Newsletter subscribe



pani management
Posted: Sep 11, 2016 at 8:05 pm   /   by   /   comments (0)

There seems to be lack of consciousness on the part of media owners in building an enduring markets for the marketing of their newspapers. They are busy synergising with the various levels of governments for patronage thereby aiming at short cut to success.

It must be known that all businesses are grown from loss to break-even point and finally to profit over a period of time. That of newspaper is even more worrisome because with all facilities put in place, availability of running capital coupled with good marketing drive on the management’s part, it will take at least seven years before such a media company can be talking of break-even point. This is known as gestation period.

This is surely not the best time for businesses in Nigeria and that of the print media seems to be the worst because low roads are being taken in order to remain relevant.

The low roads are but not limited to reduction in pagination, reduction of colour pages, media mentioning for a fee, offering of mouth-watering commission on advert placements (as high as 50%), downsizing, incessant reduction in workers’ salaries, owing of salaries, non remittance of statutory deductions, etc. You can’t just cut costs every year to stop the lines from crossing. No business ever cuts its way to growth! So, there is a need to hyperboost new profit centres.

Although, this is as a result of unexpected obstacles, setbacks, failures, disappointments that outstrip immediately available set of resources and knowledge.

Within that dynamic environment, a curveball can come from anywhere: a portion of business may suddenly dry up and strategic plans that made sense years ago may need serious review to compete in ever-more-mobile, internet dependent society.

Many media houses are responding with a knee-jerk reaction because of this adversity but a more considered approach is better for a successful resolution. For a newspaper to survive these uncertain times, it must start doing things in an unconventional way.

The challenges facing the newspaper industry worldwide are enormous notably low sales, poor advert patronage, migration to online, breaking news/time factor, losing revenue to other media, oral tradition, declining in purchasing power, generalised contents, near sameness in nearly all publications, low readership and changing readership demographics. Virtually all newspapers are experiencing either dwindling or stagnated growth in both copy and advertising revenues.

Today’s society is overburdened by choices: to read this newspaper or that newspaper; to read a newspaper or listen to radio; to read a newspaper or watch television; to read a newspaper or surf the net, etc. Variations on information are abundant because it is easily acquired these days. There is severe competition to the readers’ attention. Newspapers are beginning to be less relevant today to their communities than yesterday.

What is happening in the print media organizations is a crisis that deserves special attention. Often, this crisis escalates in intensity, disrupts all operations, destroys organisation or retard its growth.

Media owners should invest so much in market development analysis instead of winkling in darkness because there lies the future of newspapers marketing.

In too many organizations, the strategy of the company is implicit and resides solely in the heads of the Chief Executive Officers. However, they often have great difficulty articulating it to the people around them in words.

Effective people in any phase of management are skilled in some way. Their roles are vital to the firm’s business life. Upon them fall the important functions of broad general and narrow specific planning, organizing, motivating and controlling. They are the authors, producers and directors of the business story. It is through these people that the complete operation of the firm, in all its parts, is tightly pulled together.

One of the most critical factors in an organization’s life is its people. Managers have responsibility for goal achievement but final success depends on the willingness of employees to be influenced. Managers must therefore devise means to empower and propel staff into action with a view to achieving personal and organizational objectives.

If the relevance of media is in a breaking the news, it remains to be seen how it intends to captivate the audience once that “fleeting second” has passed. Chances are that today news is more often broken by everyday people on social media. Even the most resourced newsrooms are grossly under-equiped to deliver the promise of breaking news. In an era where information is a community, each brand needs to redefine and reintroduce its value to its readers.

Conventional ways of distributing and selling papers have proven inadequate for a brand trying to re establish its eminence in certain markets. In doing this, there must be a sustainable customer data base, calendar of events, special sales, conventions, retreats, social functions and a coordinator for each section. Equally, sourcing for adverts has gone beyond visitations to advert agencies. There is a need to move beyond the obvious.

One of the new ways is to tie every editorial page to revenue without “compromising” the page in such a way that the paper can maximise return on its daily output. In all these, senior editorial staff must be involved in every marketing activity.

Management should learn how to put its best people on the opportunities (i.e. high potential new revenue streams) rather than on the problems (finding more things to cut). Otherwise it will be a mere master of cost cutting and may have no business in no distant time.

If the print media is not compromised, it should be preoccupied with agenda setting for the government of the day. If the government gets it right, all and sundries, media industry inclusive will benefit from the resultant booming economy.

The newspaper industry is fixable. But I fear it is spending most of its time on things that won’t create the future. This saddens me.

Abiola Ayankunbi is the Head, Consultant & Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, AbingMO3 Marketing Management Consultancy.