We’ve created a system where people know they can experiment. They see the benefit of pushing forward ideas. We recognize that not all ideas work, and that’s OK. The process allows people to put their ideas forward in a safe environment.“
For a newspaper that is more than 150 years old to create an environment that encourages and enables experimentation can’t be an easy task. Picture this—a traditional industry, a legacy spanning over a century, a landscape filled with publishers and media companies closing their doors—that is some very strong and unsettling turbulence. As Peter Doucette, VP of Sales and Marketing at The Boston Globe said, “We needed to think of value proposition as the center of everything we do.” That is exactly what they did.
It could have been much simpler for Doucette when he joined in late 2009 to make the newspaper’s 150 year-old legacy, awareness and brand equity the focus of marketing strategy. What he realized right away, however, was that resting on those laurels would not prevent the company from following the same downward path so many others were trundling down. Instead, they had to focus on the customer. The only way to do that was to step back and carefully examine 3 fundamental aspects of their business:
- WHAT are we trying to deliver?
- WHO is our target market?
- HOW can we deliver the news that our target market wants?
Those 3 questions capture the core of an effective marketing process. No matter what and how many advanced technologies you may have at your disposal, the essence of sound marketing strategy and process remains the same. As Doucette reminds us, “…it’s all about the process. It’s about becoming more agile and focusing more on experimentation. You have to create a structure that allows for that productive experimentation and the agility to change things quickly based on feedback. It’s a marathon, and you constantly have to revisit it to ensure you’re on track.”
5 Tips to Create Value and Engage Customers
Peter Doucette’s leadership has enabled The Boston Globe to break free from 150+ years of tradition to reach out, engage and create distinct experiences for the newspaper’s audience. Today that audience comprises of both paying subscribers for the digital, subscription-only version of The Boston Globe and the media-snacking, mass audience that reads the free, online version at Boston.com. How did the newspaper successfully manage this two-pronged digital strategy? It was a risk, no doubt, but a calculated one that was worth taking, according to Doucette, and the results certainly validate that.
Here are 5 tips B2B marketers can take from Doucette and his approach that worked for The Boston Globe.
- Move users from ‘anonymous’ to ‘known’ to ‘customers’: You have to know your audience very closely and the way to do that is through experimentation. Use every opportunity available to move your potential customers from being unknown users to distinct identities that you can nurture and continuously feed with exactly what they want, and more. With online tracking and monitoring tools, it is easy to see what is consumed by which type of audience. Those are the clues marketers need to build a more personalized offering. See these Customer Lifecycle Stages that Peter Doucette and his team are constantly monitoring