Approximately 170 attendees at Tuesday’s Advertising Week DC’s (ADWKDC) sessions heard presentations that ran the gamut from Larry Kramer, president and publisher of USA TODAY, shown above; to a panel on the marketing of beer and pizza; to sessions on how Volkswagen markets its products, multicultural communications, and other topics. The common thread to the daylong presentations is that businesses must stay more in touch with their customers, and listen to them all the time.

Kramer discussed how USA TODAY has grown to cover distribution of news though a growing number of channels, including expanded options in print, broadcast and the Internet. As one example, he said that between 70- and 80-million people access USA TODAY, online, at least once a month.

Considerable discussion was focused during the day on metrics to measure the impact of campaigns – which ran the gamut from Kramer stating that USA TODAY tracks stories of most interest to its readers to retailers who track the number of people who stand in line to buy their products.

Regarding the future of the print version, which has less appeal to young readers than online options, Kramer said that young people never read newspapers because the detailed issues that were of no interest to them. However, when these people grew up, he said, these issues became relevant to them and they started to read newspapers. As a result, Kramer sees a continuing demand for a print version of USA TODAY which, he said, is changing – including producing a section focusing on international and national news that can be inserted into local Gannett-owned papers nationwide.

There were a number of one-liners that attendees could take away from today’s sessions, including:
– “We try to engage our audience as much as possible”
– “Customer service is all about digital”
– “Everything we do is on mobile”

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