Editor's note: This article is part of a special series celebrating National Newspaper Week Oct. 6-12. The Week was designated in 1940 as a way to recognize the importance of newspapers to their communities.
Imagine neat rows of desks piled high with newspapers, an inbox of paper ad insertion orders, an outbox of camera ready artwork, phones ringing loudly, dozens of advertising representatives talking and meeting with local business owners about the print advertising they want presented alongside news, business and sports.
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Boy, have times changed since the '90s.
Today's world of "newspaper" advertising and marketing is as diverse and technologically driven as the business world we live in. Rows of desks have been replaced by mobile offices; email is the communication du jour; artwork is sent via the Internet. Even job titles have changed to reflect our diversity: Advertising "reps" of old are now known as "multimedia sales consultants."
Where there was once only a handful of ways for a business to connect with suburban consumers -- newspapers, free TV, radio, billboards, the Yellow Pages -- now there are potentially thousands. In short, the competition for your attention is fierce.
While things have changed over the decades for newspapers, one thing that hasn't is the Daily Herald's unique relationship with the suburban business community.
The Daily Herald grew up with the suburbs, helping many fledgling businesses -- from homebuilders to car dealers -- build a loyal customer base. As that relationship evolved over the years, so did the partnership the newspaper enjoys with its loyal advertising customers. Yes, print advertising still makes the cash register ring. But that, too, has evolved.
Serving the business community today means much more collaboration and partnership, providing consultations and many options for marketing and advertising. Sales consultants must be well versed in not only all forms of print advertising, but emerging forms of multimedia -- digital, social media, events and niche audiences.
That's one of the reasons we now call ourselves the Daily Herald Media Group, to reflect that we are now multidimensional.
There is no one-size-fits-all marketing strategy for suburban business. It is a complex blend of different advertising channels, each reaching a different audience or demographic.
Newspaper print and its many variations is but one strategy. Others include banner, billboard and takeover ads on dailyherald.com, behavioral targeting across multiple websites, email marketing, website optimization, mobile advertising, search word optimization on Google, and one of the current marketing buzzwords, Native Advertising, both in print and online.
Targeted niches also matter, which is why the Daily Herald Media Group delivers advertising outside the daily newspaper, such as for the exploding Latino population in the suburbs (via the weekly Reflejos) and for the growing suburban business-to-business community (via the bi-weekly Business Ledger).
Like the businesses we partner with, we will continue to evolve and innovate -- each day, each year. We have to. But one thing will not change, and that is our commitment to helping suburban businesses connect with their customers through collaboration, partnership and consultation, just like we've been doing for more than 140 years.
See, we still believe in doing some things the old-fashioned way, like picking up the ringing phone.
• Scott Stone joined the Daily Herald in 1997. He has held a number of positions in the newsroom, Niche and Internet divisions, advertising and business operations. He grew up in Elgin and lives in Sleepy Hollow. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or the "old-fashioned" way at (847) 427-4630.