Q&A with Metro MD Linda Grant

Metro

Managing director of free newspaper Metro Linda Grant is a former marketer for Capital Radio and Associated Newspapers and most recently commercial development director at MailLife. The Metro brand is now extending across multiple channels.

MW: What is the Metro positioning?

Linda Grant: “Metro is more than a newspaper – it’s ingrained in people’s daily habits and rituals. It’s deeply connected with living in the metropolis and getting the most out of the city. There’s a degree of emotional connection that goes beyond what a functional product delivers. it’s also a brand that’s embedded with the daily commute along with things like the Oyster card or picking up a Starbucks or a Pret on the way to work.”

MW: How valuable is data to the business?

LG: “We are in a world where everything is about data. Metro has the ability to forge a community built on such data – we can have a level of understanding we could only have dreamt of 12 years ago when we launched. A&N Media has a single customer view for 28 million people derived from sources across the group, such as Jobsite, MailLife etc. and we can run the Metro customer data run through the SCV database to extract greater granularity and build on that.”

MW: Where do you see revenue opportunities?

LG: “Metro derives almost 100% of its advertising from ad revenues; yet we have a brand that is highly engaged with consumers so how do we commercialise that relationship direct to consumers? One example is the upcoming EcoVelocity exhibition in September. A lot of car manufacturers have been briefing in their eco-car launches and that stimulated us to have the idea of doing the show – the clients saw that Metro is the right place to talk about eco-cars because it delivers the right audience.”

MW: What insights from your time at MailLife are informing your decisions?

LG: “If you are going to sell stuff to consumers you’d better be damn sure you know your consumers. I’m a marketer in my heart and am always going to do things from a customer-centric perspective.”

MW: What’s the key consumer trend of note?

LG: “It’s the adoption of mobile and not just from a faddy perspective. The involvement of our main demographic with mobile phones and tablets is higher than the norm. It’s a mobile first strategy – and I don’t just mean phone and app; our audience itself is highly mobile.”

MW: How does the print product fit into such a fast-changing world?

LG: “Metro is unique from other print products because it’s frictionless to access. The whole point of it being free is about ease and convenience as much as anything else. We make it as seamless as possible for our target audience to access and, because of the attractiveness of the product, they actively choose to pick up and consume. Our print experience is 100% designed to be consumed on the move and still offers benefits that phones do not.”

MW: What are you working on right now?

LG: “Metro is in an incredibly strong place even in these economically challenged times. There’s no immediate hurry to quickly come up with some short term tactical initiative and DMGT is willing to invest in the long-term. We’re currently looking at our long term vision and strategy, plus working on developing a digital expansion strategy. Alongside that, we’re revisiting our brand values to see what might need redefining or refreshing since we first launched. There’ll be more to say later in the year on these subjects.”

MW: What are advertising clients looking for from Metro?

LG: “They are looking for effectiveness and they also want to do creative, engaging things.”

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