Note to print media: Fire your sales team ASAP
The world of blogs is reacting to an Op Ed by Neil Henry about the decline of news and the role that internet properties like Google and Craigslist have played in this decline. This latest missive has been attributed to The Chronicle’s announcement earlier this month that they are going to let go 100 newsroom hands in an effort to save costs.
According to John Battelle, there were around 400 journalists working recently with the publication and I can only share the shock he has expressed about the number. It does not take 400 journalists to bring out any kind of media publication these days. Those numbers belong to online travel agents and their BPO operations; they don’t belong to any self-respecting news organization. As usual, the outrage is justified, but the blame certainly is not Google’s.
The blame squarely lies with the people who run traditional media, who, in the first place, should fire their sales team instead of the journalists. After all, it is not the fault of the journalists that advertising revenue is dropping alarmingly year-on-year. Can you recollect even a single sales head that was fired recently for the decline? I can’t, I’d be surprised if you can.
The sales team should have seen the trend (and that is nothing new, it is at least 3-4 years old now) and used their brains to usher in innovation. Online classifieds are a mix of fairly useless and unorganized listings, flavoured with a nice helping of spam and scams. There IS an opportunity to list and present this information better, the only problem being that they just did not bother. When was the last time you heard a senior sales executive reach out to the online classifieds segment and figured out something innovative in that space?
Moreover, newspapers cannot sit on their asses, leaning on their former glory, with a sulk that would put a menopausal depressive to shame. Get over it; you are fighting with the lolcats for my attention. Now, figure it out how you are going to do it than keep repeating this endless tripe about how someone stole your favourite rag doll.
And as a starting point, please fire your sales team. They are not pro-active, innovative and they have constantly underperformed by any desirable metric.