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Personalization Provides Opportunities to Connect to Consumers

By Andy Yost, SVP and CMO, Gannett

Andy Yost, SVP and CMO, Gannett

Ensuring Perfect Marketing strategies

All of our media and campaign planning starts with a clear definition of our target audience. Then, it’s about using these insights to develop successful campaigns that resonate with our consumers as much as it is about keeping a pulse on industry trends.

With the largest local to national media network in the U.S., Gannett is positioned to reach more than 95 million people monthly. A footprint of this size allows us to capture consumer behaviorsto build better, more relevant products and experiences for them, as well as deliver customized, effective marketing solutions for our business partners.

For a millennial audience, our media strategy certainly relies heavily on mobile and social, whereas direct mail still resonates with other segments. Beyond choosing the platforms that are relevant to each audience, we ensure marketing content and execution resonates with each.

For example, our Insider Program provides experiential content and is a great example of how we are developing programs that resonate with different audiences. Gannett’s Insider Program allows our local outlets to customize fun, experiential events that are specific to their varied audiences. From exclusive coffee + news meetings and secret dinners, to award galas with celebrity guest speakers, members of the Insider Program are invited to participate and engage “in real life” with their local newsrooms and is just one example of how we can test, learn, and successfully scale ideas Andy Yost across the Gannett network. Keeping our audience at the core of our marketing strategy is what will continue to keep us relevant in the ever-changing landscape.

Deriving Meaningful Data

At the top of my wish list would be for technology providers to continue to focus on helping us glean meaningful insights from customer data. With all of the information out there, the most beneficial and relevant solutions are those that help us make smarter decisions, faster.

As one of the largest news and information providers in the world, it is crucial that we work with partners who can help us better understand our audience so that we can deliver more relevant user experiences.

Gannett is making investments in a data infrastructure that will allow us to better understand our audience behaviors. And, with a network of 92 local brands and our national brand working in unison, we reach 95 MM consumers monthly and develop 34,000 assets every single day providing an unprecedented amount of insights to continually improve our products.

We are moving beyond customization, where consumers help guide their experience, to a personalization strategy that will allow us to provide better and better individual experiences. Personalization gives us the opportunity to connect our consumers with the news and information they care about.

And, of course on the marketing side, this consumer insight is invaluable. When we can anticipate what our customers want, we can come up with marketing programs andmembership offerings that provide them with higher value.

It is always important to understand current trends and how they are effective for different audiences, but also anticipate the next big trend. As publishers—and marketers— we see the constant shift in the size of the screen that consumers are using and we work hard to be ahead of that.

Some might be surprised by the size of our technology staff and engineers that are constantly pushing us to be at the forefront of the next big trend. For example, some time ago, we created a technology foundation for our sites that allows them to seamlessly scale to whatever screen they are on. This means that instead of building and maintaining different sites for different devices, we can focus on creating great content for current and new platforms. This not only allows us to greatly scale our content offerings, but also our marketing services. For example, we just launched our very successful Gravity ad product on mobile.

Our forward-looking mindset has kept us ahead of the curve on many trends. For example, we have become frontrunners with virtual reality since we are a content company and have been sought out by industry partners for our expertise on that front. We’ve also been seen as coveted content partners with the latest tech products such as the Apple Watch and Microsoft’s Windows 10 because we look several steps ahead and act nimbly to create products and experiences for the next big thing.