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Caxton – securing print with a digital approach

Of all sectors of the printing industry in the local market – newspapers is the one which has been among the most affected. While some titles have seen growth, the vast majority have seen decline, especially among the national daily and weekly titles. A major contributory factor has been the decline in advertising.

The impact of electronic news sources on printed media has also seen newspaper distribution and circulations declining. Globally newspaper publishers are looking for inventive ways to fight back against the decline. The local market is no different. Caxton Local Media – publisher and printer of more than 140 titles in the community-based newspaper space – has embraced digital and electronic technology to supplement rather than replace its existing business.

According to Jaco Koekemoer, Managing Director of Caxton Local Media, the addition of a digital approach is actually encouraging people to read their local freesheet newspapers to obtain more in-depth information behind the stories. Currently, Caxton has 73 digital titles allowing it to be first with the news which matters most to readers in the respective communities. As a result, advertising volumes are also increasing.

So, what does all of this mean to newspaper readership. Well, it is growing. Rather than seeing electronic media as a threat, Caxton is using it as a channel or conduit for print. While Caxton has adopted the approach of embracing electronic media, the strategy is more about being closer to its target market. Jaco commented, ‘This is all about unique and local content. The journalists live and work in the areas where they are reporting which makes the news relevant to them and to the communities they serve. We have over 200 journalists and 400 sales staff operating from 27 hubs and numerous satellites.’

Editorial content is one aspect of localised newspapers but of equal importance is the advertising which is also focused on specific areas bringing product and service offerings right to the reader’s doorstep. For advertisers, this makes the publications relevant to their businesses because it is attracting customers within a catchment area. This means that it is less of a hit-or-miss situation making advertising more targeted and increasing return on investment for advertisers.

Jaco added, ‘There is a perception that print is declining. This is not actually the case, print is still as important as it ever was, its role has simply changed. What is required is the need to understand the importance of print. We are seeing an increasing trend towards non-traditional print advertisers moving into print-based advertising because we are able to help them see the value of print advertising to a targeted audience. Companies and brands such as Uber, iStore and Take-a-lot among others have now started trying print. The interesting thing is that some of these are actually electronic-based companies and they have found benefits in printed advertising.’

Combining local publications with an understanding of marketing techniques, Caxton Local Newspapers has a linked marketing company Spark Media which can assist advertisers to design entire campaigns leveraging the strengths of specific local newspapers or combining the reach of all publications offering a national footprint.

Marc stated, ‘We offer clients access to the latest marketing technology, both on the print front and in the retail sector. Studies have shown that newspaper advertising is a highly effective medium. We are able to offer customers the benefits of full campaigns incorporating print, online and events or activations. Well-known brands can become part of advertising campaigns thereby increasing the efficacy of their marketing strategy.’

In addition, Caxton and Spark Media are making use of a range of different technologies to bring the greatest degree of flexibility to customers’ marketing plans. One such technology is the Kodak Prosper inkjet printing head on the newspaper press allowing for variable elements to be incorporated in the printing of the newspapers. An example of this is the addition of QR codes which are always completely unique from one to the next.

Technology is not just a tool or a challenge but rather a means to an end. A new approach to embracing technology and looking for new opportunities can make all the difference. Jaco concluded, ‘Marketers and agencies cannot afford to overlook the power of print-based advertising and campaigns which include the use of newspapers and newspaper inserts. The audience is not only very large, but can also be targeted giving campaigns a higher than average chance of achieving the desired result.’

By investing in the latest technology and offering their customers the services they need, Caxton Local Media has not only managed to secure the future of its print business but has actually seen an increase in the number of clients. With more than 4000 tons of newsprint going through its 10 newspaper print plants per month, Caxton Local Media is testimony to the fact that print is still strong and viable. All that is required is the right approach to meet your client’s requirements.

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