Here is an article that just might perk up your afternoon.
It got picked up from Mr. Magazine’s (Dr. Samir Husni) Twitter feed this afternoon. The article is from a convenience store news website, CSPnet.com and tells the story of a Boston 7/11 franchisee and the success he has with a 20 foot (yes, that’s correct, twenty feet) mainline magazine rack. Why does he have this success? He pays attention to his customers and he has a distribution clerk who also pays attention.
As I often point out in this blog, this is not a paean to the love of print or a rallying cry to Luddites everywhere to begin smashing iPads (mine is well padded). There is no denying the shift that is happening in reading habits, technological advances and demographic patterns.
But the big issue in newsstand distribution has been, and continues to be, the poor job we do in getting our product to market, merchandising it, marketing it, and calling attention to it. Oh, we’ve got all the basics down OK. Heck, we’ve been doing essentially the same thing since the 1960’s. But we can’t seem to coordinate, upsell or get our mixes right. And I can say that because I just spent an afternoon looking at a regional magazine’s distribution and wondered how I, a national distributor, and four different magazine wholesalers could have missed the gaping holes in this particular title. Could it be we’re all looking somewhere else?
What is worse, whenever we as an industry fail, instead of learning from our mistakes, we continue to make the same ones, all the while apologizing for those mistakes and helping the retailer to cut back on display space.
As an industry we really need to look up from our spreadsheets. At our conferences we need to stop talking about “best practices” while huddling in corners and offering discounts to continue with the same old practices. We need to build a better business model. We need to talk up our story as an industry instead of looking down at our feet, apologizing and cutting costs and cutting space. If we could do that, this would be a different kind of industry.
Click on the link below and see if you don’t crack a smile: