“Newspapers are losing their own core market because they didn’t understand the scale of the internet. They still thought mass when they should have realized that small is the new big. That is, online, newspapers still threw their lot in with the big advertisers who had been the only ones who could afford their mass products. They didn’t see the mass of potential spending in a new population of small, local advertisers who never could afford to advertise in newspapers but who now could afford to buy targeted, efficient, inexpensive ads online.”
“Even the online sales teams at newspaper companies didn’t how now to sell small; they were — as I once put it in a meeting — putting all their effort into saving the old $100,000 advertiser and saw getting 1,000 $100 advertisers as a distraction. The new-media divisions had already become big and old.” — Buzz Machine
Jeff Jarvis goes on to offer suggestions on how newspapers can generate new, local dollars online:
“Start a new company that makes small, local advertising its sole focus. That means they need to set up automated systems to accept and place highly targeted local ads and directories. That means they need to come up with new means of selling without on-the-street sales staffs: outbound phone sales, direct response, even local sales network (instead of citizen journalists, citizen sales people), making aggressive use of the promotional power of the newspaper while you still have it. That means they need to have lots of targeted local content without large editorial staffs.”
Most sales organizations with which I am familiar are just not wired for this. The math just doesn’t work. It will be interesting to see which traditional media companies are able to make their sales machine work in a New Online World.