Bob McInnis graduated from Dartmouth College in
1984 and since he loved writing and advertising, he decided to try
his hand at copywriting. To get some experience, he took a position
as a retail advertising salesperson at his hometown suburban Boston
newspaper group of six weeklies.
In the territory he was assigned, he found many
advertisers were having response issues, which lead them to complain
about the newspaper's rates and circulation and often made them
hesitate to run, or run the right size and frequency. Since many
were too impatient to wait for their ads to run a number of times
before they worked, Bob began to learn all he could about creating
effective ad strategies that worked right away. With some of trial
and error, Bob developed a system of developing ad strategies that
resulted in a strong response for his advertisers the very first
time they ran and consistently thereafter.
Within a couple of years, Bob was promoted to
marketing director, a position which included responsibility for
training and management of the advertising sales staff. Not long
after, the newspaper group was acquired by Harte-Hanks, a corporation
that was purchasing up most of the Boston area's weeklies at the
time. They decided someone a bit more seasoned would make a better
marketing director. Bob called a couple of friends he had met at
the American Press Institute and in a couple of weeks was in Buffalo,
New York as the ad director of a group of ten weeklies.
While there, he continued to develop his "Response
Model", as he began to call it, and set to work on a bigger issue--getting
advertisers to actually believe enough in the recommended strategies
to run the right size and frequency. Effective ads weren't enough,
since it seemed every prospective advertiser held fast to their
own, often faulty, theories of what made an ad effective ad and
how much they should be spending.
For the next few years Bob perfected a system
of teaching his Response Model to prospects for maximum buy-in early
in the sales process, so once the spec ad was presented, the advertiser
would immediately understand and buy into the ad content, size,
and frequency, and as a result, truly believe the ad would work.
Sales increased dramatically.
His manager signed Bob up to share the approach
first at a regional New York Press Association meeting, then at
the New York Press Association annual conference, then later at
Suburban Newspapers of America's Advertising and Publisher's Conferences.
His seminar ranked number one at the conference, and SNA voted it
the best idea of all time.
A year later he was hired by Long Island/New York
Newsday as the training manager. The techniques he had been teaching
his weekly staff in Buffalo worked just as well on Long Island,
and since it was the third largest daily in the U.S., the increases
were over $3 million the first year the program was implemented.
Soon Bob was back at API, but now as a teacher. He was then invited
to speak at the International Newspaper Marketing Association Annual
Conference in Toronto, where he was approached by other newspapers
interested in sharing his techniques with their staff.
Since Bob had trained the entire Newsday staff
at that point, and found that he really enjoyed teaching others
his approach, he decided to leave and start a training firm to share
the program with the newspaper industry. For the past ten years
Bob has done just that in a course called Response
Oriented Selling. Over 400 newspapers currently use his techniques,
including many top U.S., Canadian, and U.K. daily and weekly newspapers.
He's recently started teaching sales teams the techniques through
The program has been written about many times
in Editor and Publisher and was the only ad sales program Presstime
recommended in 2000.
Bob has also written a self-paced, 100-page training
program "Everything You Need To Know To Start
Selling Newspaper Advertising Tomorrow". It's available online,
as a downloadable document, and an audiotape series. Although that
program doesn't contain his Respose Oriented Selling techniques,
it's used by hundreds of newspapers, including all Knight-Ridder,
CNHI, and Landmark newspapers.
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