Business information written specifically for newspaper advertising departments

Managing Change

A follow–up from Arte Nathan at WCAA
“The world has shrunk.” Nathan says. We’re all connected via the Internet; anybody can see everything online. There were over 2 billion people on the Internet last year.

Arte Nathan, President of Strategic Development Worldwide out of Laguna Beach, Calif., has been a pivotal influence in the creative development of the modern day Las Vegas Strip. After spending 25 years in human resources with Steve Wynn, the casino-resort developer responsible for the Mirage, Treasure Island and the Bellagio, among others, Nathan has been on the cutting edge of innovative hiring in a changing industry. Although much of his career has been spent in hospitality, Nathan’s adaptations of the world’s evolution can, and should, be implemented in the new scene of classified advertising.

“The world has shrunk.” Nathan says. We’re all connected via the Internet; anybody can see everything online. There were over 2 billion people on the Internet last year. That number is increasing by 1.9 persons everyday. Last year there were approximately 110 trillion emails sent and received, and currently there are more than 750 million people on Facebook with over 30 billion posts per month. Last year 2 billion videos were posted to YouTube and people consumed about 35 hours of video every minute. There are 170 million people conforming their communication to just 140 characters on Twitter with about 25 billion tweets posted per day. Are you ready for Twitter and SMS? “No, you’re not ready, you’re still using long sentences.” If you’re not using these social media outlets, you’re not using the Internet, Nathan says.

“Today, the Internet is about commerce.” The new generation is changing the industry because they grew up online. Not only are they trickling into the employment market, but they’re increasingly becoming our advertisers’ targeted audience, meaning they’re our target audience. Gen-Y wants their information, and they want it now. It’s not because they’re greedy or needy, but because they’ve always had instant access. Be instant. Add value for your advertisers by becoming the resource that takes away the barrier between “I want that” and “I have that.” “Don’t give up on the Internet; implement game changers.”

Nathan suggests looking critically at your website, or better yet have your teenager look at the website. Acknowledge that it is lacking, and use them to create a better online environment for newspaper advertising. Are you using photos? How about videos? There were more than 5 billion photos posted online last year. If you’re not doing these things you’re missing the boat on the technology, and it’s time you take your bow out of the industry, according to Nathan.

Hire people that understand technology and realize there is constant evolution in new and multi-media. Implement a game changer! (Have you gotten the message yet?) Disrupt the thinking that you have to hire for experience. Nathan questioned what kind of experience we’re so adamant about hiring? So far, “the experience has led us straight off a plank into shark-filled waters.” Hire the new generation! Find people with the right attitude and customize their training with a plan that exclusively fits your company. “If you’re not willing to rock and roll in business, you won’t be at the dance.”

If you’re not willing to rock and roll in business, you won’t be at the dance.”

Figure out the one aspect of the job that cannot be taught. It’s an innate skill that applicants either have, or they don’t have. Is it that they expect the unexpected? Or maybe they can have a conversation with a “brick wall.” Find ways to test these skills immediately upon interview.

Recognize that the industry has already changed. And it’s continuing to change at an expedient rate. Plan for the change, and communicate your plan. Teach your managers how to communicate the plan, too. They should be able to explain “why” to any aspect of the plan. Better communication leads to great leadership.