From Editor & Publisher
Now owned by Gannett, Journal Media Group comprises thirteen daily newspaper publications, as well as a number of weeklies. The properties vary in circulation size from midsize to the largest, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. They are located around the U.S. from the east to west coasts. As with most platforms, JMG looks to standardize partner solutions, and this was no different when they sought an obituary order entry strategy for funeral directors. JMG already had confidence in Adpay based on years of successful adoption of the Click-N-Buy Marketplace solution. Therefore, after a comprehensive review, JMG chose Memoriams as their obituary platform of choice.
JMG’s funeral director processes involved back-and-forth with funeral homes for pricing and proofing, after receiving the obituaries via fax and e-mail. This was time-consuming and could be error prone. There was also an approval process required by the editorial team prior to final release. Revenues were declining in some markets, or remaining static. There were limited upsells, and those typically were not sold successfully once the obituary was submitted. Each market priced differently according to line, word or inch. JMG looked to standardize the look, feel and pricing across their properties and increase the options for additional run dates and add-ons.
JMG created a new style for obituaries and a new pricing strategy by word for all sites. Standard fields of data were collected to ensure the proper information was always submitted for the print obituaries. Fields required by Legacy.com were also collected, and submitted from the print obituary as required. The data was delivered directly back into their Brainworks front end to eliminate rekeying of the notices. Adpay also built a separate editorial approvals queue to review the print obituary, since their editorial and advertising teams were not allowed access to the same systems. This enabled an editorial review of the obituary data before it was released for pagination.
Upsells for additional days in print, banner emblems and logos for funeral directors were also standardized. Typically, after a two to three-week transition period, Memoriams became the required method of entry for funeral directors. On-site trainings in all markets made the transition easy, and adoption followed rapidly. In Milwaukee one of the largest funeral homes stated in a training, “It’s about time you brought this here!”
Sherri Propis, Senior Director of Sales Operations for the group has this to say, “Our transition to Memoriams has been very positive. Overall, revenue, ad volume and order size have increased! JMG’s funeral director partners are pleased with the platform’s ease-of-use, seven-day-a-week customer support and the newspaper network. The Adpay team is great! They worked with us extensively on best practices for set-up and conducted on-site trainings of our local Call Center teams and their funeral directors. They even provide quarterly reviews for each market to optimize and identify new revenue and process opportunities.”
With the implementation of Memoriams, Journal Media Group:
- Increased obituary revenue volumes per order across the JMG markets by 38%
- 75% average adoption rate average by funeral homes, with some markets as high as 90-100%
- Network volumes for additional obituaries average 58 month
- Additional network revenues from out-of-market were $170,000 in 2015
- Significant process savings and elimination of errors and make-goods
- Increased upsells, particularly for additional days, funeral home logos and copies of the paper delivered to families. The latter counts towards audited single copy circulation
- Free obituaries were now required to be placed through Memoriams, eliminating paid resources interacting with a free notice.
- Eliminated errors and make-goods
- Enhanced funeral director partner relationships with this time-savings process