Customer Experience Audit: New York Times Beats Google
Editor’s Note: This post is part of a series of Customer Experience Audits. In this series we walk you through customer experience examples across industries. We feature brands that made strategic investments in their customer experience and brands that have missed the mark. We often get asked the question what is customer experience. With this series we are hoping to elevate the concept of customer experience to strategy. See all audits.
The newspaper industry is one of the most disrupted in the past decade. Newspapers have always had a certain sophistication, history, and nostalgia associated with them. This makes it particularly hard to observe their disappearance. Of the newspaper industry’s most recognizable brands, the New York Times is one that brings an additional layer of style that makes so many of us never want to let go.
At the same time, even I, a New York Times devotee, have to admit that my interaction with the famous brand has changed. Ten years ago, I subscribed to the New York Times print edition. Today, on the other hand, I am a digital subscriber. Although I love the idea of the newspaper, even I stopped buying it. Although I married a man who reads the New York Times (it was one of the requirements), I am not reading the digital subscription nearly as often as I used to read the paper itself.
Because of my personal affinity with the paper, I was even more happy to read that the Times’ overall digital business is growing faster than Google. And that the annual growth of new online subscriptions is averaging 46% since 2011.
Now that is a noteworthy shift. Very few “old school” or “traditional” businesses have executed a shift like this.
How was the Times able to do it? By being bold and building a strategy in 2015 that they are executing flawlessly today. The Times did not wait to fade into oblivion before choosing to re-channel itself. Since April 24th, 2017, the news outlet added a millennial channel to its portfolio by joining Discover on Snapchat. This shift is arguably the most digital signaling a news brand can give to tell its customers, “I am where you are. I have not changed my core value proposition of reliable, credible news delivery. I have adapted to the times (no pun intended) and am doing it in a different way.”
For a brand to do what The New York Times is doing, it needs courageous leaders. It needs leaders who are able to know exactly what they are selling. Further, those leaders must be able to recognize that their customer has changed. The New York Times has earned its position in our CX Bold Moves Series for doing all of this without having an identity crisis.
We see brands in such crisis every day. They are holding onto the image of their past customer. Or they are so afraid of change that they say they are investing in a digital transformation, but all they do is hire a Digital Transformation Director without providing support infrastructure around the role.
46% average annual growth only happens when an organization is focused on that goal and when they allocate leadership and funding appropriately. The New York Times clearly has that focus and courage. Do you?
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