Innovative Advertising Solutions Blog

Innovative Advertising Solutions

Toronto Star creates “Integrated Solutions” team to lead innovation

20 February 2013 · By Tami Coughlan

Knowing that innovation starts by pushing boundaries, The Toronto Star created a think tank of cross-functional professionals in 2012 to deliver cutting-edge programmes for advertisers.

Innovation starts with people who push boundaries and challenge the status quo.

Within The Toronto Star advertising department, there is a newly created team of innovators. This team is aptly named the “Integrated Solutions” team and is designed to work across the organisation and collaboratively with clients to deliver effective, cutting-edge programmes for advertisers.

Over the past year, The Toronto Star has gathered multi-disciplinary professionals with backgrounds in sales, marketing, promotions, journalism, media planning, digital strategy, and product development to provide a strong foundation for the team.

Carolyn Sadler (director for integrated solutions and business development) spoke at last week’s INMA/NAA Innovative Advertising Seminar and provided some insights as to how the team functions and deals with the new reality of requests for proposals (due NOW) and the industry-wide quest for new, never-been-done-before programmes to “wow” readers and advertisers alike.

While the team at The Star is relatively new, this concept is not.

Many media companies have created similar groups to streamline integration of brands and platforms within their portfolios. The Integrated Solutions team has evolved significantly from where it started and has had its fair share of challenges, but also some value learning:

  • Be flexible: Not all clients are ready for a multi-touchpoint, solutions-based approach, especially across multiple brands. It’s important to understand target audiences and be flexible in the recommended approach and investment.

  • Adapt: You don’t know what you don’t know … until you do. It’s critical to continue to evolve processes and offers to maximise the revenue opportunity. 

  • Be collaborative: Don’t operate in isolation. Identify and develop relationships with key stakeholders across the organisation (sales, content/editorial, consumer marketing, etc.) to ensure support for the team and their efforts.

  • Be honest:  Have open discussions and admit mistakes. Earn the trust of the marketplace, including colleagues, third-party providers, agencies, and marketers.

  • Keep learning: Stay current with product evolution within the company portfolio as well as new media developments around the globe. Be familiar with options available to your clients and how they affect your business.

  • Keep your sense of humour: Inevitably when you set out to do something differently, you will encounter obstacles, criticism, and opinions, and have a few missteps along the way. Take it in stride and push forward.

The Solutions team was able to do exciting work in 2012 with existing key accounts, lapsed advertisers, and a host of brand-new, non-traditional advertisers. Sales teams see the value in The Star’s very own, built-in “think tank” of cross-functional professionals that are ready to help create custom solutions for their clients.

The Solutions team will at times experience challenges and setbacks, but the momentum is encouraging. The outlook is very bright for 2013!

print article send to friend

blog comments powered by Disqus
About this blog

The Innovative Advertising Solutions Blog looks at not only integrated advertising sales for newsmedia companies but the full spectrum of agency-level marketing solutions for advertisers: print, digital, package, and event sales; social media marketing services on behalf of advertisers; and behavioural targeting across a range of digital products.

Meet the bloggers

Adam Burnham
Senior Vice President, Interactive Sales and Services
Affinity Express
Elgin, Illinois, USA
send message

Brooke Christofferson
Vice President of Client Strategy
Phoenix, Arizona, USA
send message

Philippe Guay
Executive Vice President, Strategic Partnerships
New York, New York, USA
send message

Darrell Kunken
Director of Research/Market Analysis
The Sacramento Bee
Sacramento, California, USA
send message

Wayne Morgan
Digital Director
Norwich, United Kingdom
send message



Blog archives

November 2015 ( 4 )
October 2015 ( 2 )
September 2015 ( 3 )
August 2015 ( 3 )
July 2015 ( 2 )
June 2015 ( 2 )
May 2015 ( 3 )
April 2015 ( 4 )
March 2015 ( 4 )
February 2015 ( 3 )
January 2015 ( 2 )
December 2014 ( 3 )
November 2014 ( 3 )
October 2014 ( 2 )
September 2014 ( 3 )
August 2014 ( 2 )
July 2014 ( 4 )
June 2014 ( 2 )
May 2014 ( 3 )
April 2014 ( 2 )

Join INMA Today
Upcoming Events
INMA Global Media Awards
Dallas, United States
29 January 2016
INMA Mobile Summit
San Francisco, United States
10-11 March 2016
INMA Ideas Day on Advertising
Frankfurt, Germany
11 March 2016
Big Data for Media Week
New York, United States
11-15 April 2016
INMA World Congress
London, United Kingdom
22-24 May 2016
INMA European News Media Conference
Nice, France
14-17 September 2016
INMA Latin American News Media Conference
Panama City, Panama
22-23 September 2016

More Events

Member Profiles

  • Mi-Ai Parrish
    United States

  • Vinod Srivastava

  • David Lerchbacher
    United States

  • Anthony Rice
    New Zealand

  • Paulina Holm

  • Dominic McClements

©2015 INMA | Home | About | Contact | RSS | Privacy