Three 2016 SIPAward Winners Provide Key New-Initiative Lessons

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The three 2016 SIPAward winners for Best Marketing for a New Product have all been profiled on these pages and are worth taking a look if you haven't seen them:

  • Access Intelligence's OR a.m. provided OR Manager with a successful transition from weekly to daily.
  • Cynopsis Media, also a division of Access Intelligence, established their Rising Star awards which are only getting bigger and better.
  • BLR's DecisionHealth partnered with a key player in the industry, resulting in a successful new product.

The best thing that each of these worthy award winners did last year was they entered. It's an old and worn-out saying but it still rings true: "You can't win if you don't enter. This Friday, March 24, is our deadline for entering the 2017 SIPAwards. Then June 6 will be the awards luncheon at SIPA's 41st Annual Conference. You can see all the categories on the SIPAwards site and how to enter. All entries must be sent in online.

We also need judges, both for our in-person judging at our Washington, D.C., office on Thursday, April 6, and virtually, which is equally important. This is a great way to see the awesome work your colleagues are doing. You can sign up here as a judge.

Here are key lessons learned from the above-mentioned winners:

1. A new event should be part of any big initiative. If you attend the June 4-6 SIPA Conference, you will get to hear keynote speakers Anne Holland and her co-founder Cassandra Farrington talk about the huge importance of events for publishers. (They had 10,800 attendees at their last one.) Cynopsis Media's Rising Star Awards culminates each year with a festive event celebrating the--in last year's case--66 winners. Companies are encouraged to buy tickets to attend and support their colleagues.

Recalling 2015, Jenn Ocampo, senior marketing manager, said that "Instead of speeches, honorees were asked to share the best advice they'd ever gotten, and the answers were by turns poignant and funny." Tickets and sponsorships were sold for the awards event. Entries in 2015 cost $350--they've since gone up--and the results were: 126 award entries generating $49,000 in revenue, and 129 event attendees, for $15,823 more in revenue.

2. Look for a partner to forge a new product with. DecisionHealth brokered an unprecedented partnership with a key player in the industry, resulting in the creation of a brand new product: the DecisionHealth Coding and Billing Expert (Specialty Illustrated). They were able to seed the market with the news that there was a new, powerful tool that would make the dominant competitor's product obsolete.

This meant an aggressive, concurrent multi-channel marketing campaign—email, ecommerce advertising, Google AdWords, automated trigger campaigns, catalogs, carrier ads, outsourced telemarketing and print advertising. Their direct-to-sale, multi-channel attack generated nearly 70% of the total product orders. Marketing-driven orders outnumbered sales-driven orders by 3:1—very impressive.

3. Feed your audience's daily appetite. OR Manager's OR a.m. is a "simple snapshot of three important health care news stories of the day, sent at 5 a.m. every morning to nearly 40,000 health care executives." Launched in October 2015, it proved a worthy transition from their weekly, which "didn't get too much engagement." Following the daily's launch, their page views went up 41% and referral search rose 93%. The free news briefs account for 15% of all page views, and the OR a.m. eLetter accounts for 10% of that. This means that 10% of all of their website traffic came from the daily eLetter. Not surprisingly, more sponsors are signing on for logo placement and a banner ad.

OR a.m. showed that their audience did want a daily. That won't always be the case. But in this instance they had stated goals and followed a plan to meet them. OR a.m. later found that job listings from their own job board could bring more traffic and lead to a new pricing increase. 

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Ronn Levine began his career as a reporter for The Washington Post and has won numerous writing and publications awards since. Most recently, he spent 12 years at the Newspaper Association of America covering a variety of topics before joining SIPA in 2009 and SIIA in 2013 as editorial director…