By Dennis Hetzel, Executive Director
When Chris Crawford resigned as sales director in June, I suggested to the Executive Committee that everything needed to be on the table regarding AdOhio.
AdOhio had a good year in 2011 and continues to be profitable and successful at generating revenue for Ohio newspapers. But the long-term outlook was not promising within existing capabilities.
We wanted to learn if there was more upside potential, especially given the great success of peer organizations in similar states such as Florida and Pennsylvania. So, while we launched a search for Chris’ replacement, the committee also looked at partnership opportunities — not only as a way to reduce costs but as the fastest path in these changing times to becoming a sophisticated, high-performing sales organization.
Here’s the bottom line: If AdOhio can grow sales, this means we will place more advertising. I can’t think of anything we can do these days that is more important than helping our members increase revenue. Further, AdOhio’s growth can provide greater resources to improve our services while keeping dues affordable.
The results are exciting, as the following news release explains. We also are pleased to announce that our own Walt Dozier has been named to succeed Chris Crawford as our permanent sales director. More details on AdOhio staff adjustments are at the end of the news release.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
FLORIDA, OHIO PRESS ASSOCIATIONS ANNOUNCE PARTNERSHIP
The advertising affiliates of the Florida and Ohio newspaper associations will partner to enhance joint sales efforts while centralizing most advertising operations for the two states at the Florida Press Service office in Lake City, Fla.
FPS and AdOhio provide agency-type placement services to print and digital advertisers in their states and across the country. The Board of Trustees of the Ohio Newspaper Association approved the terms of an agreement at its meeting in Toledo on Oct. 19. Subject to completion of a final contract, the two state associations hope to launch the partnership in January.
“Multi-state partnerships like this will strengthen the newspaper industry in these challenging times, and I think Ohio Newspaper Association members will be very pleased with the increase in sales that will result,” said David Dix, publisher of the Record-Courier in Kent, Ohio, and president of the ONA board.
“Advertisers are the new winners in this new collaborative effort between our associations, and we are glad to be able to work together – with expectations of increased revenue for both organizations,” said Matt Walsh, editor and CEO of the Observer Group in Sarasota, and chair of the Florida Press Association board.
Dennis Hetzel, executive director of the ONA, said that while cost savings through consolidated services was a factor, the prime motivation was an opportunity to grow sales and revenue for newspapers and their digital products.
“Florida lives in our world, and they’ve been extremely successful. They are upbeat and energetic about the future. They know how to tell the story about why advertising in our products should be in the mix for any serious advertiser,” Hetzel said.
Hetzel and Dean Ridings, president and CEO of the Florida Press Association, said the two organizations will coordinate sales efforts when that makes sense.
“This opportunity to provide advertisers with increased options and enhanced research capabilities will result in incremental revenue for both organizations,” Ridings said.
“Technology will allow us to easily overcome any issues with physical distance,” Hetzel said. “Both states are large with multiple metropolitan areas and many smaller daily and weekly newspapers. Just imagine, for example, what we can do together in the next election cycle.”
Hetzel said the change should be seamless for both the advertisers and newspapers that AdOhio serves. “They still will be doing business with AdOhio, and our pledge is that the quality of our customer service will equal or exceed what they now receive,” he said.
Hetzel also announced that, as part of the restructuring, acting Sales Director Walt Dozier will become AdOhio sales director on a permanent basis. Mary Hottenrott will take Dozier’s former account executive position with a specialty in digital sales. Hottenrott’s existing position as an account services coordinator and the position of a part-time assistant will be eliminated. Pat Conkle, AdOhio’s advertising coordinator, will become operations manager. She will be the everyday liaison with Florida while working closely with network sales executive Kathy McCutcheon to support AdOhio’s successful network sales programs, which will continue to operate out of AdOhio’s Columbus, Ohio, office.