Gannett CMO Looks to Provide Multiplatform Marketing Help for Advertisers
By John Consoli -- Broadcasting & Cable, 3/8/2012 2:25:38 PM
She has a broad background in marketing, previously serving as senior VP of integrated sales marketing at NBCU, responsible for working across all the company's platforms to develop custom ad sales solutions for clients, while overseeing marketing for all NBCU properties. Prior to that, she was chief marketing officer at Univision Communications.
Banikarim spoke to B&C contributing editor John Consoli about how she sees the company being positioned going forward from a marketing perspective. An edited transcript follows.
You spent a number of years in CMO positions at both Univision and NBCUniversal, which had no print platforms like Gannett does. How has the addition of print properties for you to market impact your role at Gannett?
There really isn't that much difference. They are all media companies. And Univision and NBCU weren't just television. Each had other properties that had to be brought together when marketing those companies. What all these companies have in common is that they generate content and it's always about content. Content is what draws consumers. When you have consumers, it draws advertisers. We're in the content business and the news distribution business. It doesn't matter whether it's broadcast or print. Content is tailored to the audience on each platform and then you market it.
What are some of your big picture marketing plans for the remainder of this year?
USA Today will be 30 years old this fall. USA Today was like an early Internet when it was founded with its concisely written news from every state across the country. USA Today still covers news from every state in the country every day. We need to promote its history and the innovative way it covers news today. It does great database journalism in presenting complex stories in an easy to understand way using graphics and statistics. We need to highlight and promote that to consumers and advertisers.
What is different about your role as CMO at Gannett?
I have a seat at the table. I have a say in planning strategies before they are ready to be implemented, [not] just going out and carrying out what someone else decided. I can participate in developing the strategy aimed at growing the company's revenue.
With the growing amount of media competition and more and more digital properties being created, what does Gannett need to do and how does it need to market itself to get its share of the ad revenue pie going forward?
We have to become a marketing services provider to advertisers, particularly on the local level. Each one of our media properties has different areas of expertise. They are going to have to define those areas and go out and offer them to clients. We're not just in the newspaper or TV business. We have to be more. If a local business wants to start a Website, our local newspaper or TV station in that market needs to help. If a local business wants to develop a social media strategy, our local media companies need to help do it with them. We need to help them find solutions to make their business more successful. It's no longer just about advertising. In the markets where our properties don't have the resources to offer these services or models themselves, we can build them centrally and roll them out into smaller markets for their clients. We need to listen to what clients' goals are and then do whatever we can to help them achieve those goals.
Every media company seems to be moving more heavily into digital. How important is digital to Gannett?
Gannett has traditionally been known more as a newspaper company because of some of the larger newspapers we have along with USA Today. But our media footprint is much broader than that. We have 23 TV stations, including 12 NBC affiliates. We have more than 100 Websites affiliated with their local and print broadcast media organizations and hundreds more related to shopping, travel, healthcare and sports information. Today, about 21 percent of our company's revenue-about $1 billion a year-comes from our digital properties. Our chief digital officer David Payne has done a great job in expanding our digital offerings. USA Today launched one of the first apps on Kindle Fire with Volkswagen as a launch partner. We have new USA Today apps for iPhone and iPod Touch. We relaunched USA Today.com and many of our local Websites. Expanded DealChicken and our digital sports offerings. We need to stay relevant and offer news and our content everywhere at any time.
You recently named a new president of sales for Gannett, Mary Murcko. What will her role be?
She will oversee sales for all USA Today platforms and also spearhead our efforts to nationalize our sales through all our local media properties. We have over 100 newspapers and TV stations, plus they all have their own Websites. She will work to create national reach for advertisers by activating them through all of our local properties.
From a marketing perspective how do you deal with that when talking to perspective advertisers?
Newspapers are not dead. We've actually seen a slight uptick in our Sunday circulations. There is still a demand for news. People are looking for more news than ever before. And people are consuming more news than ever before. But they are consuming it in different ways. But people still live their lives locally first. They still need to know what's going on in their towns, in their local government. And someone has to be the watchdog in those towns. Newspapers can still do that. They just have to find different ways to supplement print, whether it be via digital, mobile or other technologies. And then we have to market those efforts.
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