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Case Study Usa Today

In: Business and Management

Submitted By kimhutchinson
Words 4879
Pages 20

September 19, 2015

Dr. James

Case I
USA Today


Case 1- USA Today
Kimberley Hutchinson K90000787
Current Marketing Objectives, Strategy and Performance
Gannett Co., Inc. began USA Today in 1982 by filling a gap in the newspaper industry.
Gannett wanted their paper to provide more news about more subjects in a short time frame. The two trends they took advantage of were catering to adults who had short attention spans and who were nurtured on television. These consumers wanted different information from their newspapers. The readers wanted quick, clear, fact-filled stories that were arranged with subheads, breakouts, informational graphics and that were easy to read. This is what Gannett delivered with USA Today. While the readers’ wants have differed over the years, the paper has kept up. In 1994, the paper upgraded to cover more serious topics and added reader-opinion polls and hot-line numbers. The readers were able to call the lines to obtain additional information on topics they were interested in.
In 1995, there was a lull in readership; they began to see the need for more technological data required by consumers. was born and met that need. USA Today and have 5.3 million daily readers with $1.8 million paid subscriptions. Today, USA
Today has the largest print circulation with over 1.8 million copies daily and 3.2 million daily readers. They also have the highest volume of newsstand sales at 425,000. They have grown from 350,000 in circulation in 1982 to 2 million daily print copies today. Gannett owns and operates over 1000 newspapers and 20 television stations. There are multiple printing, marketing and other news programming platforms in their ownership as well.
Recently, performance is decreasing in digital subscriptions. They have 116,000 paid subscriptions, but it lags behind The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) at 552,000 and The New York
Times (NYT) at 807,000. The print version also takes a hit as the cost of newsprint continues to increase. The most logical way to approach these changes will be to focus more on the digital format of delivering news.
Current and Anticipated Organizational Resources
Both print and online advertising have decreased dramatically over the years. Currently they are down 17.7% and 1.7% respectively. This decrease is expected to continue, especially for the print advertisers. The demographics of the customer have also changed as smartphones and wireless internet access have increased. It is well known that print readership has decreased and will most likely continue to decrease as technology grows. The goal of USA Today should be increasing technological staff to keep up with online content marketing.
The organizational resources of USA Today are both a strength and a weakness. They are the most read newspaper in the United States with 414,000 more print readers than The Wall
Street Journal and 817,000 more print readers than The New York Times. Their online news has greater than 11.9 million visitors which has grown each year. They remain the most circulated print newspaper in the United States with 1.8 million daily newspapers circulating. However, more recently, they report a 14.3% and a 20% decline in publishing and classified advertisement

Case 1- USA Today
Kimberley Hutchinson K90000787 revenue, respectively. Also, an 18.4% drop in paid ad pages. This change is expected to continue in the future with the print platform.
The paper has a tremendous brand extension underway. In 2008, they began the marketing goal of capturing more shares of consumers rather than only increasing their market share. In order to do this they began USA Today Travel Zone retail to capture the frequent travelers, and USA Today Live on television to capture more business professionals and travelers. While their brand extension continues, partnerships were born. Fuse, a music television network and Versus and MOJO HD, promoting additional television programming are two parnerships.
An additional internal strength which can also become a weakness is the online news. In the early 2000’s was making a change to an on- demand media format. The consumers were changing their wants and needs. The consumers did not want news now, they wanted it yesterday. On-demand was under way to meet this demand with RSS and podcast for mobile users. They also began using PointRoll on their website that allowed advertisements to be posted for their clients. With this underway, they were able to give consumers the most current news updates instantly.
The network’s journalists allowed consumers to get involved by adding comments, recommendations and instant messaging with news and alerts. They tried to cover more topics in an effort to capture more readers. Topics were from political, technology and entertainment, and all on one screen. As time has moved forward, USA Today has developed an application available for smart phones (Autopilot app). This was a start to their engaged on Facebook and
Twitter social media sites.
Unfortunately, their digital subscribers are small, only 116,000 even with over 24 million monthly online visitors. Also, online access is only made possible with a RSS- enabled mobile phone, which is a smart phone. Not all consumers have this benefit. To meet and exceed the consumers’ need for increased media sourcing, USAToday should increase their technology staffing to stay on top of the constant changing consumers digital needs.
Current and Anticipated Cultural and Structural Issues
The structure at the paper has always been to give customers what they want. They have been successful in that area until recently, when the customer tends to want not just fast news, but faster news. This is something that the printing world is not equipped to handle. To gain and maintain the newer, younger news group, they need to ask them some marketing questions. What do you want? How do you want it? When do you want it? Previously, Gannett did the same thing before starting the print paper. It was done the way things were done in the 80s, on paper. Now millennials utilize email as the most common digital activity followed by millennials
( It’s time to ask the next generation what they want in their news. According to the case, consumers are more interested in primarily sports and entertainment in their news rather than the original paper’s content of news, money, life and sports. The objective for reorganizing the structure of the paper is focusing on the core component of the consumer, want and how do they want their news?

Case 1- USA Today
Kimberley Hutchinson K90000787
What issues related to internal politics or management struggles might affect the organ marketing activities?
USA Today continues to give the consumer what they want. When the paper started, the journalist’ were to create short, but concise articles. A few years later the paper wanted more serious journalism to please the consumers. It appears that journalism at USA Today may not have been taken seriously as the critics replied that they are “McPaper” due to the short complexity of the news and brash writing style. To keep the staff involved in creating the news in print, television, radio and electronic, it is important to loosen the apron strings and allow the staff to do more, for example run blogs and columns, and other determine the complexity of other brands of the paper. If the staff takes ownership in the paper, they can sell the paper products with delight to more consumers.
The Customer Environment
Who Are Our Current and Potential Customers?
When the paper began, they discovered a previously unknown consumer, the business traveler. They reached professional managers who were in their 40’s with an income of $76,000 a year and who were known as sports, techno and news junkies. Their customers are more male that female, 70% and 30% respectively. The online site also sees more males than females, but with a higher education level as a whole. Over three fourths of readers, print and online, are active in sports and enjoy other activities such as traveling and movies. In the current day a younger population, aged 18-25, and who may be multicultural is the prime target for news products. Who purchases our products?
USAToday has an array of purchasers who tend to be loyal. The single copy buyers are both heavy reader who purchase daily, or light readers who purchase during a big news event.
The home delivery subscribers are more loyal than the single unit purchasers. They tend to be the woman of the household who subscribes to the paper.
What Do Customers Do with Our Products?
Consumers share their news with others, that includes newspapers and online news. This increases readership, but it does not increase profits. Consumers sharing ability’s is an important task, as the current news can be involved within their personal relationships. Sharing the news can introduce new communication and increase readership.
Where Do Customers Purchase Our Products?
The majority of print newspapers are purchased by the reader. USA Today is available at newsstands, large grocery store chains, bookstores, coin-operated vending machines, and directly

Case 1- USA Today
Kimberley Hutchinson K90000787 to the consumer through home delivery subscription. Most recently, the remaining 20% of news products are purchased by a third party and given to consumers free of charge. This includes hotels, college campuses, restaurants and airport terminals. The online is available via smart phone and email updates.
Why Do Potential Customers Not Purchase Our Products?
Consumers want free online news rather than purchasing a single paper or a subscription.
Unfortunately, the online availability of can act a deterrent to some purchaser to actually buy the product.

News (Education)




Total Budget

The New York
The Wall Street
Washington Post

World Wide

Search Engines
Social media platforms (Facebook,
Cable networks

Free online news,
Less expensive online news

The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) has multiple product lines, including newspaper, magazines, websites, television, radio and newswires. They also have strategic alliances with
CNBC, Reuters and SmartMoney. The company charges $140 per year for print and online and single copies for $1 on weekday and $1.50 on weekends. You must be a subscriber in order to view any online stories. They have launched their international version and are adding advertisement on the front page. As you recall, USA Today began offering front page advertisers in 1999. WSJ expects this change to improve profits by $17 million per year. They have also reduced their print paper size to 48 inches wide; this is expected to reduce operating expense by
$18 million per year. Over half of their customers are employed as top management professionals and have an average yearly income of $191,000.
The New York Times (NYT) owns newspaper companies, websites, radio stations, nine television stations that serve seven states and they own the search engine The company charges $304.80 per year for consumers living inside of New York City and $385.80 outside of New York City. Online content is free of charge after you register, however, you can purchase archives online from the site. The paper is available at 60,000 news-stands and retailers including 4000 Starbucks locations. Their customers are called “the nation’s intellectual elite”. In order to increase profits, they have raised home delivery rated by 4%, reduced the number of

Case 1- USA Today
Kimberley Hutchinson K90000787 print pages and decreased staff. These changes are expected to increase profits by $10 million per year and decrease cost by $45 million per year.
A future competitor may be The Washington Post that was purchased in 2013 by
Amazon’s founder Jeff Bezos. The Post has a competitive edge as Bezos spent years building the customer base with and now he is offering the electronic paper to his customers at a huge discount, at $48.00 per year for Amazon prime customers. Currently The Post is number seven on the list of largest U.S. newspapers in circulation (Yu, 2015).
The internet is accessed by over a billion people globally. Most consumers have access to the internet either at home, work, mobile devices or all three. Most Internet providers make a profit through advertising subscriptions; therefore viewing is free for consumers.
Economic Growth and Stability
Viewing the competitors of today and measuring the future competitors, it is apparent that there will be less printed papers goods and more online and more television viewing capabilities. According the Pew Research Center, 50% of people utilize the internet as the main source to view news. First place in this category goes to television at 69% and third place goes to newspaper at 28% ( However, when looking further into this study, 71% of ages 18-29 view the internet for national and international news. 63% utilize television and internet equally at ages 30-49. Print news falls well below 30% for both age groups
2009 was the hardest year in newspaper; all avenues were hurting. USA Today had a decline of 14.3% in publishing and a higher decline in advertisement revenue as well as classified advertising. For the first time, The Wall Street Journal beat USA Today as the country’s largest newspaper by weekday circulation. The paper may still be brought back to life.
It may depend more on who you market to, where you market and how you market consumers.
Legal and Regulatory Issues
Since 2015, the FCC has enacted The Open Internet rules which means that consumers as well as businesses will have equal right to fast, fair and open internet. The FCC will oversee the internet to assure broadband internet access with no blocking, throttling, or no paid prioritization to all consumers ( With this rule in action, the usage of internet access is likely to continue to increase yearly for all consumers no matter the age. It will be wise for the paper businesses to pay attention to this change as long term marketing begins.

Technological Advances
There have been a multitude of technological changes in the past 10 years that affect marketing. Broadband internet as well as Wi-Fi began in the 90’s, but today are so widely used, a consumer can access wireless internet almost anywhere they go with their mobile phone, tablet, watch and automobile. During this time, a consumer doesn’t even need to place a mobile phone

Case 1- USA Today
Kimberley Hutchinson K90000787 next to an ear, because we have Bluetooth technology. Online media services like Netflix and
Hulu are available to on-demand television programming and satellite radio. If you don’t want to watch television or listen to music, you can download game services and play online via your television and play against another gamer in Korea. Social networking is the new way of talking to one another. The primary social networking site utilized are Facebook, Twitter and MySpace
(Greenwald, 2011).
Sociocultural Trends
Newspaper readership typically correlates with higher income levels. However, in 2012, the two highest categories, $100,000 to $149,000 and $150,000 or more, showed a decline in readership (Edmonds et al., 2013). However, when considering the buying power of consumers, one must consider the millennials age 18-35, as well as the multicultural effect on the community. That age group prefers television and internet to access the news
( They also prefer entertainment and sports sections rather than the current sections available in newspapers. Currently, according to The Multicultural Edge report, 82% of heavy users of social media and mobile devices are multicultural (Gil &
Rosenberg, 2015).

Case 1- USA Today
Kimberley Hutchinson K90000787
Internal Strengths

Adapts paper to meet continued modifications in consumer needs
(alters paper size, moved to serious journalism) High volume of promotions utilized to increase demand and increase profit
(overseas paper, advertising on front page, late deadline for advertisers,
The most circulated newspaper in the
United States.
Staff actively updates to meet the changing consumer needs.
Utilizes extensive brand extensions
(USA Today Travel Zone, USA
Today Live, Fuse, MOJO HD)
Increasing visitation
E-paper is on the horizon
Positive strategic leadership
Loyal print subscription customers
Gannett owns and partners with multiple media platforms.

Internal Weaknesses

Decreased digital subscriptions
Lowering profits
Limited foreign staff
Limited mobile on-demand updates
(only available with RSS mobile).
Decreasing circulation of papers.
High cost of print distribution

External Opportunities

Increased population of multicultural super consumers.
More Americans travel overseas yearly. Some cities in the U.S. have a large number of consumers who commonly purchase newspaper and magazines.
More consumers find news on television and internet than any other media. Consumers desire more online platforms and applications for mobile devices External Threats

The Internet is accessed by over 1 billion people globally.
News is offered free on the internet.
NYT and WSJ own multiple media platforms. Online news generates low profits.
Decreased classified and paid advertising revenues

Determining Competitive Advantage
Problem/Decision Statement
USA Today is experiencing a decrease in profit and news circulation related to audience and media fragmentation and consumers requirements for lesser cost news and increased media capabilities. In order overcome this obstacle, USA Today must leverage their leadership skills to

Case 1- USA Today
Kimberley Hutchinson K90000787 extend their brand to media savvy super consumers on a platform that will include their advertising partners.
Strategic Alternatives
1. Develop a social media platform that is intuitive, thought provoking fun and offers free details to consumers.
2. Add to the consumer base by catering to the super consumers who are millennial aged
(18-35) and multicultural.
3. Offer wider advertising options to classified and paid advertising clients by utilizing
Gannett’s additional media platforms.

Alternative Strategy Evaluation and Recommendation
Alternative 1. Develop a social media platform that is intuitive, thought provoking fun and free to consumers.
USA Today has a wide level of experience in digital media. They have utilized technology to become totally digital, given newsrooms later deadlines with earlier delivery and
Gannett is involved with multiple forms of digital services as the case represents. However, as technology changes quickly, staying ahead or breaking even is difficult. reads that Facebook is popular because a follower can look at a post, see what’s going on around them and not feel the obligation to post in return (Handley, 2015). To better serve the online community, USA Today will improve and their social media sites with more informative details, user friendly posts and a color scheme that will speak to the customers and promote shared readability.
60% of millennials get news at least once a day, and more that 80% view opinions through social media. ( Facebook serves as number one social media board that millennials get news information from.
USA Today has audiences on several platforms such as television, print and online, however, the audience and media are more fragmented today that last year (Ferrell, 2012). Within this environment, it is documented by Ferrell (2012) that there are shorter attention spans and growing skepticism about businesses and the business have just a few seconds to incise the consumer to stay on their site (p. 74). Hiring a Chief Marketing Officer can be very expensive, from a few hundred thousand dollars a year to several million dollars a year (Smith, 2012).
Alternative 2. Add to the consumer base by catering to the super consumers who are millennial aged (18-35) and multicultural.

Case 1- USA Today
Kimberley Hutchinson K90000787
Millennials are more ethnically diverse now than in previous generation. The super consumers in the United States are Hispanics, Asian-American, Africa- American and multiraced. Over 50% of the population in the United States is multicultural (Gil, 2015). According to
Neilson Company’s The Multicultural Edge, the years of effective buying power will be the greatest for Asian Americans and Hispanic, 52.3 and 56.5 years respectively (p.11). The same reports is estimated that in 2050 Hispanic, African-American and Asian-American populations will have grown 85.9%, 21.1% and 19.5% respectively (p.8). USA Today has limited foreign staff but seems to fall within the requirements of diversity on staff. That will not be enough to attract and build a relationship with the multi-diversity population in America. A minority advertising professional once said that multicultural consumers do business with people not product attributes ( To cater to a culture, one must speak the language and identify their cultural uniqueness. The recommendation is that USA Today will appoint specific staff members to address multiculturalism within separate communities, online and in house.
Millennial ethnic consumers are more likely to purchase a product when a relationship is being built, hence speaking their language and celebrating important events (www.
The Multicultural Edge, the years of effective buying power will be the greatest for Asian
Americans and Hispanic, 52.3 and 56.5 years respectively (Gil, 2015). Over 80% of Hispanics and Asian-Americans utilize mobile phones for communication (Gil, 2015).
Family income for the largest multicultural group, Hispanic, has fallen from $16,000 to $13,700 from 2010 to 2013, therefore, paid subscriptions may be limited. It can be costly for a company to engaging in multiculturalism in house.
Alternative 3: Offer wider advertising options to classified and paid advertising clients by utilizing Gannett’s additional media platforms.
Advertising on most global news sites are national in nature. Many search engines utilize
AdSense advertising; the main purpose is to increase traffic to your site, and once visitors are there, to entice them with relevant ads. This allows local and classified advertisers to buy an
AdSense offers for that will increase advertising revenue and is a positive way to sell ad space. Many large social and music site utilize local advertising when logging on to their sites. Pandora leverages the power of logged on consumers to sell local advertisements
( Pandora’s mobile advertisement revenue is 70% of total ad revenue. The recommendation is to educate USA Today’s advertising clients with the latest trends on mobile and online advertising so they will get more for their money. A few trends this year includes: more motion but short bursts, buy buttons equal optimized for mobile or online and vertical screen advertising (Sloane, 2015). Educating the audience (advertising clients) is a top selling point to increase advertising revenue for companies (Patel, 2014).

Case 1- USA Today
Kimberley Hutchinson K90000787
Online and mobile marketing has a huge viral potential since content can be easily shared, posted and reposted. Personalized interaction is allowed and enjoyed by most mobile users. Online marketing is convenient and is easily accessed by consumers.
Online and mobile advertising can have privacy issues. Some platforms may be too diverse for mobile phones as they may work better for PC use. To get the best outcome may be too expensive for some advertising clients, especially local advertisers.
Implementation Issues
Alternative 1: Develop a social media platform that is intuitive, thought provoking fun and free to consumers.
1. USA Today will publish better and more Facebook content, target groups within the
Facebook page that will give the consumers the news information they are interested in.
For example, make a Facebook Group for Trending Jewelry, Celeb News and Sports
Junkie. When a consumer likes the page, joins the page and shares comments on the page, the maker (USAToday) will see their preference and their new “likes”. This is a great way to find out what each small audience group wants tomorrow and perhaps not wanted yesterday.
2. Update the color schemes utilized on social media and online. Currently, USAToday looks of black and white, very dull, not thought provoking or fun. I recall the first item listed when the newspaper was just born was the bright vibrant colors. Web analytics state that 85% of shoppers say that color is a primary reason why they buy a particular product. Color hues drive human behavior and is the most persuasive element that is easily changed (Dyer, 2013). Update the color scheme on all viable media to the trends that are 2015. Continue to do so yearly as the trends will change, but keep your same color blanket, only adjust the hues. The first change will look like this:
This includes the color representing budget/wealth, youth, buyers and trust/ security, respectively. 3. USAToday will take the same dynamic for the new Facebook site and mimic on the next site (Instagram, Snapchat, Pinterest and Tumblr) and because they all have their respective audience.
Alternative 2: Add to the consumer base by catering to the super consumers who are millennial aged (18-35) and multicultural.
1. USA Today will appoint the appropriate staff member, who speaks the language, to overlook each multicultural group’s marketing platform so that the consumers will have

Case 1- USA Today
Kimberley Hutchinson K90000787 print publications are in their language and sold at store they frequently purchase from in their respective neighborhoods.
2. The potential for a multicultural social media page will speak to each culture as listed in number one above.
3. Promote the culture and celebrations that are important to the culture, this includes collaboration with community leaders.
Alternative 3: Offer wider advertising options to classified and paid advertising clients by utilizing Gannett’s additional media platforms.
1. Appoint a staff member to educate advertising clients on the trends of advertising that will change yearly. Some predictions for 2015 are: marketing channels are more connected, mobile will take over, fast-reading content in small sections is most important
(Patel, 2015).
2. Utilize the new ads that are purchased to follow up with the client. Educating advertisers that have successful ads are three times more likely to return for additional ad purchases
(Nichols, 2013)

Case 1- USA Today
Kimberley Hutchinson K90000787

1. Caumont, A. (2013, October 16). 12 trends shaping digital news. Retrieved September
16, 2015, from
2. Dyer, P. (2013, April 21). The Role of Color in Marketing | Pamorama. Retrieved
September 18, 2015, from
3. Edmonds, R., Guskin, E., Mitchell, A., & Jurkowitz, M. (2013, May 7). » Newspapers:
By the Numbers. Retrieved September 19, 2015, from 4. Ethnic Marketing? Turning Obstacles into Opportunities. (n.d.). Retrieved September 15,
2015, from hnic-marketing-turning-obstacles-into-opportunities/
5. Ferrell, O. C., Michael Hartline. Marketing Strategy, Text and Cases, 6e, 6th Edition.
Cengage Learning, 12/2012. VitalSource Bookshelf Online.
6. Gil, M., & Rosenberg, S. (2015). THE MULTICULTURAL EDGE: RISING SUPER
CONSUMERS. New York, NY: The Nielson Company
7. Greenwald, W. (2011, January 4). Top 10 Most Influential Tech Advances Of The
Decade. Retrieved September 18, 2015, from,2817,2374829,00.asp 8. Handley, A. (2015, June 30). The Truth About Facebook and Millennials. Retrieved
September 18, 2015, from
9. How Millennials Get News. (2015, March 15). Retrieved September 16, 2015, from 10. Newswire . (2014, August 25). Retrieved September 18, 2015, from 11. Nichols, W. (2013, March 1). Advertising Analytics 2.0. Retrieved September 19, 2015, from

Case 1- USA Today
Kimberley Hutchinson K90000787
12. Monthly Departures to International Destinations. (2014). Retrieved September 17, 2015, from

13. Multicultural marketing. (n.d.). Retrieved September 19, 2015, from 14. Open Internet. (n.d.). Retrieved September 17, 2015, from 15. Pandora Advertising. (n.d.). Retrieved September 19, 2015, from 16. Patel, S. (2014, November 5). Retrieved September 19, 2015, from 17. Saperstein, T. (2014, December 6). The Future of Print: Newspapers Struggle to Survive in the Age of Technology - Harvard Political Review. Retrieved September 17, 2015.
18. Sloane, G. (2015, May 27). These Are the Digital Trends Everyone in Tech and
Advertising Needs to Know. Retrieved September 19, 2015, from 19. Smith, J. (2012, March 27). Retrieved September 18, 2015, from 20. Yu, R. (2015, September 16). 'Washington Post' cuts e-edition price to $3.99 a month for
Amazon Prime members. Retrieved September 18, 2015, from…...

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...1. What opportunities in the marketing environment did Gannet seize in launching USA Today? How did the company learn about and respond to the opportunities. Answer these same questions for The opportunities Gannet seized in launching USA Today was that he knew his audience were readers with very short attention spans and a growing hunger for more information. The newspaper’s primary mission was to provide more news to their readers in less time. This was done by writing "in shorter pieces an sprinkled with eye-catching, color photos, graphs and charts." (Ferrell, O., & Hartline, M.,2014.). One of the new things that set apart the newspaper was that it was broken into four sections "News, Money, Life, and Sports" thus allowing the reader to jump into whichever section of their choosing the quickest. Gannet solved the early problems of encouraging advertisers to buy ad space by launching a "Partnership Plan", where advertising companies who purchased 6 months of ads in the paper received another 6 months for free. This allowed the advertisers to test the waters for newspaper ads and with the increase of popularity or the paper, more companies wanted to join., the on-line version of the printed newspaper, is formatted in the same way the printed edition is with bright colors and snippets of news. It was developed to keep up with the growing technology and in response to the slight decline in profits to the printed version. Also, like the......

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