The “Plunge” of Newspaper Advertising – It’s a CUSTOMER Issue

I’ve talked about this affair in apparently 700 of the 1000+ speeches I accept accustomed over the accomplished 8 years… acceptable media, predominantly newspapers, are in a chargeless abatement and it will alone get worse. To prove this point, a contempo commodity in WSJ (Wall Street Journal) aggregate some analysis by GroupM area they declared that “global spending on bi-weekly book is accepted to abatement 8.7% in 2016… the bigger bead aback the recession of 2009 if it alone 13.7%.” These are big numbers if adapted to dollars. And while this is significant, it isn’t my point… their CUSTOMERS are the absolute issue.

We can allocution all day about the implications this has for abounding people, including the advisers and suppliers to these organizations, but that is a affair for addition day and addition discussion. Let me just leave this one on the table by summarizing it in just 3 words… THEY MISSED IT. If you wish to apprehend added about how this impacting bags of advisers and changes in their industry I would animate you to apprehend the article, “Plummeting Bi-weekly Ad Acquirement Sparks new Wave of Changes.”

These acceptable media organizations, newspapers getting a above component, absent it… they absent the Internet Revolution and the Digital Economy. They were so able and captivated with their own success and ascendancy that they absent the Tsunami headed to bank that was traveling to change their apple forever. And if you charge a quick refresher… anticipate of Craigslist… the aboriginal “shot beyond the bow” that in fact wiped out their athletic of classified advertising. They never recovered from this and never attempted to change their archetypal to attempt with Craigslist… they absent it.

I could go on and on about how they absent abounding added aspects apropos to their industry but that is not the point I wish to make… or the befalling that is present today for EVERY BUSINESS LEADER. I wish to allocution about HOW THEY COULD HAVE PREVENTED THIS FROM HAPPENING so we can all apprentice from anniversary other’s mistakes and administer them to your industry.


These changes didn’t appear overnight. Granted, they happened faster than any added time in our history but they weren’t instant. There were affluence of admonishing signs from their customers… their subscribers, advertisers, and readers… that could accept guided them out of the cave. Barter were cogent them how they capital something added effective, beneath expensive, and easier to use.

Back to Craigslist for an example… it was a abundant archetypal they could accept affected and become a baton in if they had been added “outwardly focused” rather than “inwardly focused.” They absent it. If Craigslist entered the bazaar it was new and innovative… a Blue Ocean action for a fat and cher account alleged classified ads. I know, I placed abounding of them in my day and couldn’t accept how abundant I had to pay for basal results. It was a aggrandized arrangement advised to accomplish newspapers actual rich.

And just like all the added models that appear forth and blew up a aggrandized industry (think of Uber, AirBnB, Amazon, Zappos, etc.) they became acknowledged because the incumbent’s didn’t wish to change their model… it was their “cash cow” at the time and they fabricated billions. They had all the ability because they had the audience… the CUSTOMERS. They could accept adopted added of a Craigslist archetypal and chock-full Craigslist in its tracks… but they didn’t. They anticipation because of their ability in the bazaar they could behest what the chump should get… bethink Henry Ford if he alone capital to action atramentous cars?

If they had in fact LISTENED TO THEIR CUSTOMERS and accomplished their accurate wants and needs… to advertise their being in beneath time and beneath money… they could accept endemic this bazaar and created an absolutely new acquirement stream. They absent it because they didn’t accept to their barter and appear up with a plan to accord them something of abundant value. The alone capital to action it in black.

They aswell absent that the CUSTOMER WAS IN TOTAL CONTROL of the purchasing decisions. With the about-face from the Industrial Revolution to the Internet Revolution, barter had abounding added choices and could now vote (with their wallets) which one(s) they capital to support. They chose Craigslist because there was no aggressive another from the newspapers. The newspapers barter left. They went to a bigger model… one that gave them what they were agreeable for… efficiency, time, and cost.

The newspapers accept to still be in abnegation today because they still don’t accept an alms to attempt finer with Craigslist. But as the adage goes, “the beasts accept larboard the barn” so their befalling is gone. They absent it.


Now I would ask you to anticipate about this with attention to your own business… your own industry… your own customers. What is it in your industry that is “fat and aggrandized with margin” and not giving your barter what they absolutely wish at a reasonable price? I accept there are opportunities to analyze this in around every industry. What exists in what you do or accommodate to your barter they would adulation to see changed? What could be afflicted in your business which would in fact advice your barter lives (or businesses) improve? What could you action that would be added able and/or beneath costly?

And what could you change in your CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE which would draft your barter apperception in how abundant you cared about them and approved how abundant you cared about convalescent their lives (or business)? What are these? If you don’t know, it’s time to acquisition out… because they are there. If you don’t accept the befalling is there and there is annihilation you can do, go aback up to the top of this column and reread the case abstraction on Craigslist… there is consistently an opportunity.

THIS IS THE OPPORTUNITY FOR EVERY BUSINESS LEADER TODAY… analyze the areas by award out from your barter what would advance their activity decidedly if you could change it. Be bold… be accessible minded… be creative… and animate this acknowledgment from your customers. If you do this… constantly… they will in fact see you absolutely affliction and maybe, just maybe, alpha cogent you something they aren’t cogent anyone abroad (including your competitors).

When this happens, you all but annihilate the crisis of acceptable the “newspaper in your industry” and it opens the aperture to become the “Craigslist in your industry.” This is area approaching absent business leaders wish to go… now you accept the acumen to get there. Are you up for the challenge?