Media Awards 2004: Print Sales Team of The Year - Telegraph Group

It has been another tough old year for newspapers. But the Telegraph Group, often regarded as one of the more traditional publishers, has taken the market by surprise, shining with its canny and inventive sales force known as the Commercial Development team. Commercial Development, Telegraph Group's creative solutions unit, grew its revenues by 23 per cent year on year between 2002 and 2003. Better still, revenues were up by 45 per cent between January and June this year.

Among the high-profile campaigns the group has taken on are "racing spirit" for the British Horseracing Board, "dreamers who do" for American Express, "Wimbledon on the Wharf" for Jacob's Creek, "tomorrow changed my day" for the Toyota Prius and "trend vision" for Wella, the Procter & Gamble haircare brand. All have helped the group's incremental revenues reach £4.3 million this year.

Working out market share in print sales is no easy task, but the group claims that, on a month-by-month basis, it has produced more campaigns than its rivals, running more than 100 initiatives during the past year, spanning everything from sponsorships, supplements and awards schemes to advertorials, calendars and online promotions.

A hitlist of goals has focused the group to win considerable new business in 2004. It set out to grow the number of third-party partnerships for the Telegraph brand portfolio (which includes The Daily Telegraph, The Sunday Telegraph and The Weekly Telegraph, as well as its online properties). It also aimed not only to win more revenue but to create a more central role for itself within the company.

Finally, it wanted to show the market that it was a fleet-of-foot unit that could dream up ground-breaking new ideas. No pressure, then.

Its structure has helped realise these goals. The group is made up of seven client-sector experts - travel, sport, finance, retail, motoring and so on. The exception is the fashion and luxury goods client rep, who sits with the magazine display team, while all of the magazine's advertorials are now handled by Commercial Development. Since the latter change was made, advertorial revenue for the magazine has grown by 40 per cent.

Success, the team says, is also down to getting the campaign right at the brief stage. Design meetings are held with clients and agencies, and for every campaign, advertisers are assigned their own designer and journalist.

As well as its client unit, the group has placed two agency reps within the display team to develop better press advertising ideas. This move, the company claims, has generated more than £1 million in incremental and new revenue over the past six months - no mean feat for a team working in a medium that has experienced close to terminal decline over the past decade.


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