Magazine article Editor & Publisher

Putting the Pop in Marketing

Magazine article Editor & Publisher

Putting the Pop in Marketing

Article excerpt


Newspapers must be sold like milk and soda, says NAA consultant

To put an end to years of circulation declines, newspapers must adopt the same sound marketing practices that boost sales of milk and soda pop, Coca-Cola's former chief marketing officer, Sergio Zyman, said last week at the annual Newspaper Association of America (NAA) marketing convention here.

"I'm sorry to break the news to you, but you're not different when it comes to marketing," declared Zyman, who has been studying newspaper readership for a year under a contract with the NAA to help lead the industry out of declining-circulation wilderness.

Zyman lectured, admonished, and encouraged more than 1,500 newspaper owners and marketing officials who packed a Moscone Center auditorium.

"Your industry is full of self-fulfilling prophecies, and your industry is in need of process," proclaimed Zyman, founder and CEO of the Atlanta-based Z Group, who spoke with true-believer zeal broken by frequent quips.

Circulation-building efforts by newspapers can no longer rely on a "go with the flow," seat-of-the pants approach -- a doomed vagueness that could be called "be creative and come up with stuff," Zyman said sarcastically. Rather, newspaper marketing "has to be scientific and has to be measured," he said.

Zyman conceded that successful marketing must begin with a high-quality product, saying, "No marketing plan sells or can sell as effectively as the product experience. …

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