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What to Watch for in Newspaper Advertising
By: Dwayne W. Waite Jr.
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We watch trends. Being in the advertising and marketing industry, we have to. Trends are little pulses that society sends out that let us know what is in front of everyone's mind. The most difficult part with trends, besides keeping up with them, is trying to predict them.

In the stock market, there are analysts who spend their entire work day looking at stocks trends to see what parts of the market are buying, staying, or selling. This process of trend watching is helped by different "indicators;" little information tidbits inside and outside of the market that can assist in predicting trend swings. To keep things simple, we'll focus on two types of indicators: leading indicators, things that happen before an event, and lagging indicators, things that happen close to or immediately following an event.

What does all of this have to do with newspaper advertising? Marketing Forecast's Kathy Crosett may have stumbled onto a positive leading indicator.

In her latest post, she covers Warren Buffett's latest fascination with the newspaper industry. As she quotes the Bloomberg post, she mentions that in the past year alone, Buffett has spent $315 million dollars on the newspaper industry. 

Apparently no one told him the newspaper industry is dead.


Mr. Buffett even wrote his shareholders and gave them an example of a successful newspaper model, the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. The paper has offered paid subscriptions online since nearly the beginning, in 2001. And with that, no loss in circulation.

Buffett charged the head of BH Media Group, Terry Kroeger, to implement this model throughout its holdings. 

Would the advertising community want to be privy to a captive online audience? We'd like to think so.

The book Mobs, Messiahs, and Markets explains the importance of looking into leading indicators like this. It stated that, like Buffett, it is better to act early while the product is undervalued, than to jump in while it's rising and the product is overvalued. 

We are going to look into the papers owned by the BH Media Group and watch their progress. We suggest, if market rules apply, you might want to do the same.

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About the Author
Dwayne W. Waite Jr. is partner and principal at JDW: The Charlotte Agency, a marketing and advertising shop in Charlotte, NC. He enjoys consumer behavior, economics, and football.
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