By Al Cupo
Deseret Digital Media:
The Anatomy of Transformation
Presented by Clark Gilbert, CEO; Chris Lee, VP, Digital Products; Mike Petroff, COO; Eric Bright, VP, E-commerce; Todd Handy, VP, New Media Sales; and Dale Darling, VP, Digital Direct Sales
In a one-hour plus presentation titled The Anatomy of Transformation, the panel of Deseret Digital Media executives discussed seven big ideas currently underway at Deseret Digital Media.
Gilbert and Lee covered the first two ideas related to content innovation: differentiate content and publish digital-only content.
Gilbert noted that in the past, publishers were comfortable providing content for everyone, but now they ask the question, "What can we be the best at in the world?" That question resulted in Deseret identifying six areas of content related to faith- and family-oriented issues that drives their editorial content. According to Lee, this approach has grown both reach and audience.
They also rely heavily on remote contributors through their Deseret Connect program. This user-generated initiative now has more than 2,000 contributors who are only paid if the story appears in print – meaning all digital content is submitted voluntarily and without compensation. Money does not drive the content contributors to submit content; instead, they appreciate the recognition and feedback they receive.
Dale Darling and Todd Handy presented the next two ideas. The first is that digital buyers require digital sellers. Their guiding principal: when dealing with clients who have a digital investment, they assign a digital-only, solution focused seller to identify which of their many media products are best for the advertiser. The second idea is targeted towards long-tail local advertisers who spend 15 - 20% of their budget online and involves a new sales channel.
Their solution was to develop a telesales division. This relatively new sales division is now a seven figure revenue channel that didn’t exist two years ago. Darling noted that the dollars are there if you have the right products in play. The average cost of an ad is $280. The blueprint for their telemarketing/long-tail advertiser success is a combination of affordability, relevance/targeting, high share of voice, compelling ad units (preroll, innovative display ads), and products that stand on their own and deliver results.
Eric Bright and Mike Petroff wrapped-up the presentation by discussing three ideas related to Deseret Digital’s E-commerce marketplace. First, optimize your revenue mix within your marketplace by concentrating on core classified categories like cars, jobs and homes, offer paid feature ads that are targeted by category and sub category, develop a Deals Mall that features hundreds of deals at a time, include local search, and offer agency services to new and existing clients.
Second, improve the marketplace experience by listening to the user. Deseret regularly conducts focus groups, product usability sessions, and product surveys designed to solicit actionable feedback.
And third, maximize mobile potential in all areas. This includes a classified app with mobile alerts for products that users have searched for previously and a local mobile app that includes everything from breaking news alerts to event ticket sales.