Follow the money? No, lead

A division of ad agency WPP castigates newspaper companies for not selling online effectively:

“With some exceptions, newspaper groups don’t seem to be marketing their digital assets particularly well,” said Adam Smith, the futures director at Group M.

“Regional press groups, in particular, still seem to be overly focused on only selling in print.

“As with radio, the sales forces neglect their digital assets. The typical newspaper sales department still regards online as an exotic distraction, if they are aware of it at all.”

The report is about the UK but the same holds true here in too many newspapers and magazines. The many conferences I go to about the future of journalism and media rarely include the sales side of media companies and less rarely advertisers. We fret about where the money’s going to come from but don’t include the money people. There are exceptions; this was the reason the Online Publishers Association was founded. But it’s time to both educate and pressure the money people, for if you don’t lead the money, you’ll follow it as it goes elsewhere.