Weeklies beginning to band together

Two key words for the '90s are results and service.It is encouraging to see that community newspapers and their associations have recognized the need to deliver in both of these areas.More accountabilityToday's advertisers are demanding more accountability from their agencies in...

Two key words for the ’90s are results and service.

It is encouraging to see that community newspapers and their associations have recognized the need to deliver in both of these areas.

More accountability

Today’s advertisers are demanding more accountability from their agencies in terms of campaign results, and media departments must be prepared to deliver specific targeted reach against the highest potential consumer.

With the ability of the community newspaper to provide a very precise geographical delivery of the message, retail advertisers in particular can be assured of reaching key consumers.

Community newspaper associations like the MetroValley Newspaper Group and the Alberta Weekly Newspaper Association are providing information services to media planners and buyers that help to target these consumers and are providing marketing surveys and systems that match advertisers with their most promising markets.

Zone system

For example, the Alberta Weekly Newspaper Association began a zone marketing system in 1991 that provided advertisers with a clear picture of regional markets by using detailed agricultural data.

This system targets producers of particular agricultural products as well as consumers of farm supplies and also incorporates other factors related to the industry.

Ease of purchase

The community newspaper associations have wisely recognized that ease of purchase is also vital to being included in any national plans.

National advertisers who were once reluctant to cope with the administrative headaches of dealing with large numbers of newspapers are using provincial newspaper associations that offer a one order/one invoice policy.

It is precisely these types of services that help to get community newspapers on more national media plans.

However, beyond these types of statistical data surveys and service-oriented policies, which are undoubtedly important in the decision-making process, some smaller communities within British Columbia have been quietly stealing ad revenues away from the major daily newspapers in their markets.

Case studies

How they have been able to do this is by presenting the advertiser/agency with case studies that show proven results.

In one market, for example, the weekly newspaper produces a sales and marketing tool that profiles the newspaper as well as providing hard statistical information to the prospective agency planner/buyer.

The newspaper’s national representative is very aware that agencies are more results-oriented than ever before and makes no apologies for providing as many examples of these case studies as possible.

Hard data

In the past, this type of information was only an interesting observation; however, coupled with the hard statistical data on which media people rely, more and more community newspapers are finding themselves on the receiving end of national buys.

Susan Parker is associate media director at Vancouver-based Palmer Jarvis Advertising.