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Marketing Excellence
Pat Royal
Classified Ad Director
The Miami Herald

When Pat Royal wanted to encourage her 14-year-old foster daughter to read, she bought her a book – an audio version downloaded to the teen’s iPod.

The story illustrates one of the characteristics that makes Royal a success as classified advertising director of The Miami Herald: Winning over a tough customer – or a tough market – means knowing how to use all the means at your disposal.

Although Royal loves books – the paper-and-ink kind – that didn’t keep her from using new technology to turn a new generation on to literature. Similarly, her long record of success in print advertising didn’t blind her to the potential of online classifieds.

“When I first started in this business in the early ’80s, if you knew your rate card and knew your demographic, you were OK,” Royal said. “But it’s not enough to just know about newspapers anymore. Things that work today aren’t going to work tomorrow.”

Royal credits a yearlong fellowship from the New Media Federation in 1997-98 with helping her see the potential of the Internet for newspapers. “I got immersed in new media and learned that the Internet wasn’t just a tool for college kids or geeks,” she said. “I surfed the Web and saw how easy it was to shop online and how easy it was to look for jobs online. I realized that our advertisers would discover this tool, and we want them to use us, not Monster.com.”

Royal returned to The Herald and put what she learned into practice. She led the effort to make The Herald the first Knight Ridder paper to launch online ad ordering. Her real estate print-and-online packages resulted in The Herald’s “best practice” designation in online sales performance in 2004. That same year, she guided The Herald to the largest dollar revenue growth in Knight Ridder, a trend that continues into 2005.

In addition, Royal shares her knowledge with others, serving on task forces and boards for Knight Ridder and the newspaper industry. She is passionate about training employees for success and has spearheaded efforts across Knight Ridder markets to teach sales staffs how to use online tools.

These days, Royal can do a lot of her research at home: With five foster and adopted children at home (in addition to four young adults who are already out on their own), she knows plenty about how the world is changing. “Having teen-agers either kills you or keeps you young,” she said with a laugh. “I’m trying to stay young.”

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