. Special Events One way to get the attention of the active lifestyle demographic is to hold an event. Typical events include marathons, 5k or 10k, or charity walks. As we approach the New Year, cash in on the resolution mindset of eating healthy, getting in shape and losing weight by sponsoring a “Get Fit” program for your community. Create a schedule of newspaper-hosted races and provide a training schedule a variety of levels — couch potato (beginner) to lapsed athlete (retrain those muscles!). Remember, an active lifestyle goes hand-in-hand with a well-balanced diet. Provide recipe and menu options as well to help people on their new training regime. Work with local grocery stores and restaurants to sponsor these menus. Encourage restaurants to offer a training menu to support the events and lifestyle. Also, work with various charities or groups to hold training
and exercise events. This is a great way for people to make connections and network with your potential audience. Get extreme! If extreme sports are big in your area, don’t ignore them! Host an annual extreme sports tournament to engage the adventurous type in your area. This is a young demographic, which can be hard for the newspaper to target, so this is a great way to reach out and make a connection.
Prove that you are integral to their exercise regime and training and you’ll have a loyal reader, and a guaranteed audience for your advertisers.
Special Sections Special sections are another great way to reach the active lifestyle demographic. And, again, there are several routes to go in — it all depends on your community and area. As suggested above, producing a training menu and exercise regime to go hand-in-hand with events is a great way to get the community involved. Look around you and see what is in your community and state. Don’t ignore the great outdoors and be seasonable! Offer guides to downhill and cross-country skiing, where are the best slopes in your vicinity? Is there a place to go white water rafting or just a nice leisurely canoe trip down the river? What are the best hiking locations, and don’t forget to list it by proficiency level (beginner, intermediate, advanced, extreme, etc.). The active lifestyle encompasses sports enthusiasts as well. Explore the intermural sporting events in your area, basketball, soccer, baseball, and
PAGE 26 | ABOVE THE FOLD MAGAZINE | abovethefoldmag.com
appeal to that audience. Give them as much attention as your school sports, they probably remember being the star of their high school sports team and would love rekindling that feeling. Also look at what action sports are popular in the area. Skateboarding, snowboarding and surfing are growing in popularity and acceptance, so offer something for them. Offer a seasonal publication focusing on these sports — where to catch the best waves, slopes, etc. Probably the most popular, and what would lend itself most easily to a regular publication, is appealing to the healthy and active lifestyle demographic. This could be a monthly, bi-monthly or quarterly publication — but we definitely recommend that you do it with an
online and mobile component. This publication could encompass everything mentioned above and more. You’d want to focus on the gyms and yoga studios in your area, but also pay attention to at-home exercises, or better yet, what to do to stay fit at an eight to five office job. As healthy is the motto here, also include healthy tips for eating, cleaning, overall lifestyle changes. These tips could be rated for different age or experience levels. Healthy lifestyle tips for the beginners, or for the middle-aged trying to just get in shape. One example of this is Bloomington, Ind.’s INStride publication, produced by The Herald-Times. A couple years ago I talked to the Marketing Manager Brooke McCluskey about their special section, how it started and what it offered the community. McCluskey said that Bloomington is an artsy, athletic college town, which also happens to be one of the nation’s top retirement destinations. Yet The Herald-Times’ senior section was behind the times. The old-fashioned tab for people age 55-plus was jokingly known as “for those 105plus” due to its obituary-style features and mortuary ads. Advertisers didn’t like it, and neither did the target audience. So The Herald-Times commissioned students from Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism to do a needs analysis for local seniors, baby boomers, health experts and fitness enthusiasts. They did in-person interviews, focus groups and surveys. The research indicated a need for a magazine-style health publication, full of bright modern images and helpful information, and easily found in the newspaper. Readers wanted an online place to connect with fitness friends. Community organizations wanted to share their numerous health events. Advertisers wanted to connect with people through free online chats.
INstride magazine and myINstride. com were born. The audience is fitness enthusiasts age 45-plus with a perceived age of 35 to 45 because they feel healthy and hip. The monthly magazine is 24 pages of fresh, cheerful information, about seven to 10 pages of which is created with the help of advertising partners. They have a panel of advertisers/experts who advise the content, including a bone and joint doctor, a YMCA executive, a sleep expert,
Public reaction has been strong and positive. Cover models boast about being recognized all over town. The Herald-Times frequently sees online comments to INstride stories like, “Finally, some good news.”
a lifestyle coach and several others. Because the visual image of this piece is very important, photographers spend time with photo subjects — splashing in the pool, hitting the trails and capturing moments. Herald-Times editor Bob Zaltsberg serves as the “face” of the piece — he is a runner and in the right demographic — and a reporter does the day-to-day website maintenance. The website allows people to interact, upload photos, share calendar events and participate in live online chats. Promotion was primarily done on public TV and radio, in print, and with posters/ table-toppers at gyms, malls and doctor’s offices. The messages showed glowing middle-age people with uplifting messages about wellness. Event marketing was also key. INstride became the lead sponsor of six big community events targeted at families and women: three community run/bike/walks (where INstride had a team), a women’s business fair, a women’s clothing charity and a Heart Association gala. Facebook and Twitter are used to draw audience to live online chats, which also benefits the main news website. Public reaction has been strong and positive. Cover models boast about being recognized all over town. The Herald-Times frequently sees online comments to INstride stories like, “Finally, some good news.” By treating potential advertisers as experts on the front end, requesting their input and advice, they jumped on board for advertising packages. In 2009 this was one of the paper’s highest revenue special products, and all but one advertiser renewed their annual contract for 2010. ■
NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2012 | PAGE 27
American Diabetes Month Aviation History Month Gluten-Free Diet Awareness Month Lung Cancer Awareness Month National Adoption Month National Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month National Inspirational Role Models Month National Pet Cancer Awareness Month
Using the Business Building Calendar
Business Building Calendar
1. Mexico: Day of the Dead 1. National Family Literacy Day 2. All Souls’ Day 3. Cliché Day 3. Sadie Hawkins’ Day 4. Clocks Fall Back with Daylight Savings Time 5. Job Action Day 6. General Election Day 7. Dear Santa Letter Week 10. Marine Corps Birthday 10. National Day of Play 10. National Gaming Day 11. American Education Week 11. Veterans’ Day / 12. Veteran’s Day Observed 12. National Young Reader’s Week 13. Solar Eclipse 13. World Kindness Day 14. Loosen Up, Lighten Up Day 15. Great American Smokeout 15. Guinness World Records’ Day 15. I Love to Write Day 16. National Farm-City Week 17. Family Volunteer Day 17. Remembrance Day 19. “Have a Bad Day” Day 21. National Deal Week 21. Wonderland of Lights 21. World Hello Day 22. Thanksgiving Day 23. Black Friday 23. Christmas Traditions 23. Maize Day 23. Native American Heritage Day 25. Shopping Reminder Day 26. Cyber Monday 28. Lunar Eclipse 29. Electronic Greetings Day 29. Holly Jolly Weekend 30. Stay Home Because You’re Well Day
Our BUSINESS BUILDING CALENDAR is here to guide you through the winter doldrums. This calendar offers you ways to spice up your advertising by embracing unique holidays and events. Use this list as inspiration to increase your revenue — and your advertiser’s bottom line. Here are a few ideas to get your creative juices flowing, but use your imagination and work with your team to find new and interesting themes to incorporate into your advertising this season. November | American Diabetes Month Prospective clients: • Restaurants • Retailers • Grocery Stores Generate revenue: • Type 2 Diabetes is an epidemic in the U.S. and is completely preventable. Help spread awareness by offering Diabetes prevention education in your paper, sponsored by your advertisers. Be sure to include low-carb recipes and menu plans, with the help of chefs and grocery stores. Encourage grocers to highlight the carb-friendly options and offer sales on those foods. • Put a face to Diabetes by creating a section dedicated to local citizens living with Diabetes. A Day in the Life of Diabetes can demonstrate the impact the disease has on people and families, as well as encourage healthier lifestyles. 11.07.12 | Dear Santa Letter Week Prospective clients: • Real estate agents • Auto dealers • Local retailers • Readers
Generate revenue: • Dear Santa Letter Week is a great way to start the holiday season. Encourage local children to send in their “Dear Santa” letters — showcasing a couple a day or at the end of the week. While ads and sponsorships should be easy to come by, we encourage you to keep an eye on the letters so you can target your ads to their subjects. For example, if Little Jimmy writes that he wants a new train, run ads for local toy and hobby stores, featuring deals on toy trains. This is a great way to help Little Jimmy’s dream come true, along with your advertiser’s. 11.21.12 | National Deal Week Prospective clients: • Grocery stores • Auto dealers • Local retailers • Everyone! Generate revenue: • Everyone wants a good deal; so, encourage your advertisers to embrace that spirit with National Deal Week by offering deals all week-long. Highlight a “Top Deal” daily. Deal options are endless, and can include automotive, retailers — anything! Don’t forget to do a little self-promotion and include newspaper deals too.)
PAGE 28 | ABOVE THE FOLD MAGAZINE | abovethefoldmag.com
Business Building Calendar
National Drunk & Drugged Driving Prevention Month National Write a Business Plan Month Safe Toys & Gifts Month Spiritual Literacy Month Worldwide Food Service Safety Month
December | National Write a Business Plan Month Prospective clients: • Local businesses • Retailers • Readers • Banks and lenders Generate revenue: • While everyone knows December is a time for giving and being with loved ones, it’s also National Write a Business Plan Month. Encourage new entrepreneurs and inventers to get a head start on New Year’s resolutions by writing a business plan this month. Help them see their dreams through and you may have an advertiser for life! Take a cue from Kickstarter.com and feature these business plans and inventions in a special section for readers to vote on. While they could simultaneously ask for donations, perhaps the paper (or a local financial sponsor) could award a grant to help see these plans come to life. This will give your editors a great local story to follow throughout the coming year. 12.01.12 | Operation Santa Paws Prospective clients: • Vets • Animal shelters • Local businesses Generate revenue: • Make pets your focus this week, as Operation Santa Paws invites goodwill
toward all animal kind. This holiday started as a collection drive for shelter and rescue cats and dogs, but there’s no need to limit to just those pets. Use this holiday to showcase all animals in need. Host a donation drive for food, toys and treats for local shelters, which could always use more. Simultaneously host an adopt-a-thon to help get shelter pets a new home for the holiday. Another way to observe the holiday is by asking your advertisers to place donation boxes in their offices and stores. 12.05.12 | Holiday Tour of Homes Prospective clients: • Real Estate Agents • Home Builders • Stagers Generate revenue: • Embrace the history and majesty of your town this holiday season by organizing a Holiday Tour of Homes. Encourage the community to come out and see the historic neighborhoods decked out in lights and visit open houses in the city’s most prestigious homes. Culminate the event with refreshments, entertainment and some merchants at an indoor/outdoor city center (depending on the weather). Be sure to include maps of the homes — both in print and online. A specific mobile app or mobile website is also a must, as it’ll give participants a guide in the palm of their hands. Donate a portion of the proceeds to the city’s historic foundations.
NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2012 | PAGE 29
1. Bifocals at the Monitor Liberation Day 1. Coats & Toys for Kids Day 1. Day With(out) Art 1. Operation Santa Paws 1. Rosa Parks Day 1. World AIDS Day 2. Advent, First Sunday 2. Special Education Day 5. Bathtub Party Day 5. Holiday Tour of Homes 5. Special Kids’ Day 5. International Volunteer Day for Economic & Social Development 6. National Miner’s Day 6. National Pawnbrokers’ Day 6. Saint Nicholas Day 7. Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day 8. International Shareware Day 8. National Day of the Horse 9. Chanukah 10. Human Rights Day 10. Human Rights Week 14. Christmas Bird Count 15. Bill of Rights Day 15. Cat Herders’ Day 17. Wright Brothers’ Day 21. Forefathers’ Day 21. Humbug Day 21. Underdog Day 21. Winter 21. Yalda 21. Yule 22. Capricorn, The Goat 23. Humanlight Celebration 24. Christmas Eve 25. Christmas Day 26. Boxing Day 26. National Whiner’s Day 29. Tick Tock Day 31. Make Up Your Mind Day 31. New Year’s Eve 31. Sun Bowl
After Thanksgiving, it means one thing for advertisers and consumers alike: the holiday season! Christmas, Hanukkah and the New Year are only a few of the holidays celebrated during this month. This means big advertising dollar signs in the eyes of your department and your advertisers. After all, this time of year means consumers will be doing even more shopping than usual, trying to find the perfect gifts for their loved ones. Therefore, it only makes sense that you and the rest of your department are right there, making sure your clients are meeting the needs of local consumers, while also increasing their revenue. While end-of-theyear sales and Christmas Eve discounts are a great way to guarantee those profits, why not break away from the traditional holiday advertising techniques? Or, you could at least create additional advertising solutions that not only offer great revenue opportunities for your department and your clients, but also an ample amount of opportunities for your community to celebrate the holiday season. Create community-wide events and newspaper special sections to really get the newspaper and the whole community in the holiday spirit!
Good Tidings and Advertising
Revenue generating ideas for December Beth Kellmurray, Associate Editor
St. Nicholas Day | December 6, 2012
What it is: Traditionally, this is the religious feast day, or a day of recognition, of St. Nicholas. St. Nicholas is often remembered for giving gifts in secrecy, and thus has often been associated with a Santa Claus-like figure in Christianity. The traditional German celebration of St. Nicholas Day involves hiding a pickle, usually within a Christmas tree, for children to find. Another common
PAGE 30 | ABOVE THE FOLD MAGAZINE | abovethefoldmag.com
celebration has children leave their shoes out on the night of Dec. 5 and then finding them filled with candy the next morning. Some fill the shoes specifically with chocolate gold coins to represent St. Nicholas’ charitable works for the poor. How to make money: Of course, preparation for Christmas advertising really starts in November, but St. Nicholas Day is also a great opportunity to kick-off your Christmas season advertising campaigns in unique and fun ways. For instance, you could include a special St. Nicholas Day children’s section in the newspaper with coloring pages, puzzles and games. Offer advertising in this space to candy and toy stores and other associated businesses in the area (after all, TOMA is the name of the game!). You could even promote a hidden image of a pickle within the pages of this special section, or maybe even in the classifieds, in order to draw eyes to your advertisers. You can then offer prizes to the first readers to find it. Ask for those participating to email when they find it so you can objectively determine who are the winners. ■
| December 25, 2012 What it is: Of course, your advertising department is no stranger to Christmas, the Christian celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ. Secularly, this holiday is celebrated by giving gifts to your loved ones. In the United States, Christmas is often celebrated by decorating Christmas trees, putting strings of lights on the exterior of houses and hanging stockings to be filled with presents and candy. In Christianity, Christmas is preceded by four weeks of preparation, a period called Advent, and then followed by 12 days of what is called “Christmastide,” more commonly recognized by the Christmas carol, “The Twelve Days of Christmas.” How to make money: As you well know, there are plenty of tried-and-true ways to create ad
campaigns for Christmas, such as offering discounts and sales for all of the last-minute shoppers looking to buy gifts for friends and family. However, why not go above and beyond by offering your community a great way to celebrate giving this season? You could do this by creating an outdoor Christmas event in your downtown or near your City Hall. Include a big Christmas tree and make an event out of lighting it, just like at the White House and in Rockefeller Center in New York City. Be sure to have hot chocolate and plenty of Christmas-themed snacks, like candy canes and Christmas cookies! You could even approach a local choir about singing Christmas carols at the event. Then, ask community members to give back by asking for presents to be donated to charities for children
in need. Let your trusted advertisers in on this great opportunity to demonstrate themselves as a valuable contributor to your community. ■
New Year’s Eve | December 31, 2012
What it is: Similarly, New Year’s Eve is also a commonly targeted holiday for newspaper advertising. New Year’s Eve is recognized as the last calendar day of the year, therefore, Dec. 31 usually consists of worldwide celebrations to ring in the upcoming New Year. The festivities usually begin that evening and culminate with a countdown to midnight and watching the ball drop in Times Square in New York City, either in person or on television. Firework displays, music, dancing, eating and drinking are also commonplace ways of celebrating on this night preceding the New Year. How to make money: Advising your clients to host a year-
end sale in preparation for the New Year is always a profitable approach to advertising at this time of the year. Think outside of the box this year and create a special New Year’s section in the paper. Take this as a time for reflection for both your newspaper and the entire community. Interview local businesses and ask them where they were a year ago, especially new businesses in the area that have had grand openings in the past year. Make sure to end the special section by looking ahead into the New Year by asking the same businesses, as well as local community members and even members on the newspaper staff about their New Year’s resolutions and where they see themselves in a year’s time — in 2014! ■
NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2012 | PAGE 31
After the ball drops at midnight on Jan. 1, we all look for new beginnings and make resolutions to become our best selves in hopes that this year will be better than the previous one. While the holiday season virtually comes to an end after New Year’s Eve, that doesn’t mean there are less opportunities to boost revenue in your department and for your advertisers. In fact, the ringing in of the New Year could mean a whole year’s worth of new profits if you look in the right places. Keep the holiday spirit going by focusing on New Year’s resolutions this January. We’ve selected a few holidays that focus on both personal and business resolutions to get you started. These ideas will be sure to encourage you, your advertisers and your readers to get the year off right, all while increasing your revenue!
Resolving to Improve Your Department Ad Ideas for January Beth Kellmurray, Associate Editor
International New Year’s Resolutions Month for Businesses | January
What it is: In the spirit of the New Year and making resolutions to be your best self, this holiday seeks to spend the month of January creating smart resolutions for businesses, both big and small. Raleigh R. Pinskey, a marketing and public relations consultant, established this month-long observation in order to encourage businesses to implement the best practices possible and adjust those practices accordingly every year. She created International New Year’s Resolutions Month for Businesses in hopes that businesses would spend this month getting the New Year off on the right foot by refocusing their PR and marketing efforts in order to successfully promote themselves to the public, and as a result, increase their revenue that year. Pinskey offers marketing and PR ideas and advice to get businesses started on her website, www.promoteyourself.com. How to make money: It’s crucial that the ad department’s role change from merely taking ads to really providing consultation services to your clients. Offer your advertisers great ideas and solutions that could become their New Year’s business resolutions as well. Keep the focus on marketing and public relations
PAGE 32 | ABOVE THE FOLD MAGAZINE | abovethefoldmag.com
by offering them special New Year deals for space in your classifieds with accompanying online ads throughout the month. Of course, you should go above and beyond by encouraging them to implement the best marketing practices this year by ramping up their social media use. Become the expert and tell them everything they need to know about using Facebook and Twitter and maybe even Pinterest, Instagram and Foursquare! Encourage them to offer special discounts and deals through these platforms and really connect with their customers. On top of that, make sure your newspaper’s social media accounts are connected with your clients’ accounts. For instance, you could participate in “Follow Fridays” every Friday of the month of January. Follow Fridays on Twitter are spent tweeting and tagging your favorite users in order to encourage others to follow them. These tweets are categorized by including the hashtag, “#followfriday” or “#ff.” Take this opportunity to give your advertisers an extra bit of marketing, and they may just return the favor by tagging you! This way, social networking becomes mutually beneficial, because their followers will see that your paper is a great advertising resource. ■
Diet Resolution Week | January 1 – 7, 2013
What it is: More often than not, when Jan. 1 comes around and people prepare to make their personal New Year’s resolutions, they tend to have to do with health and fitness, whether it is a promise to exercise more or lose a certain amount of weight. In that vein, the first week of January is dedicated to making dietary resolutions. The Vegetarian Awareness Network encourages individuals to spend this week making New Year’s resolutions to eat healthier in the upcoming year. They emphasize the importance of substituting meat with fruits, vegetables and less processed foods. By taking the first week of the year to focus your diet on healthy alternatives, this week of resolutions guarantees that you will lose weight and improve your health if taken seriously.
How to make money: Encourage members of your community to get healthy this year by partaking in Diet Resolution Week. Approach some of your advertisers about getting involved. Focus on gyms and health food stores and tell them about this great opportunity to get their names out there. Turn to doctors, nutritionists and personal trainers about hosting classes throughout the week in order to promote health and fitness awareness in your area. In the spirit of the foundation of Diet Resolution Week, make one of the classes focused on vegetarian diets and how to eat less meat. You could even include a special section in the paper that includes personal health journey stories of people in your town. Interview them and ask what diet and exercise routines they use and
what kind of success they have seen. Reading other people’s real-life success stories will certainly encourage others to get involved and take control of their health! ■
Get to Know Your Customer Day | January 17, 2013
What it is: Get to Know Your Customer Day is celebrated the third Thursday of every quarter — January, April, July and October. This day is set aside to turn the tables of your day-to-day business practices. Instead of selling, take some time to truly get to know
your customer. The holiday’s creator, Shep Hyken of Shepard Presentations, LLC, suggests taking a customer out to lunch without the intention of selling them anything, just to learn about them, their needs and their opinions on your business relationship. This can serve as great reflection for your department and how you conduct business with your advertisers, and likewise how your advertisers do business with their clients. How to make money: While planning out your resolutions this year, take this third Thursday in the New Year to resolve to get to know your customers better. Call up your advertisers and set up lunch dates — not to sell them ad space
or anything else, but just to get to know them and their business more. While this may seem like a free lunch, and consequently lost money, the knowledge you gain is invaluable. With it, you will be better equipped to serve your customers and thus more likely to be able to sell to them in the future. Encourage your advertisers to get involved in Get to Know Your Customer Day too. They could ask for customers to fill out surveys, telling them their thoughts about their business or service with the knowledge that feedback can truly shape and improve their practices. Make sure they give customers some incentive to answer surveys by offering discounts or coupons on their product or service. ■
NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2012 | PAGE 33
Real Estate and Pinterest A match made in heaven Beth Kellmurray, Associate Editor
Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn — oh my! And it does become a bit of an “oh my” situation when it comes to the ever-expanding world of social media. Questions often arise, especially when considering what is here to stay and what is just a passing fad. After all, if you are going to dedicate the time and resources to establish a well-thoughtout and active account, you obviously hope that it isn’t going to be irrelevant in the next year, let alone the next month. Therefore, it’s understandable if you and your ad department are a little bit wary jumping on the bandwagon and joining the latest and brightest star of social media, Pinterest. The site burst into popularity not long after its launch in March 2010, reaching 11.7 million unique users as of January 2012. It has proven results directing potential customers from the social network directly to retailers’ websites — that means huge revenue potential
for both your newspaper and your advertisers if harnessed correctly. But there is one vertical that could truly benefit from getting in on this hot, new social network — and that’s real estate. Pinterest is tailor made for showing off your real estate ads and already attracts an audience that flocks to the site for do-it-yourself tutorials and redecorating inspiration. So, let’s start with the basics. Pinterest is a virtual bulletin board where users post pictures of whatever they want, but
popular types of pins include fashion, food and — you guessed it — home furnishing and decorating. As with any social network, there are some key terms you need to know if you’re going to use Pinterest. For Pinterest, the condensed version goes as follows: A pin is an individual post, a re-pin is a pin re-posted from another user and a pin board is a topic-specific collection of pins (i.e., shoes, recipes or home design). To learn more on using Pinterest for your newspaper, check out our article, “Pinterest: A new way to increase revenue” on www. abovethefoldmag.com. Why Should Real Estate Pin? Pinterest is practically created with consumerism in mind. The site hinges on the visual experience, as the design of the website encourages users to endlessly scroll through attractive and inspiring images. D.I.Y. tutorials are a common staple of the site, and
Pinterest is tailor made for showing off your real estate ads and already attracts an audience that flocks to the site for do-it-yourself tutorials and redecorating inspiration. PAGE 34 | ABOVE THE FOLD MAGAZINE | abovethefoldmag.com
the typical response is for a user to say, “I am going to try that!” Some of these tutorials require users to make purchases in order to accomplish the project, while others just link to a website for further instruction. Similarly, some pins encourage shopping in general. A photo of a dress could then link the user to the site where they can buy that item. With all of this in mind, it’s hard for your real estate section and Realtor® clients to say no to Pinterest. After all, some of the most popular pins have to do with houses; home furnishing, design and decoration. Pins already encourage users to re-paint their house or buy an armoire they saw on the site, so why shouldn’t it encourage them to buy their next home and inform that decision? Not only that, but Mashable reported in their 2012 Social Network Analysis Report that Pinterest is one of the five social networks that is currently on the rise. The facts are undeniable: Pinterest is new, popular and on a track to continue to rise in popularity. Another report by Mashable showed that one of the most disliked things about Pinterest is that it’s a virtual “time suck,” in that users become so engulfed in the site that they sometimes end up spending more time on it than they would like. While this is listed as a dislike for users, it’s a definite pro for your real estate section and advertisers. With the current state of the Internet, the attention span of users is incredibly short — there are expansive amounts of information available to user and it only takes seconds to move from one end of the web to the other. So if a site out there is proving to hold the attention of browsers, you and your advertisers should take advantage of it and use it as a vehicle for branding. Pinterest for Your Real Estate Section I bet you’re asking yourself, “How can I use Pinterest?” One option is to create your own Pinterest account. Perhaps your
Instead of merely looking at pins of the houses, they also visualize how they could potentially decorate that house or where they could relocate. newspaper already has an account with pins that link back to the site and specific articles. If that’s the case, ask to get in on the action so you can create a board for your real estate section. Ideally, you don’t want to create multiple Pinterest accounts within the newspaper, because you will likely split your audience and confuse them as to which account is truly managed by the newspaper. Instead, create a unified front with pin boards representing all aspects of the newspaper — both editorial and advertising. One of the boards can, of course, contain your real estate offerings. However, a literal translation of the vertical on to Pinterest won’t cut it. Pinterest users look for awe-inspiring pictures, so anything less won’t attract a sustainable following. Make sure you include photos of not only the exterior of the home, but the interior as well — ideally photos of rooms that are staged by professionals so Pinterest users can visualize themselves in the home. You could also include pictures of the neighborhoods, special amenities, like pools and nicely landscaped yards. The key is to give users a dynamic and complete Pinterest experience. If you limit your Pinterest to the same exterior shot of all of your listings, users will readily see that this is another person trying to sell them something on the Internet. Make sure to add captions describing the pin and include a link, so users will be redirected to your newspaper’s website when they click on it. Similar to other social networks, it’s also important that you follow other users, like and re-pin their posts. This builds a good rapport within the social community and encourages others to follow your boards.
Pinterest for Your Clients Your other option is to offer Pinterest as a service to your Realtor® clients. You could consult them on how to start a Pinterest account for their company or even offer to manage it for them for a fee. When creating a Pinterest account for Realtors®, you should create boards containing dynamic pictures of the houses they are selling, just as you would on your newspaper’s account. But just as your newspaper’s account wouldn’t be limited to pictures of your listings, neither should your advertisers’. Sit down with your clients and discuss their brand and what image they want to perpetuate on Pinterest. It should be consistent with the rest of their marketing pieces, while taking advantage of the capabilities of Pinterest. In the article, “Pinterest 101” for InmanNext, Ali Maldoff discussed how the company she works with, Chestnut Park Real Estate in Toronto, accomplishes this with their account. In addition to boards containing images of their listings, they also created pin boards containing images of neighborhoods in Toronto, as well as interior decoration and lifestyle images that best represented the interests of their community. All of these boards not only build and maintain their brand, but they also give Pinterest users a full experience of that brand. Instead of merely looking at pins of the houses, they also visualize how they could potentially decorate that house or where they could relocate. These boards drive home the notion that Pinterest was really built upon: Inspiration to the point of action. ■ NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2012 | PAGE 35
The Importance of Vetting Home Inspectors Meg Erlewine, Managing Editor
Home inspections are an essential part of the real estate business. Both the buyer and the seller rely on a qualified and honest inspector to ensure that the deal goes off without a hitch. However, that isn’t always the case. Inspectors have been blamed, both justifiably and otherwise, for numerous sale derailments and unhappy purchases. Recently, Inman News’ Barry Stone — resident advice columnist, home inspector and founder of California’s Action Home Inspection Service — was asked the question, “Can I trust my home inspector?” The question came about after an eager homebuyer hired a professional inspector, who he felt didn’t do a thorough job. When the inspector failed to show proof of his American Society of Home Inspectors membership, the buyer began to feel duped. This distrust was later echoed in another question, when a seller questioned the trustworthiness of a buyer’s inspector, who claimed the presence of lead and asbestos in a house without offering any proof. In both cases, Stone recommended thoroughly investigating an inspector’s credentials prior to hiring him for the job. He suggested checking accredited sources and databases, like the ASHI’s association website (www.ashi.com), to see if the inspector is listed. It boils down to the simple fact that it’s important to get a reliable home inspector. First-time homebuyers, however, likely don’t know where to go to find one. While certain Realtors® have preferred home inspectors, many organizations warn against using an agent-preferred inspector, primarily
because it’s a conflict of interest. Agents work on a commission structure, which is roughly 6 percent, on average, of the selling price. Their final paycheck is contingent on the sale of the home. The higher the price tag, the more they make. So, it’s up to buyers and sellers to do the legwork. But that’s where you come in. Why not help buyers, sellers and agents alike by offering advice on vetting home inspectors. MSN Real Estate offered the following tips on how to find the best home investigator. 1. Don’t let a state license or certification fool you. Jim Turner, certified home inspector in Southern California, told MSN Real Estate that all states require some form of training, however, “the training may be so minimal that it is ineffective.” 2. Check associations and organizations. Professional association affiliation can help weed out the “fly-bynight” inspectors, though it won’t catch all of them. Groups such as NAHI, the National Institute of Building Inspectors and the ASHI are amongst the most reputable inspector associations, and each have a “Find an Inspector” option on their websites. 3. How to trust a real estate agent’s recommendation. As previously mentioned, an agent’s recommendation can come across as a conflict of interest. However, you don’t want to neglect their obvious experience and knowledge of the subject. Tell homebuyers to ask for multiple recommendations from their agents, somewhere between three and five. Also,
PAGE 36 | ABOVE THE FOLD MAGAZINE | abovethefoldmag.com
ask Realtors® the tough questions, like, “Would you hire any of these inspectors to inspect your or your family’s homes?” and “Who is the deal-killer in this area?” 4. Interview with the Inspector. After an inspector has been thoroughly investigated — by examining his résumé and accreditations — a homebuyer should check for complaints. They can call the state licensing board (or, whatever organization oversees inspector licenses) and ask if the inspector is active, up-to-date and if there have been any complaints made against him. Finally, a homebuyer should set up an interview with the inspector, where they can review the résumé and ask the important questions, “Do you carry errors and omissions insurance?” and “Do you offer a guarantee?” MSN also recommends that buyers request the inspection report in a narrative-style report and, if possible, invite themselves on a ride-along, accompanying the inspector while he’s examining another house. Take it a step further and offer a detailed directory of home inspectors. This directory should be complete with accreditations, reviews, bios and a brief résumé. This gives the newspaper the opportunity to do what they do best: investigate, interview and offer an invaluable tool for your community. This is a benefit to both you and your readers — it saves homebuyers the time and effort of having to vet inspectors themselves, and it gives you a new moneymaking opportunity. This directory is the perfect place for sponsorships and additional ads. ■
Car Ownership Among the Millennial Generation Alexa Unser, Associate Editor
Car ownership among the millennial generation has fallen off a cliff, according to a blog called “How to Market to Me: Your guide to getting the millennial market.” This blog, by Lindsey Kirchoff, outlines reasons why younger generations are averse to owning cars. She cites a study by the New York Times that indicates that 46 percent of 18- to 24-year-old drivers would choose access to the Internet over owning a car. According to Kirchoff, this trend is indicative of a shift in millennial behavior that shows millennials would rather stay at home and access the goods and services they need online, versus venturing out. Kirchoff also cites others who have made similar observations. At Inbound 2012, author and wine entrepreneur Gary Vaynuerchuck stated that the lifestyle shift that results in more people staying at home contributing to their economy is “the greatest cultural revolution since the invention of the automobile.” The synopsis of these observations shows that the Internet enables consumers to not only communicate with their friends, family and colleagues from anytime, anywhere, but also allows them to achieve all of life’s necessities and accouterments without the aid of an automobile. What with lifestyle innovations like Pinterest, people can prepare a gourmet and creative dish
at home without going to a restaurant. Consumers can “DIY” almost anything instead of purchasing everything, and for the things they cannot make, they can acquire them with the push of a
Urbanization People always say that you’d be crazy to own a car in a big city. Well, millennials agree, and as they are moving to cities in droves, they are trading in their cars for public transportation and higher rents. Culture Kirchoff argues that because there is less need to leave the house, our homebody culture is making car ownership obsolete. People, especially millennials, are investing in high-quality entertainment systems that allow them to stay home and watch movies in their own home theatres, versus shelling out for high movie ticket prices.
button. Kirchoff also cites a variety of reasons why car ownership has dropped off for millennials. Finances Ah, the recession. Millennials are in a worse financial situation than other generations were during the same point in their lives. College graduate employment is not as good as it used to be, although college graduates are still doing better than those without degrees. In addition to that, gas prices are high and online retailers have in almost all cases enabled free shipping.
Tech The Internet has enabled a “sharing culture” that previously extended to DVDs or other “rentables.” However, new innovations in online sharing have created companies like Zipcar, an affordable car rental company based on the premise that millennials rarely need cars. Mobility Deferred In general, youth are more mobile than other generations. However, the millennial generation is surprisingly less mobile than other generations. The author attributes this to both the recession and the “homebodiness” that is causing millennials to value home ownership and the Internet over convenient and everpresent transportation. ■
NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2012 | PAGE 37
Boost Your Black Friday Sales Beth Kellmurray, Associate Editor
Before Christmas or New Year’s sales even register on the minds of consumers, they gear up for Black Friday in order to get the best deals on gifts for their loved ones in preparation for the holiday season. Black Friday is the day after Thanksgiving when more than half of Americans wake up before dawn to stand in long lines to get jaw-dropping sales at their favorite stores. According to a 2010 study, customers spend an average of $350 per person on Black Friday. In fact, the consumer holiday has become so popular that it has expanded into an entire weekend, including Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday. Black Friday has become such a staple of the American consumer experience that it is essential for businesses to create separate advertising campaigns designed specifically for the day, and that includes car dealerships. Not only are cars a more common holiday gift than you may think, dealerships across the country offer some of the best deals on Black Friday. Therefore, it’s crucial that you equip your transportation advertisers with the best strategies possible for this holiday. We’ll help you get started below with a few Black Friday ideas to boost not only your clients’ revenue, but your paper’s too. Tweet, Like and Check In! A study conducted by TrueCar.com found that car dealerships offer some of the best deals on Black Friday. The typical discount at a dealership is about 6 percent, but on Black Friday, the average rises to approximately 9.5 percent and can get as high as 23 percent. Make sure your advertisers have this information so they remain competitive with other
The typical discount at a dealership is about 6 percent, but on Black Friday, the average rises to approximately 9.5 percent and can get as high as 23 percent.
local dealerships. One great way to offer discounts is through social networks. Suggest that your advertisers make a Black Friday advertising campaign geared toward the social media savvy in your community. For example, send out a tweet offering 10 percent off of their car purchase if they bring their phone and show that they retweeted the post. Of course, your clients aren’t limited to Twitter. They can offer the same deal through sites like Facebook and Foursquare too. For instance, if a customer shows proof that they liked your advertiser’s Facebook Page or checked in to the location on Foursquare, they can also receive that 10 percent off. These are great word-of-mouth advertising strategies that get your client’s name out to their existing customers’ online friends and followers, which is often a larger audience reach that traditional word-of-mouth. Deals on New Cars Discounts and deals are a great way to get customers on the car lot this Black Friday, but why not create even better deals for new car buyers? Create deals that offer a customer who buys a new car on Black Friday a special gift in addition to their purchase. For instance, some dealerships have given a gift card for $500 to their customers who bought new cars on Black Friday. Some even gave away an iPad! In the spirit of the gift-giving season, make sure your advertisers are giving back to their
PAGE 38 | ABOVE THE FOLD MAGAZINE | abovethefoldmag.com
clients. These added deals will not only get foot traffic to the dealerships, but they may convince someone looking at used cars to splurge on a brand new set of wheels instead. Offer a Shuttle System A great deal of mania surrounds Black Friday every year. Mere hours after going to sleep following a filling Thanksgiving meal, customers wake up before sunrise to stand in line, waiting for store doors to open in order to be the first to get great deals on electronics, clothes and the like. As you might imagine, or probably already know, things can get ugly. Some avoid Black Friday, fearing the dangers of driving on roads filled with crazed shoppers trying to beat others to the punch. Think outside of the box this year and suggest that your clients offer a shuttle system to customers who want to participate in Black Friday sales, but are wary of driving in the extreme conditions. The dealership could partner up with a local shuttle system or even use one of their own vans to show off what they have to offer. The key is to, of course, include your advertiser’s logo on the vehicle, demonstrating that they are the one offering this valuable service to the community. Make sure they have ample advertising before Black Friday too, so customers know about it beforehand. This is a great way to get your dealership client’s name out to the public as a local business that is invested in the community’s well being. ■
Viva Carnival from SCAMA! Baton Rouge for 2013
The Society of Classified Advertising Managers Association goes to Baton Rouge for its February conference in 2013. The dates are Feb. 7-9, 2013. As you know SCAMA is recognized as a premier group of newspaper and digital executives who come together to share best practices, money/profit-making ideas and information from leading vendors to the industry. Not just “feel-good” news, but actionable ideas that can translate into a more successful operation.
As attendees have come to expect:
• Idea Sharing Marathon: Bring your winning ideas and go home with dozens more. • Solutions for Today’s Operations: Bring your problems, challenges and stumbling blocks. Get advice from some of the most successful operations in the business. • Networking with key industry vendors: A chance to hear about ideas that can generate valuable sales and profits from SCAMA’s Vendor Partners.
New for 2013:
• Conference now held Thursday evening to Saturday afternoon • Thursday evening group dinner at Baton Rouge City Club • Stay Saturday and enjoy Louisiana Mardis Gras, Baton Rouge-style with a parade
How’s This for a Deal SCAMA is committed to offering real value. Conference registration includes 2013 Dues to SCAMA and, as they were in 2012, they are just $150. Hotel rooms at the Baton Rouge Hilton are only $129 single/double. Registration will open soon, so mark your calendars!! FOR MORE INFORMATION: Contact Venette Perry: email@example.com
SCAMA P.O. Box 531335 Birmingham, AL 35253-1335 (205) 592-0389
Change the Recruitment Game Alexa Unser, Associate Editor
Your recruitment section has probably taken a hit by the recruitment pure plays, like CareerBuilder® or Monster, but there are some ways to change the game and increase your revenue for this section. Since most businesses post job openings on the pure plays, which are then linked to your newspaper website’s recruitment section, why not allow local businesses to view possible candidates on your website as well? By creating a local, social recruitment network, you can allow users to upload videos answering possible interview questions. By doing so, you can once again be the necessary medium between local businesses and their prospective employees. Creating this network will not only reconnect jobseekers to businesses, it will also add a step to the recruitment process that will inevitably make hiring more efficient and less of a financial burden on both the jobseekers who travel to interviews and companies that use precious resources during the interview process. Taking the steps to become a local hub of new media recruitment will be a lot of work, but can allow you to bring in tons of revenue as well. Here are some possible steps to making this plan a reality. Talk to Local Businesses Discuss with your current clients if they would be interested in something like this; a system where jobseekers post an “interview video” discussing their skills and education so that businesses can get a feel for their personalities before a formal interview. If they are interested, ask them about some of the questions they may want to have answered by potential applicants.
For example: Why do you want to work in this field? How many years of experience do you have in this field, and do you see yourself continuing your career in our industry? Once you have this information, you can give guidance to applicants who want to participate, so they have a better idea of what to include in their video. Discuss Logistical Options With Your Programmers This part can be tricky too, because if you decide to create a new media network, you’ll need tech support and possibly a larger bandwidth. You may also want to discuss with programmers about the interface of this network, and if it can be used within the current user-membership registration or account interface. Talk to Your Community Is this type of network needed in your community? As we have previously discussed, a needs-based approach to service is necessary if you want to
be successful in your ventures. Ask community members if they would be interested in posting videos of themselves answering questions in lieu or in addition to traditional job-seeking practices. Beta testing or polling your community is really important to find out if there is a need or desire for this network. In areas that have central urban locations with smaller rural municipalities with no public transportation may find a need where larger urban areas may not, where public transportation is available. Working from home is also becoming an option for more and more companies and employees, therefore making video chatting and telecommuting a very real possibility that some businesses will be facing. Then GO FOR IT! If you find yourself with some serious affirmatives from your clients, programmers and community members, then it’s time to implement this new solution for your recruitment section.
By creating a local, social recruitment network, you can allow users to upload videos answering possible interview questions. By doing so, you can once again be the necessary medium between local businesses and their prospective employees.
PAGE 40 | ABOVE THE FOLD MAGAZINE | abovethefoldmag.com
Classify and Cut Just as you would for any other project, try to manage the information you present to possible jobseekers and recruiters so that it is easy for them to absorb. This means classifying your job categories down, so qualified jobseekers will know where to go. It also limits the amount of questions they are allowed to answer, so that recruiters can manage the videos that are submitted. Do this by looking to the already designated categories used by the recruitment pure plays, and also by weeding out out-lying questions from your local businesses. Obviously, some fields will require very specific information regarding their practices and qualifications, so you will want to decide whether or not users can upload more than one video in which they answer questions specific to the posting, or will only be allowed to upload one video and will have to choose what questions they want to give the most attention. Subscriptions? Do you want to offer this service as a free service to jobseekers and ask that businesses pay for the content? Since they will save time, and therefore money, by cutting down the interview process, they may be happy to pitch in. Or, you can ask that users pay per video or based on a monthly subscription. If you decide to charge users, demographics will be important
in your process of deciding how to design your subscriptions plans. For example, users in urban areas will be more inclined to pay a monthly subscription, as they may be able to save significant amounts of money on transportation that would otherwise be used to schlepping from place to place. While urban users may want a permanent service like this, rural users may find that they want to only utilize one video at a time, as their job prospects may be more limited and their answers, therefore, less diverse.
Don’t wait for someone else to create the next big thing, instead think, “Why not us?”
Culture By creating this network, you are also allowing businesses to keep their culture as a major requirement of incoming employees. The rise of culture being an important aspect in the workplace has been born out of the idea that creative capital is more of a contribution to a company than an employee that has nothing more to offer than time. Video submissions would allow users to curate their image to reflect the culture of the company that they are applying for, and it also allows companies to search for a candidate that will fit in well with their other employees and workplace environment. Although culture is an important aspect of every business’ environment, you’ll want to be very careful about how you word your directions to applicants and businesses. Make sure that you are not using any discriminatory language and police the businesses that use your service that also engage in discriminating hiring practices. Information is becoming akin to currency in today’s data-driven world, so it’s important that you keep up with the times. By allowing your users to receive more information than they had before, especially by adding new media alternatives to traditional practices, you will start leading the pack in recruitment innovations. Don’t wait for someone else to create the next big thing, instead think, “Why not us?” ■
NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2012 | PAGE 41
Changing the Hiring Process Beth Kellmurray, Associate Editor
It’s no secret that high unemployment rates have become the unfortunate reality in which we are currently living in the United States. The question facing your ad department is what role will your recruitment section play in this new landscape of employment? Job ads need to match the right employers with the right applicants. However, recruitment ads, whether in print or online, seem to be struggling to find the right balance in their content. To find the right candidate, job ads list quantifiable skillsets and experience, which deter many applicants who may not have a long list of experience, but could very well be right for the position. (Think recent college grads, who might be lacking in their résumé, but have the drive and potential.) Moreover, say applicants matching that description apply, but don’t have the right disposition for the work environment or they aren’t equipped for the real challenges of the position. These oversights can lead to high turnover rates in the workplace. So when employers come to your newspaper to publish their job ad, ask them questions about their office and environment and coach them on what is most needed in their ad in order to find the right employee. Scenarios, Not Skills While required experience and technical skills are important features in a job ad, they can’t carry it alone. For one thing, a one-year difference in experience could
discourage the right candidate from applying for the opening. Moreover, listed experience on a résumé does not necessarily equate that the applicant is ready for the real challenges facing a company. Therefore, we are not making a case for taking out the number of years of experience required or specific skills needed, but we are making a case for diversifying the content in job ads, and consequently, a case for taking this advice to your recruitment advertisers. To improve the content of your jobs ads, we suggest that rather than focusing on résumés, years of experience and interviewing skills, offer some examples of real challenges or scenarios that occur at the hiring company. In turn, ask applicants to offer their suggestion or response to such a scenario along with their résumé when applying. This allows the employer to assess the applicant’s answer in terms of whether or not they are cut out for the dayto-day tasks in their office. This strategy offers not only better insight into the candidate, their ability and whether or not they are the right fit for the company, but it also gives the applicant a more tangible understanding of the work environment and duties at the hiring company. Promote Job Culture Giving applicants a better representation of the day-to-day at a hiring company works under the premise that the
Rather than focusing on résumés, years of experience and interviewing skills, offer some examples of real challenges or scenarios that occur at the hiring company. PAGE 42 | ABOVE THE FOLD MAGAZINE | abovethefoldmag.com
company is not just advertising a job opening — they are also advertising their company brand to the public. It’s important to recognize the fact that recruitment ads are a two-way street. Although the current unemployment rate means a greater number of applicants, companies still need to promote their company and sell their brand when advertising job openings. If companies really believe and adopt this notion, then they will be more accepting of the fact that the current norms for job ads must change. One way to do this is to sell the hiring company’s culture in recruitment ads. Prove to applicants why your company is a great place to work and what makes it different. Just as you’re building your brand online and on social networks, job ads should do this as well. It’s another marketing space in which you should be reaffirming your brand. Not only does this potentially improve the perception of your company in the public eye, but it also helps discern who applies to the position. For instance, saying that your company has a high-energy, fast-paced environment will attract personalities accordingly and dissuade those to whom it doesn’t appeal. When jobseekers leave your ads, they should know whether or not they would like working at that company. If they’re still unsure after reading the job description, then your ad isn’t doing its job. ■
NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2012 | PAGE 43
Networking — A Necessary Evil How to network for those who hate to network Meg Erlewine, Managing Editor
Introverts and extroverts alike hate networking. Well, not all of them, but it should come as no surprise that networking frequently tops the list of “things that make me the most uncomfortable,” says self-proclaimed extrovert and Inc.com columnist Vanessa Merit Nornberg. Nornberg calls networking a “daunting task,” which requires a lot of (sometimes forced) smiles, handshakes and small talk, and often comes off as ingenuous. However, networking is an essential skill in the sales industry, and has been the subject of many recent articles. Building good rapport amongst your clients helps to build your brand identity throughout your community. So here is some advice from a few of those articles for people who hate to network, but find themselves in a situation where they must. In Nornberg’s article “Hate Networking? 3 Ways to Get Over It,” she reinforces the sales rep’s tried-and-true rule of thumb: listen. “Most people think about networking from the perspective of what they are going to say,” Nornberg writes. “Instead, think about networking in terms of what someone else might say to you.” You can learn valuable advice for your business, or learn about a problem they are facing that you could assist with. Furthermore, showing interest in a person helps dispel the ingenuous overtones that come with networking. “Honesty begets honesty,” Nornberg says. This advice can be taken on many levels. First, look at it from the perspective of what you have to say, and ditch the overly braggadocio PR pitch. Based on her own personal experience, Nornberg says that by focusing on her challenges, she’s saved
her business more than once. But honesty can also be a great icebreaker. The Young Entrepreneur Council suggests that when in a networking situation where you’re stumped for something to say, chances are you’re not the only one. In the article, “5 Ways to Get Over Your Business Networking Jitters,” author Melissa Cassera suggests walking up and introducing yourself by telling people it’s your first time there and you don’t know anyone. People connect with authenticity, and may take you under their wing. Nornberg also reminds us that everyone has something interesting to share. She states that networking often makes people nervous because they fear they will have nothing in common with the people they are with. “In my experience, the people who are the most different from me are also the most likely to teach me something valuable,” Nornberg said. “Stepping outside of your circle is one of the most effective ways to begin thinking outside your box — and networking is the perfect chance to get access to a bevvy of different types of thinkers, all in one location.” When career columnist Alexandra Levit was gifted a copy of Ben Casnocha and Reid Hoffman’s “The Start-Up of You,” she was so inspired by the unique networking tips it offered that she wrote an article about it. It’s undeniable that Hoffman, co-founder and chairman of LinkedIn, has had a hand in changing the networking game as we know it. Here are some things he offered to succeed in the business world. Start Your Own Association Don’t rely on already-established networks. Create your own association
PAGE 44 | ABOVE THE FOLD MAGAZINE | abovethefoldmag.com
with friends and colleagues to share ideas and resources. Advertising and marketing is a vast field that touches on a wide range of businesses, so this is a great way to solidify relationships, get great insights and great new ideas. Tired of Looking for the Next Great Idea? Put your focus on the people, the ideagenerators and thought-producers behind the opportunities and great ideas. “Try to understand what makes them hubs of opportunity,” Levit suggested, “and resolve to meet and develop bonds with more people with these characteristics.” Invest in People Levit encourages investing in networking and people to grow your existing relationships and associations. This can range from picking up coffee and lunches to the occasional plane ticket to meet new people. “Pick a person who is a weaker tie but with whom you would like to have a stronger alliance,” Levit explains, “and for several months, invest time and energy into building the relationship via shared knowledge and offers to help.” The Layoff Test As career counselors are oft to ask, what would you do if you were laid off today? In networking terms, whom would you contact for advice and possible opportunities. Levit suggest nurturing these relationships now. Have lunch, coffee or even a phone call and see what golden opportunities or simply information arise from a conversation without an agenda. ■
Keep Your Head High Why having a positive attitude can work for you Alexa Unser, Associate Editor
It can be a hard thing to hear that the majority of you success can be mental, but it’s true. Having and maintaining a positive attitude is one of the keys to success, especially in sales, because it allows you to keep going, even when times are tough and the road ahead looks hard. In “Three Mindsets of Long-Run Sales People,” an article by Ted Haro found in the Huffington Post’s Business Section, the author discusses some keys to having and keeping a positive attitude. The author begins by describing himself as an unlikely sales person, because he is the son of a doctor and was taught that salespeople are “pests who divert valuable time from seeing patients.” He then goes onto describe an early sales call in his career in which his customer tried to let him down easy by saying, “I don’t want to ruin your day.” Haro responded in an unpredictable, yet necessary, fashion, “I appreciate how you keep saying you don’t want to ruin my day… you won’t. Of course I’d rather you kept your business with our company. I’ll be disappointed if you leave us, no doubt. But it wont be tragic. You have to do what you have to do.” Haro’s response was indicative of the mindset that is required for a successful career in sales. He was invested and believed in what he was selling, yet allowed himself to be aware of the fact that a lost sale isn’t the end of the world. He goes on to discuss the three mindsets that
distinguish great sales people from poor or average ones. Curious vs. Judgmental The perceptions that you have about a client will generally be true, not because they are implicitly so, but because you make them so. People are perceptive creatures, and will likely realize if you’re being judgmental of them. On the flip side, your patience and demeanor will change as well. So, instead, Haro recommends that you change your mindset to curious. Be curious about how to approach your client in the best way, and you’ll like get farther with potential clients. Friendly vs. Adversarial The customer is not your enemy, nor is he the competition. You want a
Having and maintaining a positive attitude is one of the keys to success, especially in sales, because it allows you to keep going, even when times are tough and the road ahead looks hard.” partnership; don’t walk into a meeting trying to defeat them. Your customer needs something from you, and it’s not a loss. So instead of trying to score a point against them, show them how working with you can put the odds in their favor. And most of all, do it with a smile; friendliness goes a long way, and as Haro says, “mindset matters.” Proud vs. Ashamed Your company shouldn’t be your parents circa high school; you shouldn’t be embarrassed that you work for them. When someone asks you, “Who do you work for?” Haro says they’re really asking, “Is your company any good?” If you cower or act ashamed of the business that employs you, your potential clients will likely have little faith about buying what you have to sell. So, be proud of your company and your talents and show it. ■ NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2012 | PAGE 45
Five Tactical Tips for Small Advertisers John Foust, Raleigh, NC
The first order of business for a small advertiser is to make some strategic decisions (including competitive points of differentiation, budget, schedule, web presence and co-op availability).
“Free” is an important marketing word for small businesses. Offer free installation, free delivery, free training, free analysis or appraisal or free extended warranties.
When it’s time to move on to the ads themselves, consider these points:
2. Sell benefits. Big boxes have the advantages of (1) low prices, (2) big selection and (3) long hours. Advantages of small businesses include (1) customer service, (2) flexibility in available products and services and (3) first-hand knowledge of the local market.
1. Make an offer. This tip goes for all advertisers, especially Mom-and-Pop businesses that are competing with large, national chains. If you don’t give people a reason to buy from you, they’ll buy from someone else. It’s as simple as that. Shoppers expect low prices from big box stores. A widget at Walmart or Best Buy costs less than the same widget at a local retailer. As a result, it is unreasonable for Mom-and-Pop to compete on everyday, item-by-item pricing. However, it is possible to generate traffic with occasional sales, discount coupons and “buy one, get one free” offers.
People don’t buy features; they buy benefits. The challenge is to focus on benefits that resonate with the designated target audience. 3. Avoid puffery. Some small businesses have a tendency to use exaggerations in their advertising. They gush about “fantastic bargains,” “unbelievable service,” and “awesome products.” And they drone on and on about being “the best” or having “the
most.” All of that puffery amounts to a great big zero on the scale of influence. People exaggerate when they lack confidence in the truth. Or when they don’t know how to communicate the truth. Be specific. Tell readers exactly what makes that widget so awesome. 4. Use legible typography. In his outstanding book “Great Print Advertising,” Tony Antin refers to typography as “the voice of print.” I like that comparison. Just like some voices are easier to understand than others, some type is easier to read than others. Here are some quick guidelines: If you use all-caps, limit them to short headlines with short words. In body copy, serif fonts are easier to read than sans serif fonts. Stay away from script, Old English and stylized fonts. If every word is bold, nothing will stand out. 5. De-clutter. Advertisers who run smaller ads are in a constant battle to stand out on the page. But too many of them try to be noticed by cramming everything in the world into their ads. The result is the proverbial 10 pounds of potatoes in a five-pound sack. The truth is that clutter drives readers away. So when it comes to designing small ads, remember that less is more. Feature one dominant illustration, not 10 little ones. Get rid of starbursts and reverses. Use white space. In other words, make the advertising inviting. Advertising that invites readership invites sales. ■ © Copyright 2012 by John Foust. All rights reserved.
PAGE 46 | ABOVE THE FOLD MAGAZINE | abovethefoldmag.com
Off the Cuff:
How to avoid a price war Alexa Unser and Beth Kellmurray, Associate Editors
For this issue’s “Off the Cuff,” we decided to focus on how to “avoid a price war.” Often, businesses try lowering their prices to attract customers. However, this strategy can backfire, leaving your clients with low prices and no sales. For this discussion, we read INC.com’s “Easy Trick to Avoid a Price War” by Geoffrey James. Associate Editors Alexa Unser and Beth Kellmurray sat down to discuss this article, and how it may apply to both your sales strategies and your customers.
Alexa: Do you want to get started? Beth: Sure! Well, businesses typically look at their competitors’ prices to help determine their own. Unfortunately, this strategy can also lead to a price war where each competitor is lowing prices to stay competitive. The article we found, by Geoffrey James, discusses some ways to avoid getting into a price war by addressing your competitors’ prices and using strategic means to setting up your own. Consumers, instead, like options, and when presented with them, will most often pick the median versus picking the lowest-priced option. James suggests that you create packages with distinctions, like gold, silver and bronze, thus allowing you to make the middle distinction the price that you actually want your product or service to be sold at.
A: Ha! That’s a perfect illustration of the point, I guess. It shows that people will invariably go for the lowest-priced item unless there is an incentive for them to invest in something else. I both agree and disagree with the premise of this article. I think that having more options for consumers is never going to be a bad thing. If you want to be an industry leader, you’ll also want to not only have economically priced options, but you’ll also want packages with flexibility and quality. That said; don’t price out packages to compete with your competitors, because you still have a price war on your hands. You’re just adding products and services to stand out. You’re not staying competitive; you’re just manipulating the consumer.
A: This strategy not only gives your clients, or you, the appearance of having high-quality products and services, but also allows you to brand their competitors as the “cheap-o” option. As you said, the tiered system allows the bronze to match the competition’s prices. This way you can have the lowest-priced option while still maintaining active sales with higher prices that are still compatible with your bottom line…
B: Well, yeah, you’re manipulating the consumer just by placing an arbitrary value on product packages. I mean, in a sense, trying to convince people to buy something just because it fits in with your description of the “gold standard” underestimates the intelligence of the consumer.
At this moment, Beth takes a bite of yogurt and is disgusted.
B: So, I don’t know that this is adaptable for every product.
A: What’s wrong?
A: The thing that I don’t understand, is the “bronze” product the same product that the competitor is offering? The author didn’t make that distinction. If you’re going to have these packages, the service of the median package needs to be
B: This yogurt is gross. A: Why did you buy it? B: Because it was the cheapest.
PAGE 48 | ABOVE THE FOLD MAGAZINE | abovethefoldmag.com
A: It wildly underestimates the intelligence of the consumer.
greater than that of the bronze. So, the consumer isn’t actually getting a better deal, you’re just convincing them with clever words. Consumers are intelligent, and especially in this economy, and they will shop around. B: Right, it sounds like the author created this idea around consumers who do little to no research. In fact, the author gives a solution for businesses that have customers that do their research. He even says in the article, “Needless to say, this is best for customers who are not doing a huge amount of research into your product category. For those who are,
price, they will be disappointed when the quality isn’t there. Costs have to be cut somewhere, and it could be from profit or overhead; remember overhead includes employees. One place this pricing structure could work very well is newspaper advertising, since the price of the product itself can be quite low and is already factored in. Commissions are granted for sales, and often businesses submit their own designs. You also have a ton of room to wiggle around with online, print and other types of local advertising. So, while this pricing structure
businesses by addressing the competition’s product as comparable to your or your client’s lowest quality package. B: Right, and with designated budgets, a package structure is definitely beneficial since it allows for a customer to come to a business and say, “I have X, what can you give me for it?” A: That’s also one thing that will be really good for you as a business
Avoid getting into a price war by addressing your competitors’ prices and using strategic means to setting up your own. you’ll need to go a more difficult route — identifying something in your product that is so important that the alternatives just aren’t viable.” A: Shouldn’t that be the unilateral decision on how to avoid a price war? Just figure out what is unique and good about your product, so that you never need to trick anyone into buying it? And of course, pricing structure is important. It’s important to stay competitive and base you prices on the market. But it’s also important to keep your prices based in reality. B: It’s like the saying, “If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.” If your customers think that they’re getting something for an unbelievable
may be rather manipulative for many industries, it’s great for newspapers. A: I definitely agree, and one of the benefits of adding a hierarchical price strategy is that it allows for you or your clients’ businesses and brand images to be perceived as highly organized. I suppose it’s like going to a restaurant that offers a three-course mean from a designated menu for a designated price. You know what you are getting right off the bat versus ordering a bunch of stuff and being surprised when you see the bill. So, a tiered price strategy works well in that scenario too. I suppose I mainly have a problem with using the pricing structure to undermine competing
that sells to other businesses and organizations. You are invariably dealing with customers who do their research, have tight budgets and are rarely impulsive. They will write off impulses, so they will want to be very sure that your product is worth their time and money. B: So, in short, don’t set your prices based on arbitrary colors. Base it on what you offer and what you need to make ends meet. If the market is there, charge what people will pay. But don’t allow yourself to be tricked by the same pricing strategy you’re using to get customers. ■
NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2012 | PAGE 49
Boosting Morale by Fighting Negativity in the Workplace Beth Kellmurray, Associate Editor
In the spirit of our active lifestyle demographic, we want to focus on the importance of not only physical health, but mental health as well. Since most U.S. workers spend at least 40 hours at work every week, both physical and mental health play a large role in office life and well-being. Therefore, it’s crucial that, as manager, you stay vigilant in regards to bad attitudes and daily work frustrations within the office. What may seem like a small office conflict or one bad day could potentially reach a boiling point, and consequently have a negative impact on the mental health of you and your employees. Make sure you build an office environment that supports your staff and aids their happiness, and if problems do arise — and they are bound to — make sure you offer constructive outlets for employees to vent frustrations and resolve issues. If you ignore building negativity in your department, it will directly contribute to the dissatisfaction of your employees, and subsequently, their work performances. The implication of this is that office negativity impacts the work being done in your ad department and is actually preventing it from reaching its potential. Simply put, unhappy employees likely means you have some unhappy clients,
and as a manager, you know that cannot stand. The key in warding off negativity in the office is making a distinction between what is a poor attitude and a disagreement between work styles and ideas. If you criticize an employee for a bad attitude, because they disagree with you, then you’re only going to build up resentment amongst your staff. You don’t want to make your employees feel like they can’t approach you when they have an issue, and you don’t want to create an environment where creativity and ideas aren’t valued. A “my way or the highway” attitude is a surefire way to limit innovation and progress. Therefore, the key is to create an office environment that allows for an open, constructive and on-going dialogue amongst the staff and places value on all employees and their ideas, happiness and mental and physical health. We break down some key components to creating this balance below. Create an Open Door Policy The first step in preventing office negativity is to make sure that, as the manager, you have constructed an environment in which your staff feels comfortable approaching you, not only when they have a work suggestion or question, but when they’re facing internal issues and conflicts in the workplace as well. Make it clear that these conversations are kept
confidential unless you let them know otherwise, because if an employee is having a problem with another staff member, they may be wary of coming to you in fear that the information will trickle down the grapevine and eventually reach the person in question. Beyond resolving office conflicts, ensure your management style allows for a diversity of opinions and ideas. If you send the message that the right way is your way, then you’re stifling the potential of your office. Never tell your employees their ideas are wrong or suggestion is wrong. Instead, sit down and have a constructive conversation about these ideas, logically weighing why they would or would not work. This will make your workplace feel collaborative rather than one-sided, and ultimately make your employees feel like a valued part of a team and prevent resentment and negativity. Confront Issues Head On If you notice that something is adrift in the office, don’t let it go ignored, because it will build up and become an even bigger problem in the future. Instead, hold a one-on-one meeting with the person or people involved and ask questions about their satisfaction or workload to determine what may be bothering them. As previously mentioned, determine if this is an attitude problem, a conflict with another employee or perhaps a management issue. Allow for self-reflection, because if you are continually blaming your employees, you will not be able to grow as a manager and your department won’t be able to grow as a business either.
NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2012 | PAGE 51
Always have the conversations individually rather than an groups, because group settings lend themselves to heated confrontations and you want your employees to feel safe and assured when discussing issues with you. Furthermore, you should consult with every employee that is involved in the issue, because you don’t want to develop a one-sided opinion or view of the situation, because chances are that’s not the bigger picture. As a people, we are prone to seeing situations from our limited perspective, that’s just human nature, not necessarily a personal vendetta. Try to remain as objective as possible in order to appropriately assess and respond to any given situation. Value Your Team’s Opinion It’s already important to value the opinions of your employees when it comes to the work at hand. Diversified opinions and ideas allow for more innovation, progress and ultimately, success. Your approach to resolving conflict and negativity within the office shouldn’t be any different. When you’re having those one-on-one meetings with dissatisfied employees, after you find out what is bothering them, ask them what they think needs to be done to resolve the issue rather than going ahead on your own and making those changes without consulting the people involved. Firstly, you will gain insight from the person who is firsthand involved in the issue. Secondly, you demonstrate that you are invested and are taking the conflict seriously. And
lastly, you once again show that you value their opinion and place value on them as an employee. Moreover, they are a functioning member of the team: Who better would understand the way the team functions and what needs to happen to improve the status quo? Take that information, take it seriously and take action. Outline a real-time plan and method to reconstructing the office in a way that would avoid future conflict and allow for increased employee happiness and satisfaction. Employee Happiness Check-Ups Once you have shared your plan of action with the entire team, check up with them to see how it’s progressing. Ask employees if they are happier with the way things are working or if more needs to be done. Again, this will demonstrate that you that you care for their happiness and satisfaction in their work and are making an effort to guarantee it. Moreover, these “check ups” will help prevent future unhappiness or negativity in the office, because you will, hopefully, catch negativity before it has a chance to build. If you are serious about facing office negativity head on, then you have to commit to a long-term,
PAGE 52 | ABOVE THE FOLD MAGAZINE | abovethefoldmag.com
on-going solution such as this. A onetime meeting won’t resolve it, because conflict is ultimately unavoidable and needs to be continually treated. ■
Outline a real-time plan and method to reconstructing the office in a way that would avoid future conflict and allow for increased employee happiness and satisfaction.
The Secret Behind Employee Retention Beth Kellmurray, Associate Editor
Maintaining a healthy work environment, both physically and mentally, is essential for a productive office. As manager, you’re responsible for maintaining the balance, keeping an eye out for negativity, growing dissatisfaction and the overall company morale. One way to accomplish this is to offer employees work benefits that will help them balance their work with their personal lives. Your employees are undoubtedly juggling a long list of daily obligations, and chances are, so are you. Therefore, if upper management offers work benefits and flexibility that aid employees in meeting their demanding schedules, they will in turn value their employer, building loyalty and trust between the two, and consequently improving morale and performance in the office. Not only will your employees receive these valuable benefits, you and your office will feel the advantages as well, as your office increases in functionality.
is how your office functions in order to determine if flexibility is feasible. Perhaps many of your reps spend the day in the office on the phone with clients. If that’s the case, then flexible work hours are definitely a possibility. If something comes up for an employee, allow them to make the calls from home or adjust their in-office hours. Ensure they take the necessary precautions, like forwarding their phone calls to their home line. It’s important that you convey that these benefits are a privilege not to be taken advantage of. They should give as much
only spending 15 percent of their time in the office, then you could allow them to spend that time at home every once in a while. For example, perhaps one of your employees needs to be at home for a couple of hours while waiting for a repairman. Let them spend those hours at home with the understanding they will reschedule their appointments accordingly and still be in contact with clients, even if they don’t check in at the office for a day. When offering flexibility in the office, your staff should earn the benefits by proving to be dedicated and responsible employees, completing their tasks in a timely and efficient manner, even when they are working from home. Whether or not you have sales reps largely in the office making calls or out driving to various meetings throughout the day, you need to take consideration of how your office functions before promising benefits. If your office environment doesn’t permit for flexibility, you need to be realistic and offer benefits and show appreciation for your staff where you can. You don’t want to have unrealistic expectations and make promises you can’t keep.
When most people hear the word “benefits,” they immediately see dollar signs, and rightfully so. Offering incentives like earned sick days and maternity leave cost money, but you may find that the pros outweigh the cons. By being generous with your employees you demonstrate that you value them, and it won’t go unnoticed. Employees will feel loyal to your newspaper and want to stay for the long haul. In other words, by offering generous benefits, you prevent potentially high turnover rates — saving time and money, when you may otherwise have to spend your busy schedule in the hiring process.
notice as possible when adjusting their hours, and only do so when need be, rather than making a habit of it. For example, if an employee’s child gets sick and they need to stay home, allow them to telecommute for the day.
Many of your employees likely have families to care for and things can come up at a moment’s notice. Within reason, you should allow for flexible work hours. However, the important thing to consider
On the other hand, it’s quite possible that many of your sales reps don’t spend much time in the office, but rather spend 75 percent of their day out in the field taking meetings with clients. If they’re
Of course, as manager, you may or may not have the ability to offer your employees flexible schedules or increased paid leave. These decisions may be left up to the powers that be. If you don’t have a say, set up a meeting with senior management to discuss benefits and what room there is to work with. For instance, you could suggest starting a daycare service in the office or working out some kind of employee deal with a local daycare. If your employees see that you are fighting for their best interests, they in turn will be invested in the department and their work. ■
NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2012 | PAGE 53
Why nature’s laws can help you manage Alexa Unser, Associate Editor
We are often predisposed to believe that our respective fields have their own rules irrespective of the rules in other fields. However, when something works, it works, and can teach us a lot about how to work within our own field, esoteric as it may be. That’s why a book called “Organizational Physics, The Science of Growing a Business,” by Lex Sisney, is a great resource for anyone looking to increase revenue and understand the way their business works from a physical perspective. A review of this book, “Commission Junction CoFounder Lex Sisney Applies A Scientific Approach To Analyzing Your Business” by John Greathouse on Infochackie. com, truncates the information found into small, digestible pieces, which makes it much easier to understand why businesses and physics can be so easily intertwined. Sisney defines Organization Physics like so, “If physics is the science of matter and energy… and management refers to principles and methods to lead organizations, Organizational Physics is the translation… between the two.” In his book, Sisney links the two by likening
the principles of management to physical theories and illustrates how similar they are. This is because, as Greathouse describes, Sisney observed that groups of people exhibit similar behaviors to particles, and therefore it allows him to discuss institutions from the perspective of the physical sciences with resonance. Some of the highlights of Sisney’s book are as follows: Organizations Are Adaptive Systems They adapt and change to exist within an environment as to ensure survival and success. Great organizations always fill a need or a gap within a society, therefore making them adaptive to the climate. For example, newspapers are now adapting to a technological world. To be a successful organization, newspapers will have to change their procedures and practices to reflect the changes happening in our digital culture. Organizations Are Subject to the First Laws of Thermodynamics The first law of thermodynamic states that “the change in internal energy of
a system is equal to the heat added to the system minus the work done by the system.” OK, so it’s a little confusing. But in short, it amounts to the fact that systems (read: organizations) have a given or finite amount of energy (read: potential), and when businesses can take advantage of their potential as well as the opportunities in their area, success will happen. This essentially amounts to finding a need and filling it, thereby using available opportunities to use your energy in a way that will be noticed and appreciated. Organizations Are Also Subject to the Second Law of Thermodynamics The second law of thermodynamics amounts to, “Entropy is the process by which everything deteriorates over time.” Entropy, or the layman translation; chaos requires energy, therefore depleting
Sisney observed that groups of people exhibit similar behaviors to particles, and therefore it allows him to discuss institutions from the perspective of the physical sciences with resonance.
PAGE 54 | ABOVE THE FOLD MAGAZINE | abovethefoldmag.com
it from necessary projects. The more chaos you have within your organization, the less you will be able to get done, and the more easily you will fail. A great way to start eliminating chaos, and thus making your organization more efficient is to look at anything they you do that could be considered ineffective. Do you have a review process that may take up too much time? Or do you review your employees too much? By re-evaluating your practices, you may be able to save time and money and also re-direct your organization’s energy
be the most successful. This concept does not only apply to people, however, but ideas, projects, products and departments. See compromise, whether it be on a project or idea as adapting.
will continue to be such, unless an “external force” causes them to change. Current behaviors can be positive or negative, however, and it is important to examine both your organization’s current behaviors, and possible outside forces that could cause them to change for better or worse.
When businesses can take advantage of their potential as well as the opportunities in their area, success will happen. This essentially amounts to finding a need and filling it, thereby using available opportunities to use your energy in a way that will be noticed and appreciated.
Organizations Are Subject to Their Environment as a Whole Sisney discusses four primary forces that are present within well functioning systems. These forces are production, stabilization, innovation and unification. Each of these will have great impact on your organization if you understand how they interact with your goals and bottom lines. For example, based on the goals of your organization, prioritize these forces to ensure that they are all accounted for, but approached based to fit your needs. Organizations Are Subject to Environmental Conditions – Adapters Survive Survival may be a little strong, but the concept is the same. Those who can adapt within your organization will
Organizations Are Subject to the Laws of Motion – Inertia, Accelerations and Reactions Matter The first and third Newton’s Laws of Motion are most applicable in the scenario but since Greathouse doesn’t go into them in great detail, they are: 1. Every object in a state of uniform motion tends to remain in that state of motion unless an external force is applied to it. When applied to an organization, this simply means that your behaviors
2. For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. This law relates to the previous laws in that an auxiliary action can cause a change that although equal and opposite, may also be unexpected. So, while a decision within your organization may seem like a good idea, try to predict possible reactions and outcomes before implementing it. That way, you can best allocate resources and the skills of your employees to make sure implementing a new product or service goes smoothly.
The application of physical laws to your business or organization is one way that you can begin to control chaos and starting getting the results you want. By examining your practices with this type of lens, you will be able to see where you need to focus energy, and where you can allow the momentum of your projects and employees carry on without your focus. The newspaper advertising industry can be quite insular, but allowing concepts and laws from other fields to inform your practice can really only help you create a more efficient machine. ■
NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2012 | PAGE 55
302 Ferry St. Ste 200 Lafayette, IN 47901-1164 Office: 765-742-9012
Prsrt Std US Postage Paid Permit #7 Caney, KS 67333
www.abovethefoldmag.com Above the Fold Magazine and www.abovethefoldmag.com are produced and published by EZAdsPro. We are a team of dedicated professionals directing our daily focus on newspaper advertising departments to assist them with developing, implementing, capturing and realizing innovative ways to produce revenue for their company. Our staff is comprised of graphic designers, computer techs, software designers, an interactive sales team, an editorial board and former newspaper professionals in the United States and the UK. Through our understanding and direct connection with the newspaper industry, we can insure what we develop and deliver are strategies, such as automation and effective management tactics that are immediately beneficial to our clients. Our goal is to help professionals with all their advertising needs. We provide professional advice, creative solutions, innovative thinking and creative practices in the development of new revenue-producing ideas. We also create ways to automate both the publishing and distribution of real estate and automotive ad design. We have a strong history of sharing the wealth when it comes to stimulating ideas. We anticipate the needs of our clients and inspire creativity and innovation while we assist in providing solutions. Address: 302 Ferry Street, Ste 200, Lafayette, Indiana 47901-1164 • Phone: 765-742-9012 • EZAdsPro Website: www.ezadspro.com
PAGE 56 | ABOVE THE FOLD MAGAZINE | abovethefoldmag.com Above the Fold Website: abovethefoldmag.com • Sales Email: firstname.lastname@example.org • Editorial Email: email@example.com