LIL 2013: Vikram Sharma’s “Reintroduction to Gannett”

Traditional media is in the throes of transformation, seeking to diversify beyond legacy models and serve customers with an array of new products and services. At BIA/Kelsey’s Leading in Local conference, Gannett Digital Marketing Services President and CEO Vikram Sharma reintroduced the monolith as something much more – a full-fledged “digital marketing services company” buttressed by a large field sales force through its media channels.

Sharma admitted that “it takes a lot to turn the aircraft carrier,” but Gannett is doing just that – aggressively – through a slew of technology/platform acquisitions (mobile loyalty app KeyRing; Facebook Ads platform BLiNQ Media) and the rollout of new content and commerce franchises.

In leading transformation, Sharma has learned lessons aplenty. Many of the biggest he shared during his keynote:

– “Give It To Me Local”: Consumers expect seamless shopping across all experiences. And they want personalization and targeting at the price and item level.

– “Give People What They Want”: Encourage opt-in rather than forcing opt-out to “uncover audiences more likely to perform”

– “Mobile Is The New Loyalty”: Thus the KeyRing buy, where retailer loyalty cards and their respective promotions can all be scanned into a single app.

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