July 11, 2008
You’ll soon have the chance to decide just where the union resides. I’m going to be writing a weekly marketing column for MinnPost, Minnesota’s leading independent online news source. Like so many other Star Tribune refugees, I found my way to Joel Kramer’s bold new venture.
I don’t use that word lightly. It takes a lot of nerve to launch a real news site, staffed by real news reporters, in the new online world. It’s one thing to be a solitary blogger, with no fixed costs other than a computer and a wireless bill. It’s another thing to attempt to build something substantial, and Kramer put up a big chunk of his own dough to seed MinnPost. I don’t know what their financials look like, but they’re definitely grabbing eyeballs, now reaching more than 125,000 unique visitors a month.
I wrote a similar marketing column, “Selling It,” for the Star Tribune for about three years. Yet I always thought the Strib undervalued marketing coverage. The Twin Cities has one of the nation’s largest, most productive and creative marketing industries. It’s a business that is knowledge-based, well-compensated and clean. It attracts to our region the so-called creative class of worker, which some social scientists (e.g., Richard Florida) believe is the key to vitality in the modern economy. I used to tell my editors, if we didn’t already have this industry in our midst, and we had the chance to offer incentives to attract it here, it would be the biggest no-brainer in history.
Yet it’s right here already, organically grown and basically thriving, despite the rough waters of the short term. I hope to highlight some of the thoughts of our region’s leading marketing practitioners (yes, that will include our competitors) and show how they’re responding to the many challenges of what’s surely the most disruptive era ever in communications. My column is set to run on Mondays, with the first installment on July 21. We’ll also be posting the columns here one day after they run on MinnPost. My duties as a senior director at Fast Horse will continue unchanged, other than the addition of another deadline to the mix.