JOHN CRAIG – NEWSPAPER GROUP INSERTS MANAGER, DC THOMSON
In the first among a collection of interviews with some of our highly talented and experienced clients within the display and insert ad industry, John Craig here gives an overview of the DC Thomson Media business and talks about his predictions for 2022, outlining the biggest drivers of growth and where the largest gains will come from this year.
Tell us a bit about your business and you.
I joined DC Thomson in 2008 as part of The Sunday Post display advertising sales team following many years spent working in local newspapers in Admin/Planning/Field Sales/Regional Advertisement Management. I subsequently managed The Sunday Post ad sales teams in Dundee and London and The Evening Telegraph display sales team in Dundee before taking responsibility for sales and management of the newspaper inserts service at its launch in 2013 and this continues to be my current role within the DC Thomson Media business.
2021 has seen massive challenges upheaval in media because of the ongoing effects of the pandemic. Despite all the challenges, what would you say has been a highlight for this year for you
While current restrictions mean the majority of us are currently working from home, we hope that before too long we may begin to return to our offices, putting new hybrid ways of working models into practice. But while we may not have seen each other in person as much as we may have liked this year, in many ways our connections and collaborations have never been stronger thanks to new initiatives such as our culture working groups, our internal communications hub and our many Teams channels. The resilience shown across our business has been outstanding and this has been reflected in overall performance.
As we head in to 2022, what do you think will be key areas of development and trends that will emerge over the next year in media?
From a DC Thomson perspective we are investing in technology and talent to make sure we have the right skills and experience across our media business to create an engine for growth.
DC Thomson was founded on creativity and entrepreneurialism. As the company transforms to prepare itself for the future, its mission is to nurture that spirit.
Throughout DC Thomson’s history, its ability to continually recognise the wants and needs of audiences has created successful brands that have grown and evolved. Now more than ever, readers, listeners and viewers want to feel a togetherness that comes from shared experiences.
To survive and grow, we have to do more than just attract customers, we need to create loyal and long-lasting communities and we will achieve that by investing in technology, data and talent.
What do you think will be the biggest driver of growth in the sector over the next year?
The end of the current Covid pandemic and the many restrictions still in place around this will remove uncertainty and encourage customers to forward plan and commit to campaign programmes with increased confidence.
We’re seeing continuing growth across many direct sectors, where do you think the biggest gains will come from in 2022?
Everything largely depends on how things go with Covid. If the position remains as at present then we will see mail order businesses and leaflet signposting to online contact points continue to be at the forefront. If the situation normalises then retail business and the overseas travel sector should come back strongly. Financial Services is also an area where I see potential increases as people reflect post-Covid and look seriously at lifestyle (and life stage) planning for the future.
Give us some words of advice for colleagues who are just joining the industry?
I’ve worked continuously in newspaper advertising since 1973 (48 years in the business) and can honestly say that I have enjoyed every day of the journey. There is always something fresh to appreciate in an ever changing media landscape. Yes, as in any walk of life, there are challenges but there are tangible rewards for hard work and also a lot of fun to be had. I have always taken great pride in seeing an advertisement I have been involved with appear in print in a given newspaper, or a leaflet inserted which I have helped to generate. Media really is a great industry to be a part of with loads of wonderful people, a great many of whom I now count as personal friends as well as business associates.