A Campaign that revived The Guardian’s revenues


Marketing for a sustainable future for The Guardian- was a three-year turnaround strategy, with the ultimate aim of turning the paper’s fortunes around and securing its sustainability.

The plan transformed the troubled newspaper, which just three years prior was showing some £80 M in operating losses, into a sustainable, reader-driven, global digital media business.



  • Though the brand has fairly loyal readers but getting more of them to commit to financial support was a challenge
  • Framing the different ways to support the brand in the most compelling way for different target audience groups, while also maintaining a consistent brand tone (and keeping check on budget constraints) was another constant concern


The plan centered around four key areas:

  • Launching new integrated marketing campaigns
  • Sustaining The Guardian’s products
  • Building insight-led retention and customer experience plans
  • Extracting more value from first-party data and delivering purpose messaging in all communications

Retaining and sustaining the support built up over the previous years was the key. The idea was to do more, with less. The marketing campaign focused strongly on brand purpose, planning and products.



  • The team worked across multiple products, channels and territories to drive the highest level of revenue direct from readers on record
  • The brand knew that both readers and advertisers valued The Guardian’s editorial principles and thus this knowledge was leveraged to protect the paper
  • Guardian Jobs was repositioned establishing identity in both B2B and B2C communications.
  • New data and insight-led approach bought significant wins in retaining and developing subscriber and supporter bases
  • In-life programmed and integrated customer management systems were designed around churn points
  • Detailed forecasting approach was used which allowed better revenue management



Readers’ support for the brand foregrounded through all of the team’s work, stands as a valuable part of the values and sensibilities that the Guardian stands for.



  • A redesigned app was launched, the Guardian weekly magazine was given a face lift and a new daily podcast was introduced.
  • A digital subscriptions campaign promoted new features in the mobile app and digital pack.


The campaign was a success as it drove subscriptions, creating deep and sustaining relationships with readers. Critical to this success was a growth in revenue- profits of £223 M were the highest for the Guardian for a decade.



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