Case Study Analysis – USA Today: Innovation and Evolution
MBA505 –Marketing Management
Jones International University
a. What opportunities in the marketing environment did Gannett seize in launching USA Today? What unmet benefits are added and what value is created for the customer by USA Today? Gannett was brilliant to seize a great opportunity to niche market news. True to the definition of niche marketing which seeks to understand and meet the needs of a target customer so completely that the despite the small size of the niche, the segment is extremely profitable (Ferrell & Hartline, 2011, p.170) Gannett was very thorough in his desire to appeal to achievement-oriented males in professional and managerial positions who were heavy newspaper readers and frequent travelers (Ferrell et al, 2011, p.502). He understood that the needs of this group were evolving and that there was an opportunity to change the formatting of news so that it could be more easily digested and embraced by this set of men on the move. Specifically, he noticed that attention spans were increasingly growing short and there was a growing desire for more information (Ferrell et al, 2011, p. 502). Further he noticed the ability to target Middle America which differentiated him from The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal. There were a variety of unmet benefits that were addressed by USA Today and its value was immediately apparent by skyrocketing sales that immediately graced this paper. For instance, by changing the formatting so that information could be more easily and quickly absorbed by readers, readers could more efficiently catch up on a wide array of news while needing a smaller attention span and less time. In addition, by reducing the size of the paper, USA Today made it more convenient to read while in the confined space of an aircraft. It also bridged the gap of information provided by its two main competitors by also reporting on pop culture and sports. Another manner in which USA Today created value was by selling the paper via “blue-chip” circulation to hotels, airports and the like who then provided it complementary to its customers. I, myself, have been trained to look forward to the copy of USA Today that is often waiting for me outside my hotel room in the morning. i. Answer the same questions for USAToday.com.
In 1995, when USA Today online launched (Fennel et al, 2011, p. 507), Gannett again saw an opportunity. This time Gannett saw an opportunity to address the need to counterbalance rising distribution and promotion costs. The online version was considered a companion to the paper itself and was yet another way to add value by giving the consumer another avenue to late breaking news and information via USA Today’s unique and well-received format. This avenue also addressed that original need recognized by Gannett to get more information and fast as possible. Since its original inception, the website has grown to include may added values to readers. For instance, archived articles are now available which is an incredible plus for students such as myself. They also added a travel site which is a great extension of services to a customer base who is regularly on the move. Blogs, RSS, podcasting, zip code sorted information, relevant local advertising links, and the ability for consumers to add content are all other very effective benefits of USAToday.com (Fennel et al, 2011, p. 508). Most recently another benefit which adds wonderful value to our technologically advanced world is the ability to access USAToday.com via apps on one’s smart phones. b. How has the continuous strategy of marketing innovation proved successful for USA Today and USAToday.com, given the segmentation of their market and the perception of the customers' experiences? Do you believe that USA Today is well positioned and has properly segmented for the future? Explain....
References: Ferrell, O.C. & Hartline, M. (2011). Marketing Strategy. Mason, OH: Cengage
Vanacore, A. (Oct 14, 2009) Wall Street Journal Overtakes USA Today As Biggest Newspaper In US, Huff Post Media. Retrieved April 26, 2013 from http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/10/14/wall-street-journal-overt_n_320759.html
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