Persona-comments-Dan Cotter N.E. Newspaper & Press Assn.

From IVP Wiki

Comments, questions and recommendations about "From Paper to Persona"

Dan Cotter, executive director, New England Newspaper & Press Association

Source: Email communication

Thanks very much for sharing this white paper with me. Sorry for the delay in sending these ideas back to you -- I've just been swamped with other projects during the past couple of weeks, so it took me awhile to find time to read through the paper. It turned out to be time well spent. I sincerely appreciate the opportunity to take an early look at your ideas.
It seems to me that a publishing company that decides to act upon your ideas ought to do several things:

    1. As you noted, they could agree that establishing the ITA is a good idea and they could participate by lending their endorsement and/or financial support, and perhaps joining forces with the association to craft the ultimate vision and plan for implementation.

    2. Next, a publishing company (or consortium) would need to determine if there is, in fact, a sustainable business model in this concept, and if so, how it would best be operationalized. They would need to find out how receptive news consumers and advertisers would be to this, and how to do it right.

Publishers like Gannett, McClatchy and Tribune are big enough, either alone or in collaboration, to begin experimenting with models of what this value proposition might look like to an everyday news consumer and to our bread and butter advertisers (such as local retailers and service providers, car dealers, employers and Realtors).

      • First, they would need to assess news consumer appetite for the information valet service. To do that they would need to develop detailed concepts and working models of the services they'd propose to provide and then show random samples of consumers how it would work and explain what the benefits would be. This research would seek to predict the degree to which consumers would embrace and use these services if they became available, and whether and to what degree they'd be willing to trade information about their demographics, preferences, product usage, etc. and their time to look at ads. Once the publishers home in on a concept and quid pro quo that consumers embrace they would also want to identify subscription pricing schemes that consumers will readily accept, as well as promotional message strategies that can effectively convey the value proposition in a way that most news consumers could easily grasp.

      • Once the refined concepts and prototypes are ready, publishing companies ought to meet with key advertisers to show them what the potential plans are, how consumers are expected to respond, and how advertisers would be able to use these new advertising products to accomplish their range of objectives -- from building awareness to sales promotion to branding to direct marketing. During this research the publishing companies would seek to determine the level of advertiser appetite for these new services (which include the ability to know prospects intimately and approach/reach them one-to-one, pay them to view ads and other sponsored resources, etc.), what type of metrics will be required, pricing thresholds, what kind of sales force will be required to sell the ad services effectively, etc.

    3. Once the news consumer and advertiser needs are assessed and a strategy with a high potential for success is formulated, the publishers can move full steam ahead in putting in place the technology and collaborative agreements required to make an information valet that will fulfill customer expectations. Of course, the resulting product should be tested and refined using news consumer and advertiser feedback.

    4. Assuming that all of this comes together as a plan that they'll want to roll out, I'd caution everyone involved to give adequate attention to the marketing aspects. Throughout the past 20 years newspaper companies have done a reasonably good job in trying to create digital products that provide value for news consumers, but as a whole they've done a poor job in taking those products to market -- in terms of promotion to both news consumers and advertisers. Effective promotion and sales strategies (and their execution) are mission critical when launching new products of any kind, and this is certainly no different.

If publishers decide that they want to take action as a result of reading your white paper, they should begin by discussing and debating your concept in their corporate boardrooms, at industry conferences and with each other -- perhaps with an eye toward collaborating on the upfront modeling and exploratory research that will need to be done. Even before they get to the point of putting the concept (and prototypes) in front of potential customers they ought to scrutinize and stress test it internally. You and Roger or others from RJI may want to make an offer to come to present the concept at their corporate offices and facilitate some of this discussion and debate. In fact, doing that might ultimately help foster some of the collaboration between publishing companies that will likely be needed to get this off the ground.