‘Newspapers First’ Exec Downplays Depressed Market

By: Joe Strupp

Erich Linker downplays talk of a depressed newspaper advertising market in 2002. In fact, the new senior vice president of national sales for Newspapers First believes a down economy is the best time for publishers to pitch their product as an ad vehicle.

To do this, Linker, 53, stresses that newspapers and marketers must look beyond the usual approaches to make things happen.

“We need to build more creative selling,” he said. “That could be Internet activity, shared mail, polybagging, whatever can work.”

Among the ideas he hopes to implement are sales approaches that allow advertisers to buy smaller blocks of newspaper space to make it more affordable.

Linker, who replaces the retiring James Lytle, said newspapers need to give marketers new ideas about using them “and demonstrate their place in a mixed media [buy].”

Linker comes to New York-based Newspapers First from Orb Inc., an Internet communications marketing company where he was senior vice president for corporate development. He also served as executive vice president of advertising sales/events for PressPoint Inc. and spent more than 20 years in similar posts at The New York Times.

Newspapers First serves 38 markets, with client papers including the Houston Chronicle, The Arizona Republic in Phoenix, The Philadelphia Inquirer, the Detroit Free Press, and The Miami Herald.

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