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News Plus 9 Feb 2021 - 3 min read

Think like a CMO: News firms back Vanessa Lyons to turn the tide

By Staff writer

News firms are backing highly experienced marketer Vanessa Lyons to convince advertisers to rethink news media and stem the decline in ad dollars.

What you need to know:
  • ThinkNewsBrands new GM aims to target CMOs in bid to reframe the value of news media.
  • Championing print advertising is top priority.
  • She also aims to underline privacy compliance versus other channels.

Australia’s news media lobby group, ThinkNewsBrands, has appointed Vanessa Lyons as General Manager.

A three-time CMO Top 50 lister, Lyons was most recently GM Marketing & Customer Experience at Wilson Parking, and previously held senior marketing positions at insurance business AUB Group, Telstra and Philips.

Lyons hopes her insight into the demands placed on a CMO will help convince them to spend more money with news companies.

“I know the questions that are being asked in the boardroom when it comes to investment. I know the information that fellow CMOs need, to be able to advocate for advertising spend,” she said.

“When you stand up and present to boards and ask for advertising spend, everything is scrutinised – as it should be,” Lyons added. “The whole purpose of ThinkNewsMedia is to provide that insight and that guidance to prove and debunk common misconceptions about news media.”

Lyons believes many CMOs hold those misconceptions.

“A lot of people need to reappraise their perception of what news is and my job is to enable that,” she said. “From my perspective, the number one thing is to champion the benefits of print advertising, demonstrating its effectiveness from a brand lift and business lift perspective.”

Lyons added that she will focus on dispelling the notion that newspapers are best used for “a brand uplift”, with other channels – such as digital – better for performance marketing.

“The fact is that the news media channel delivers both things,” Lyons told Mi3. “It delivers long-term as well as short-term brand uplift, and also business impact, which CEOs and CMOs are both driven to achieve.”

Stop the rot

The latest Standard Media Index figures, released last week, revealed a 18.4% fall in newspaper advertising spend while showing a recovery for the total advertising market – up 2% year-on-year for the December quarter.

Despite continued decline, Lyons insisted there is no reason newspapers can’t clawback share.

News in Australia is something we all trust and consume daily. If you think of the past 12 months, first we had the bushfires, then Covid, Black Lives Matter, the US elections – there is always a significant event and Australians turn to trusted news sources,” she said.

“For marketers, [news media is] not just about delivering business impact… it’s very controllable and easy to execute, as well as much more flexible and nimble.

“When I say controllable, I’m referring to the fact that it’s not user-generated, unmonitored content. You can control who you serve it to and when. It’s very data- and privacy-compliant.”

Lyons confirmed ThinkNewsBrands will soon be releasing a study, “which proves that news media delivers high levels of brand engagement in both print and digital versions”.

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