Newspapers are having a rough go of it and are trying different business models to keep and attract readers. One of the key success factors for newspapers going forward will be seamlessly meeting their customers where they are. Take a couple of major newspapers for example, The Washington Post and the New York Times.

Each paper has unfortunately identified the wrong value proposition. The news–uniquely compelling content–is where the value lies and is the primary reason their customers consume news from them instead of another outlet.

They each charge based on where or how the content is read rather than the content itself. They tell their customers value lies in the app, or the device upon which the news is read. This is undoubtedly research-driven, but it’s a short-term fix for a long-term problem.

The better way to realize the value is to make the accompanying app/device combination simply a customer-centric extension of what their web sites used to provide in a desktop- or laptop-only world. Pay for the content, not the delivery method, in other words.

Are you identifying the right thing of value to your customers, or are you putting up smoke and mirrors, pretending you’re doing your customers a favor by meeting them where they are? Customers want to be able to easily and fully engage with you via your web site, your app, on the phone, in person, and of course via social media. To them, you’re one brand, and each touch point with your organization reinforces their perception of that brand. Will you make it a harmonious and consistently positive one, or will you give them yet another excuse to jump to a competitor?

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