By Lon Haenel, Local News ROI

It was the 20th century. We were preparing a pitch to management. We established a budget to build better customer relationships. In those days, there were virtually no media fracturing. Fewer choices for entertainment, media, and news made local newspapers rise to the top. Mostly without additional investment.

Then the committee popped the big question, “Doesn’t everyone know what a newspaper is?” Well, I guess. Timeline- that was 20 years ago. Has much changed? Newspapers then made very few investments in customer relationship marketing and customer experience. And today? In some places, yes. But the industry as a whole- safe to say- has a long way to go.

What does it mean to be customer-centric? How do you go about marketing to relationship?

INMA is doing interesting work into relationship marketing. Today’s World Congress Blog is entitled ‘The heart of newsroom transformation means a shift from product to customers.‘ Grzegorz Piechota, senior researcher at Oxford University and INMA researcher-in-residence explained, “The marketing objectives shift when we move from a product-centered company to a customer-first company. From chasing reach, we are now shifting to maximising value of these users.”

It starts in the newsroom, yes. But once it gets going, your culture must focus on the needs and want of your customer relationships.

Relationship is now where the money is. Customer experience tells the new story. We came a long way from the days of wondering who didn’t know what a newspaper was. Let’s not go back.

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