USA Today has long been one of the nation’s leading newspapers. It started in 1982 and quickly became very popular because of its new format, colorful pictures and charts, and condensed articles. The paper targeted a different demographic than its predecessors and was able to get more people interested in newspapers than had previously been. USA today grew quickly and appealed to many different age groups because of their attention to not only the current issues but also celebrity news and a strong sports section.
When technology began to boom and more people began to get their news from the internet or mobile devices, USA today began to see a decline in revenue and growth as did every other newspaper. They had to begin to focus on their website as well as a mobile app. USA today has many strengths which make it very popular among a younger audience than its top competitor, The Wall Street Journal, but it also has many weaknesses which is causing it to take a loss in profits and growth. USA Today has begun to focus more on its marketing and audience in order to help the paper grow.
The text states that marketing is a process within an organization that delivers value and benefits not only to its customers, but also the organization as a whole and the shareholders (Ferrell, Hartline 2011, p. 8). This new focus on marketing is going to be vital if USA Today is going to succeed in the future. They have to turn around their business and put focus on different areas of their business in order to move into the future. When conducting a SWOT analysis of USA Today the weaknesses and threats to the paper are more obvious and the plan of action is obvious.
Looking at the strengths of USA Today it is clear that one of the strengths is that it is a very popular publication in the US. It appeals to travelers and a younger demographic than its competitors. Due to this it has a strong presence in the market. A major weakness for USA Today is the fact that it depends heavily on the publication division. In the SWOT analysis conducted by Marketline of Gannett Co. Inc. , they state that the publishing division accounted for 73. 1% of the company’s total revenue in FY2011. (2012) This is a big problem if they hope to have a chance of succeeding in the future.
They have opportunity to make a change in their future by focusing on the opportunities that they have to emerge more in their website and mobile app. They would have to focus more on growing their online business and advertising and also their mobile advertising. They must also consider focusing on a target market that does not include the baby boomers. The baby boomers are older now and are the primary readers of newspapers but they are no longer the largest section of the population. Finding a way to appeal to the younger demographics is going to be key in ensuring longevity.
Doing these things will help ensure their longevity but they must also consider the threats to their business. The biggest threat to their business is the apparent decline in the newspaper industry as a whole. Consumers are just not buying newspapers as they once did. There could be many reasons for this. There is a large focus on being green. This plays a part in less people buying newspapers and reading books as well as newspapers electronically. It is also more common for people to read the news on the internet, whether that be on a PC or a cellular phone. People are reading news on the internet more than ever.
Many companies have put a large focus on their websites and mobile apps due to this knowledge of the ever growing technology boom. USA Today must follow suit in order to compete and stay in the market. They can no longer depend on their printed publications to carry them. They would need to develop some strategic partnerships to help them continue to grow and thrive. The SWOT implications that USA Today has are the weaknesses of depending too heavily on the publication division as well as the threats of its competitors and the focus on a market of people that are not going to be able to provide longevity to the paper in the future.
USA Today must turn its attention to its opportunities. The opportunity to be able to shift its focus off of the baby boomers and towards a younger demographic is going to be key. Currently, the age of people buying actual newspapers are from about age 50-70. This will not always be the case. As the new generations begin to age that are not currently buying the papers, the newspaper companies must grow with them and provide the news and other publications on the media channels that this demographic is using. The younger demographics use the internet and their mobile devices to get the news.
Soon, printed media will be a thing of the past. It is evident just by looking around. More and more publishing companies are closing since Ipads and kindles have become increasingly popular. USA Today must grow and change as well or they will become a thing of the past with such a heavy focus on publication. USA today can leverage its ability to provide popular and condensed articles to the younger demographic. This will keep them popular.
They also can focus on their strategic partnerships, such as the one with Careerbulider. com. Gannett Co. Inc. owns Careerbuilder. com and this could be a huge advantage with the way the economy has been in recent years. More and more employers and potential applicants go through websites to post jobs as well as apply for jobs. The advertisement of this with USA today could be very beneficial. Not only can they report on the job markets across the nation, but they can also have links on the same page to Careerbuilder. com to show open jobs in the area. Focusing on these areas of opportunity will shift the focus from so heavily relying on the publication to new and innovative ways to add value to consumers as well as the company.
USA Today has put more of a focus on their website and has developed a mobile app in order to provide the news on the go that the younger demographics use. This has been vital in the ensuring that they maintain a place in the market. USA Today is positioning themselves well because they have a structure that the younger demographic will like. People want to stay informed of current events but they also do not have the time to read the longer more in depth articles that The Wallstreet Journal has that targets a upper level management sector of the market.
USA Today has a good place in the market because they appeal to a larger segment of the market. They appeal to the younger and more on the go side. Since they have put the focus on their website and their mobile app they are able to deliver the news in real time and are able to provide the news on the go that the younger demographic needs. Having Careerbuilder. com as a company asset is also going to be helpful to ensure a stronghold in the market due to its popularity. Ensuring longevity is going to be important for not only USA Today, but for every newspaper publication in the industry.
Printed media is not what it once was since the invention of Ipad and Kindle. The younger generations are less likely to buy printed media because they have always had the convenience of the internet that the older generations have not had. The younger generations are also more focused on being green, so they are even less likely to buy printed media because of the environmental implications. Since USA Today has put more of an emphasis and focus on the younger demographics, they will have a chance to have a future in providing the news to the younger generations.
Looking at USA Today’s history with losing the amount of profitability and growth that they had due to relying so heavily on the publication side of their business the future of printed media looks bleak. Current publication companies have to shift their focus to internet and mobile applications or they will not have a future. The baby boomers, or age group of 50-70 are the segment of the population that is currently buying newspapers and printed media the most. As this segment of the population stops buying printed media the publishers will either have to switch to primarily internet and mobile media or face failure.
Looking at the age group of age 20-30 for example, these people had internet access and mobile access in high school and college. Due to this access there was not the need for printed media that there was in the past. The prior generations had to use printed media to do research and this is no longer the case. More and more schools are providing Ipads and laptops to their students as early as elementary school making printed media and even writing papers with a pencil and paper a thing of the past.
The newspaper and printed media industry must take note of this and move towards the way of the future or will be doomed. These newer generations have not grown up with printed media the way that previous generations have and due to this the printed media industry is declining more every year. There is no longer a way to compete with digital media, which can offer news in real time, video, and audio feeds immediately. Newspapers are often outdated before they even hit newsstands. The way of the future suggests that newspapers must go mobile or they will not be able to survive.