Magazine article Editor & Publisher

The Value of Teamwork

Magazine article Editor & Publisher

The Value of Teamwork

Article excerpt

A CIRCULATION EXECUTIVE, with the leader of his newspaper's advertising department at his side, recently urged advertising and circulation department managers to "tear down the walls" that separate them and become true partners to boost sales.

The two departments' marketing plans should complement each other and "quite frankly, they should be driven by advertising" Larry Martin, vice president/circulation of Tucson Newspapers Inc., told newspaper advertising directors.

Conceding that some circulation departments have been tainted by corruption, "mystery" and unprofessionalism, thereby losing the trust of advertising staffers, Martin stressed that now is a new era in which ad departments "must trust circulation, remove the barriers that still exist but demand integrity and growth."

The 1990s, Martin said, call for credible circulation numbers and progress that includes the ability to identify and target subscribers "and an understanding that we are both serving the same customers. After all, advertisers are readers, readers are buyers, buyers are advertisers."

Speaking at the 68th annual sales conference of the California Newspaper Advertising Executives Association at La Quinta, Martin said the team cooperation that he has developed at TNI with Terry Egger, vice president/advertising, may serve as an example to other newspapers. The company publishes the Arizona Daily Star and Tucson Citizen.

TNI's "Action Team," headed by Martin and Egger, reduced churn from 120% in 1990 to 74% in 1993 and in, creased circulation and advertising, Martin said.

One change was assigning circulation people to accompany advertising reps on sales calls.

"I can contribute to a sales call:" he declared. "Give us the opportunity. Circulation has grown up. We are more intelligent and we're here to assist you - to fill in the gap in marketing."

Martin said building a working partnership between circulation and advertising requires a commitment from top management and giving one person in each department "the ability to cross departmental boundaries."

At TNI, the two departments cooperated successfully in marketing an "Extra" card, which gives subscribers discounts at advertising retailers, he said. "It was a win-win situation."

A partnership between the two departments, he added, can address such key questions as:

* How much circulation growth is needed to justify rate increases?

* Where is the highest penetration needed?

* What is the designated market worth of circulation outside the paper's retail trading zone?

* Who are the key circulation wholesalers, and how important is alternate delivery. …

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