Streamlining the Ad Purchasing Process

A recent study by the Newspaper Association of America (NAA) found 33% of Internet users visit a newspaper website every month. Unique visitors to these websites jumped 21% in 2005 and page views increased nearly 50%. How to deal with the growing popularity of the Internet was a big topic at the NAA's recent tradeshow in Chicago. During one panel discussion on this topic, Andrew Swinland, EVP of Starcom Worldwide (ad agency) said his firm had difficulty buying online ads across newspapers and is was also hard to buy both print and online ads through newspapers. He said the entire process of buying these ads was cumbersome.

Mr. Swinland couldn't be more correct. But these problems are not limited to the newspaper industry. We and our hundreds of customers face them day to day with most every major HR trade magazine. Many major HR trade magazines make you work with a different ad rep to buy print advertising and online advertising. In fact, you often have to work with yet another contact to purchase "directory" listings in the back of the magazine and yet another person to rent a subscriber list for a direct email marketing campaign. And to rent labels for a print direct marketing campaign that can sometimes be another person or outside mail rental company!

Sound ridiculous? It is and it's quite frustrating.

We recommend that publishers have a single point of contact to "coordinate" all these buys. It makes sense to have this single point of contact model if you look at it from the HR supplier's or their agency's vantage point (who, by the way, is the customer in this transaction). From the vendor's perspective, all these "buys" (print and online advertising, print and email direct marketing, eNewsletter sponsorship, etc.) are for the sole purpose of delivering their message to the subscribers of the respective media outlet (e.g., HR trade magazine). Making the vendor or their agency go to different people to buy products from the same company is like having to go through separate check out isles at the grocery store to purchase cereal versus vegetables. In fact, because the current model is so cumbersome for the customer we believe the vendors end up spending less than they would if they had a single point of contact to work with. Eliminate the purchasing barriers and your sales will rise - and you will build stronger customer relationships.

We hope the marketing departments at print newspapers and trade magazines figure this out and make the process more streamlined. It will make everyone's life a little easier and productive - and our guess is it will be more profitable for publishers.