As USA Today looks toward its future, a number of issues must be considered. Toward this end, the latter half of the case is written in the form of a situation analysis. Students should be encouraged to update this information as much as possible, and then conduct a comprehensive SWOT analysis for USA Today. After this is completed, students could use this case to develop a marketing strategy for maintaining the company’s dominance in national news. Perhaps the most important issue to consider is the role of the printed paper in a future that is likely to be dominated by wireless news delivery. The inevitable questions about the death of newspapers will come up in the discussion. When this occurs, encourage students to explain their assumptions about the consumption of news in the future. At least 75 percent of the class will predict the demise of printed newspapers. However, the remaining 25 percent is usually quite dogmatic in their belief that printed news is here to stay.
The case also gives students an excellent chance to think not only about promotion, sales, and product development, but also the connection between these marketing elements and bottom-line profitability. Students should have no trouble discussing USA Today’s competition and the implications for USA Today’s marketing strategy. The case can also be related to a discussion of competitive growth strategies and the ways that Gannett implemented these strategies during the introduction and growth of USA Today.
1. What opportunities in the marketing environment did Gannett seize in launching USA Today? How did the company learn about and respond to these opportunities? Answer these same questions for USAToday.com.
2. How has a continuous strategy of marketing innovation proved successful for USA Today and USAToday.com? Do you believe that USA Today is well positioned for the future? Explain.
3. What are the SWOT implications for USA Today as it looks toward its future? What strengths and opportunities can USA Today leverage as it looks for a competitive advantage in the distribution of news and information?
4. Based on USA Today’s experiences with print and online news, evaluate the long-term potential of printed news and the newspaper publishing industry. Do you believe printed newspapers will continue to survive despite digital competition?