The Blinder Group
helping media companies maximize revenue through effective sales of their multimedia assets

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Over $350,000 in New Online/ PRINT Coupon Revenue for Venice (FL) Sun Newspapers

The Challenge

Sun Coast Media Group (SCMG), the publisher of 3 daily newspapers and 9 community papers in SW and Central Florida, wanted to find a method of selling additional advertising to local small and medium sized businesses (SMB’s). They have a very robust website with over 1 million monthly page views. In the past on three occasions they had deployed sales consultants that conducted 4-legged calls to sell banner advertising. While the initial results were good the churn was high, as a result SCMG was wholesaling most of their banner inventory.

Coupon books and coupon-based advertising which had been very profitable five years ago, but now accounted for a very small portion of their advertising revenue and at the same time ad count had fallen to the levels of the late 1990’s. In the early years of the Internet the SCMG had developed an online coupon component of their printed coupons and in 2007 their IT department started the development of a new web-only coupon site--this product ultimately was spun off into a separate company. Your Coupon Network (YCN). This company now has a national footprint with over 75,000 local coupons and 25 print partners.

In March, David Dunn-Rankin, President of Sun Newspapers, challenged his staff to develop a program that would generate at least 300,000 of new revenue from SMB’s that were not presently Sun Newspaper advertisers. The Blinder Group, a multimedia sales training and consulting firm, was hired to assist them in their goal of developing a bundled package using the YCN platform and weekly print coupons as well as find a way to train and motivate their existing sales force to take this bundled product to market.

The Solution

Mike Blinder, President of the Blinder Group, helped develop a bundled package that combined the Your Coupon Network with the online and print editions of the SCMG papers. The Your Coupon Network platform provides a branded website searchable by zip code and category. In addition they provide weekly e-mail marketing and SEM to drive local traffic to the local branded coupon site.

Sun Newspapers Graphics staff produced a special coupon broadsheet format called “Deals and Steals” that runs very Saturday in the Our Town section of each of their daily newspapers. YCN developed a revolving skyscraper ad that can display up to 30 thumbnail coupons for the SCMG website with hotlinks to the coupon on the branded coupon site.

Sales Support Materials

The Blinder Group pulled all of this information together in an easy to understand sales kit for the salespeople to use in selling the product. The materials covered print, SCMG website, e-mail marketing, and SEM. The entire package was put into a simple easy-to-follow, multiple page flyer so the advertisers and sales team could easily grasp the features and benefits of this sales program. The Blinder Group has vast experience in creating such sales presentations. "Too often media companies do not graphically explain the online portions of sales programs in as easy-to-follow manner," says Mike. "This creates confusion during the sales process."

Sales Team Training

The Blinder Group conducted an initial training session with the traditional salespeople of SCMG to instruct on:

  • Prospecting new multimedia business
  • The basics of multimedia marketing and how the medium works
  • Best practices in selling online solutions
  • 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

During that training, the sales staff was supplied with proven support documents that re enforced the training, as well as provided an appointment-setting script to assist them in setting up the calls.

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 the new program. Salespeople were urged and encouraged during the meeting, to set up a large amount of appointments, with qualified "decision-makers" of area businesses.

The Results

During the assisted "4-legged" sales training/closing calls with the reps in each market, the Blinder Group achieved on average a 50% "closing ratio" during the initial visit when the call was performed in front of a "qualified decision-maker". All sales were for a 52-week commitment at a $99.00 dollar per week price point.

The first "Deals and Steals" broadsheet gang page had 18 coupons with annual income of $92,668. After three weeks the now trained sales team had sold a second page and with deployment in two other markets the program is forecasted to be sold out at 4 pages with over $370,000 in new revenue.

"I'm thrilled with this program. The closing ratio was outstanding and it's still selling great to this day. It's still growing--we have contracts coming in everyday now," said Glen Nickerson, Executive Advertising Director, Sun Coast Media Group. "It has been one of the most successful programs we’ve had in years."

[Download a PDF version of this study]

Contact Information
For Port Charlotte/Venice (FL) Sun Newspapers:
David Dunn-Rankin, Publisher
941-205-1000 Extension: 1003

For Your Coupon Network:
Robert Knight, President

For The Blinder Group:
Mike Blinder, President
Blinder Group Inc.
(727) 847-2464

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

SPEAKING PROGRAMS, seminars and workshops

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

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