Nope. This post won’t address the Pay on Scan issue. Nor does it contain specific financial or production advice to the remaining three biggest wholesalers. There is no “10 Point Plan!” demonstrating how our four largest national distributors can remain relevant.
Are these the right steps to fix the business? My nose has been on the grindstone for much of the past four months and these thoughts are what smacked me upside the head yesterday afernoon after reflecting on what passed for a heavily revised and reviewed print order landed in my in-box.
Five Simple Steps To fix the Newsstand Industry:
1. All sales are local.
2. Sell local. Can you learn what sells in that store? If you can’t, why are you messing with that make order? If you don’t know, why are you servicing that store?
3. Promote the category. If publishers, national distributors and wholesalers can’t get together to promote our product, then who will? What reason are we giving readers to go out and “discover” our product?
4. Stop undercutting our own category with cheap subscriptions.
5. Stop whinging about digital. It’s here. Deal with it. Work with it. Learn it.
Upon further review, I’d add the following:
2a. Make the tools to discover what sells in that store readily available and CHEAP to acquire. Most publishers, mainline publishers at least, already give up 60% or more of their cover price to get to that store (Not including promotional dollars). They should be encouraged to understand their distribution and have input into how it is developed. After all, they know their readers. Their customers are the retailers customers.
2b. Make the tools that drive distribution more universal in nature and marketing driven. Everyone involved in distribution should be able, at a quick glance, to know rack size, number of checkouts, store demographics and store volume when they make a distribution decision.
Where’ve I been? Very busy. And there are about 12 transcripts sitting in the edit que waiting to be edited. But for a solo practioner who’s also trying to learn a new facet of the business one can either work or write blog postings. Blogging is important. But I have to admit that paying work and reasonably satisfied customers takes precedent. I hope to be back up to speed with more topics as we move towards the end of the year.
On a related front: I am intrigued with the hints we’ve received from media guru Bob Sacks and fellow consultant Luke Magerko. So far, they’ve revealed some pretty straightforward suggestions that daily practitioners like this writer and many of my colleagues attempt to practice. Hopefully there are more reveals that will hape this industry rethink, in a positive, sales growth oriented manner how we work.
Because who in their right mind wants to work in and manage a declining industry?