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In-store promotions: 5 minutes with… Ben Oakden

To maximise sale and reach beyond their regular readers, magazine publishers need to promote in-store. We grab five minutes with Marketforce’s Ben Oakden to find out how publishers can increase impulse and occasional sales.

By Ben Oakden

In-store promotions: 5 minutes with… Ben Oakden

Q: Why are in-store promotions so important?

A: According to Marketforce data, 40% of all magazine purchases are made on impulse. Promotions are an important part of attracting those customers who are looking for a treat but haven’t quite made their choice yet. And whilst we can still rely on our core customer base to buy regularly, the consumers who make or break our performance are those who are our occasional buyers. Promotions talk to these customers.

Consumer spending is under such pressure at the moment, and promotions are an important way for our customers to feel as though they are getting value for money.

And, from a retailer’s perspective, I think that it makes the category interesting and relevant to the retailers selling our products. News and magazines is one of the only categories that changes every week. Our promotions, when done well, give customers something new every visit which is important when we think about the shopper journey.

Q: What are the key building blocks of a successful promotion?

A: Not leaving any stone unturned – when we run our promotions, we try to make sure that everything is in place. We invest in space for the length of the promotion to bring the title forward.

We also recognise that we can help in store staff with mounting our promotions by adding roundels to the covers – this means that our promotions run from range, as well as promotional space which makes a material difference to performance.

And you need to plan enough copy – even in these times where printing costs are higher than ever, supplying the right number to the right stores is often the difference between success and failure.

Q: How can impulse purchase be maximised?

A: The promotion needs to be focused on the customer. Historically, as an industry, we might have been guilty of putting the shape of our portfolio, or our own convenience first so that we can promote as widely as possible without thinking about how the customer sees the offer. Our most effective promotions tend to be focussed on smaller groups of titles with a really easy to understand offering.

It is really important that we as publishers and distributors make the most of the biggest opportunities out there as they arise. This year, it will be the World Cup, where we should be focused on attracting occasional customers to the category.

Q: What place do magazines have in the current shopper mission?

A: While the current magazine category isn’t as chart-topping as it was in the late noughties, consumers still enjoy buying and reading magazines. Research shows that 46% of the UK adult population read at least one magazine a month, with some reading up to nine, proving magazines still have a huge role to play in the shopper’s mission.

Magazines are quick to react to emerging trends, hobbies and niche subjects and shoppers rely on our category to delve into their passions. Magazines are also a good starting point for children’s education. Children’s magazines encourage kids to enhance their reading and writing skills and introduce imaginative play.

Consumers look to magazines for passion and purpose. Magazines are the most trusted news source with 80% of readers confirming that they trust the content magazines produce. Magazines eliminate the ‘fake news’ that is often associated with online media – this is why magazines are so important for consumers.

Q: When one-off opportunities present themselves, how can publishers make sure they don't miss the boat?

A: Our best results on one-off opportunities come when we work closely with retailers. They are as keen as publishers are to make the most of any opportunities that present themselves. Once they are on board, securing the space to reach people who might not be browsing the category regularly is paramount. And then at the risk of repeating myself, making sure that the supply is available for people to buy. Whilst the cost of copy is growing, it remains our most effective marketing tool.

Also, we have seen good results by communicating to customers via other channels. Perhaps people who consume the brands via social are not regular print consumers, but are willing to enter the market on special occasions – but we need to tell them about it.

Q: What’s in the pipeline at Marketforce?

A: Our publishers are looking for us to both drive sales and help them improve their efficiencies. To that end, a big focus of ours is the development of our next generation allocation system which will see us take more control of the supplies of our products to retailers. As I have mentioned, the most effective way for us to drive sales is to have the right products, in the right places at the right times and this system, with the support of wholesalers and retailers, will enable us to do just that.

Oh, and the World Cup – don’t forget to start your World Cup sticker collection!

About us

With more than 30 years of experience, Marketforce leads the way in global sales, marketing and distribution for a wide range of publishing and media businesses. Owned by Future PLC, we are backed by one of Europe’s largest and fastest-growing media companies.

We are the #1 independent publisher newsstand distributor. Distribution is our core service, but our focus is also on helping publishers build their businesses through adding value. We aid product development, help determine optimal pricing and deliver customer marketing for brands that grows sales. If you would like to hear why more publishers are choosing Marketforce, call us for a chat about getting the distribution you need.



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