October 02, 2009 08:00 ET

Marketing Holds the Key to Newspapers' Survival, Agree Newsmedia Experts at smartFOCUS ASTECH Roundtable

Participants From 50 U.S. Newsmedia Organizations Gather at the 17th Annual Roundtable on Strategic Marketing to Explore New Revenue-Generation Strategies to Counter Decline in Advertising Revenues

DENVER, CO and BOSTON, MA--(Marketwire - October 2, 2009) - Marketing departments are set to play a crucial role in identifying and securing new sources of revenue for newsmedia organizations as advertising revenues and print circulations decline. This was the consensus opinion at smartFOCUS ASTECH's 17th annual Roundtable on Strategic Marketing, held in Vail, Colorado, and attended by senior business executives from 50 U.S. newspaper organizations.

As newspaper organizations suffer a 'perfect storm' of declining advertising revenues, lower print circulations and severe competition from other online news and advertising sites, most have no option but to seek alternative revenue streams to ensure their own survival. The aim of The Roundtable was to identify what those revenue streams might be and how newsmedia organizations can best exploit them. It was organized and hosted by smartFOCUS ASTECH, the specialist newsmedia division of smartFOCUS, a leading international provider of multi-channel marketing software and services.

In particular, participants discussed ways that newsmedia organizations can increase revenues by delivering well-targeted, profitable marketing campaigns on behalf of third parties. Individual sessions focused on gathering better data about customers by engaging with them in new ways, such as via online social media; creating high-value communities of interest around certain topics; replacing separate notions of 'print' and 'online' readers with a new, cross-platform idea of 'membership'; and using brand credibility to act as trusted 'infomediaries' between companies and consumers.

Attendees included experts from the American Press Institute, the Canadian Newspaper Association, the Newspaper Association of America, Newspapers & Technology and the World Association of Newspapers, as well as senior business and marketing executives from organizations including Arizona Republic, The Des Moines Register, Gannett Company, Las Vegas Review-Journal, MediaNews Group, The New York Times Regional Media Group, The Orange County Register, Sacramento Bee, St. Paul Pioneer Press, Toronto Star and Tulsa World.

"In the eighteen years that we have been hosting this roundtable, there has never been a more pressing need for local, regional and national newsmedia organizations to completely rethink their business model," said Tom Ratkovich, president, smartFOCUS ASTECH. "One of the most promising possibilities is for newspapers to act as trusted 'information intermediaries,' brokering valuable dialogue between merchants and customers, rather than simply conveying advertising messages to readers."

During the event several major newsmedia organizations, including USA Today and the Sacramento Bee, shared the details and results of innovative marketing campaigns they have recently undertaken, either to boost their own readership or to promote third-party products and services.

Curt Bloom, President for smartFOCUS International, sees the crisis in the newsmedia industry as a golden opportunity for marketing departments to employ some truly creative thinking. "As traditional advertising revenues and print circulations decline, marketing must step into the breach," he said. "The consensus at The Roundtable was that new approaches, supported by new digital marketing technologies, can replace revenue that is being lost elsewhere. But there is no time to lose: newsmedia organizations must act now in order to survive."

James Gold, chief marketing officer for the New York Times Regional Media Group, said afterwards: "As in past years, the smartFOCUS ASTECH roundtable provided keen insight into the strategy of many top companies. I left with a much better sense of the capabilities necessary to compete in the rapidly evolving media landscape."

About smartFOCUS Group plc

smartFOCUS (LSE: STF) is a leading international provider of multi-channel marketing software and services. smartFOCUS Intelligent Marketing solutions integrate data to deliver the most powerful analysis and customer insight, enabling communication across the entire marketing operation.

More than 700 companies worldwide rely on smartFOCUS to inspire customers, improve results and transform marketing performance. Clients and partners include AAA, ABN AMRO, ASOS, Centre Parcs, EasyJet, Epson Europe, Equifax, Eurocamp, Harrods, Hilton International, Landal Green Park, Manchester United FC, QVC, Rabobank, RCI-GVN, Société Générale and Sony Europe.

smartFOCUS in Newsmedia:

smartFOCUS ASTECH, a specialist division of smartFOCUS located in Denver, USA, provides marketing expertise and Intelligent Marketing solutions that serve more than 200 newsmedia companies internationally. Customers include USA Today, the New York Times Regional Media Group and the Washington Post.

smartFOCUS in Email and Digital Marketing:

smartFOCUS Digital, a specialist division of smartFOCUS, located in London, UK, provides smartMARKETER eChannel a fully on-demand digital marketing solution that serves each of its customers with email, mobile, social network, landing page, micro-sites and RSS channel communications.

smartFOCUS is headquartered in Bristol, UK, with operations in the USA, Europe and Asia Pacific. For more information, visit

Contact Information

  • Media Contacts:
    Prompt Communications on behalf of smartFOCUS
    Laurie SantaLucia, James Gerber or Hazel Butters
    UK Tel: +44 20 8996 1653 / +44 77 8068 7813
    US Tel: +1 617 401 2171 / +1 617 291 9899
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