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McClatchy and Cox Newspapers Launch Similar Online Sales Program, Targeting Local Yellow Page Advertisers, Generating Hundreds of Thousands in New Web Revenue.

The Client Newspapers:
The McClatchy Company's Tacoma (WA) News Tribune
Cox Newspapers' Palm Beach (FL) Post

The Mission:
The latest Borrell Associates report entitled "Say Goodbye to Yellow Pages" reaffirms what we see in all US markets we work in: Local advertisers are spending less in printed directories as they look for new online solutions. With this in mind, the sales managers at both the Tacoma News Tribune and Palm Beach Post had a similar desire to greatly increase their online revenue from traditional and new Yellow Page advertiser categories. Both newspapers also had similar desires to have most of the new revenue be generated by their traditional sales teams. In short, the goal was to get the traditional sales people to sell more online dollars for higher rates! Each newspaper sought out the Blinder Group for assistance.

The Sales Programs:
Mike Blinder of the Blinder Group worked with both newspapers to craft "blended" online offerings that would attract new advertiser categories within the local markets. Primarily, each newspaper offered an online banner campaign guaranteeing a high number of online ad impressions for each participating advertiser. The banner campaign's "price points" varied, depending upon which advertiser categories were being targeted. In general all "packaged" banner inventory programs offered a good value, to a limited number of advertisers.

For example, the Palm Beach (FL) Post offered 25 limited advertisers 50,000 guaranteed, monthly impressions in what they call the "magazine" (600x250) ad position. These ads were placed on all local news story pages; "day parted" to be served Monday – Friday 6am –7pm only.

The Tacoma (WA) News Tribune opted to offer three separate limited availability "packages," in order to attract different levels of advertiser participation. The lowest level offered 16,500 monthly ad impressions on targeted news sections only. A higher level "package" offered 50,000 monthly ad impressions, with the top level offering 150,000 monthly ad impressions.

Click on image to view larger version

Both newspapers "blended" with each of the above offerings a proven "Search Engine Optimization" component that The Blinder Group has deployed successfully in many markets worldwide. Each participating advertiser was offered a "Business Profile Page" which was populated with information and "keywords" about the advertiser. Each "Business Profile Page" was placed within the local newspapers' Web site.

Placing a properly coded page, with advertiser information, within a newspaper site, actually assists advertisers in being found higher on the results pages of online search engines, as part of the "organic results" of the search process. This model of "Search Engine Maximization" has been proven by a number of newspapers, with great success.

Sales Team Training
Mike Blinder of The Blinder Group conducted an initial training session with the traditional salespeople of each newspaper to instruct on:

  • Prospecting new multimedia business
  • The basics of multimedia marketing and how the medium works
  • Best practices in selling online solutions
  • How to sell "CPM" pricing effectively to local advertisers
  • The benefits of bringing interactive products to market
  • Methods for using the Web to garner more market share
  • How to attack the competition with online offerings
  • How "Search Marketing" works and the elements of the newspaper's new solution
  • The exact elements and "value propositions" of the new "blended" sales programs developed by The Blinder Group

The training sessions conducted at each newspaper also included content informing the sales teams of the Blinder Group's scheduled return visits, in which "4-legged" sales training/closing calls were performed with the reps, to assist in the launching of these new programs. Salespeople were urged and encouraged during the meeting, to set up a large amount of appointments, with qualified "decision-makers" of area businesses.

During the training sessions, each sales team was supplied with proven support documents that reinforced the training, as well as provided an appointment-setting script to assist them in setting up the pending sales calls.

Four sample pages of the 11-page presentation created by The Blinder Group for the Palm Beach (FL) Post

Click on image to view larger version

Sales Support Materials
The Blinder Group also assisted in the production of the associated sales support collaterals necessary for each sales programs' deployment. A simple, easy-to-follow multiple page flyer was developed so the advertisers (and the sales teams) could easily grasp the features and benefits of these new concepts. Too often media companies do not graphically explain the online portions of sales programs in an easy-to-follow manner, thus creating confusion during the sales process. The Blinder Group has incredible success creating powerful sales presentations.

Guaranteed Revenue Generation:
One of the key elements in ensuring sales success of new initiatives like these is garnering advertiser approval of meeting attendance, as well as the validity of the concept in general. Some of these advertisers are new to marketing their business online and feel wary of trying new ideas. One of the most effective means of accomplishing attendance and acceptance is to introduce the advertiser to an industry respected "outside" consultant who has had success with similar programs, with similar businesses, in similar markets, all across the world. That is why many media companies contract with The Blinder Group to perform "4-legged" sales training/closing calls with traditional ad reps, to assist in the launch of programs like the ones defined in this document.

Also, during these assisted, "4-legged" sales training/closing calls provided by The Blinder Group, the accompanying salesperson learns new, valuable techniques in how to sell innovative programs, like this one, in an effective manner.

Moreover, when the sales rep experiences the advertiser acceptance (as well as the increase in personal income they will enjoy as a result of the sale being "closed") they truly adapt to seeing the real value of selling online solutions to local advertisers. The Blinder Group has a proven track record of generating high "closing" ratios, resulting in significant revenue, for client media companies that have deployed this form of advertising sales initiative.

The Results:
During the assisted, "4-legged," sales training closing calls that occurred with the sales reps in both Tacoma and Palm Beach, high "closing ratios" were achieved with significant new online revenue garnered.

McClatchy's Tacoma (WA) News Tribune enjoyed 82 percent "closing ratios," during The Blinder Group's sales training "blitz" week. The newspaper set up 51 calls with qualified "decision makers," in which 42 agreed to a full year advertising commitment during that very first call. The result of the actual sales "blitz" was over $410,000 of new online revenue.

Cox's Palm Beach (FL) Post realized 92 percent "closing ratios," during The Blinder Group's sales training "blitz" week while in market. The newspaper set up 27 calls with qualified "decision makers," in which 25 agreed to a full year advertising commitment during that very first call. The result of the actual sales "blitz" was $260,000 of new online revenue.

Local Client Contacts:

Kurt Vantosky, Vice President Advertising
Tacoma (WA) News Tribune

Eddie Thorpe, Director of Online Sales
Palm Beach (FL) Post

The Blinder Group:

Mike Blinder, President, The Blinder Group, Inc.

Download this case study: Blinder-McClatchy-Cox.pdf

The Blinder Group
Tampa Offices: 6139 Fjord Way
New Port Richey, FL 34652 USA
(727) 847-2464 ~ (727) 847-5959 (fax)

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CONSULTING/TRAINING: Strategic Planning ~ Basic Sales Training
Multimedia Sales Training ~ Assisted 4-Legged Closing Calls

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