Sampling and Free Distribution During a Pandemic

For publishers targeting commuters, the pandemic has presented challenges. The target market, once so helpfully packed together, has scattered to the four winds. Yet, writes Magazine Heroes’ Dan Collins, those people are still out there and still want your title. You just need to find them.

By Dan Collins

Sampling and Free Distribution During a Pandemic

Since the start of the pandemic and the various lockdowns that have come with it, distribution to commuters has had to change. Commuting has slowed down and with that, the footfall that we once saw at commuter hubs has fallen radically. So, if you were a publication or a product that wanted to still reach these customers in a targeted and efficient manner you would need to find your audience who are travelling and working differently.

The important thing to remember is your audience is still out there and probably want your publication, now more than ever. In the current world of digital overload, a traditional, in-your-hand publication that you can curl up on the sofa with can be more than welcome. So, how can you still connect with your audience?

One important factor to comprehend is that the world is different and with a change in footfall and customer behaviour, there will also be a change in costs, so it’s important to really understand your audience to target them effectively. We have seen great success in monitoring audience footfall, understanding the days, the times and habits of audiences. Once you understand new working patterns, you can build up a picture of where your publication needs to be and the best ways to do this.

Brand to Hand is still a thing!

Whether it’s a free newspaper, magazine or just a bottle of water, depending on tier and lockdown rules, it is still possible to give products away and people are still willing to accept them. The industry has evolved and can now quickly run safe sampling activity which can include mobile screens, floor markings, fully branded PPE and distanced displays. Staff are still able to talk about the message of a product just from a safer distance.

Knowing the audience is key – where once activity may have taken place on a busy shopping high street – this same activity may now take place by a supermarket or on a more local shopping street where people working from home may frequent.

Targeted pick up

In areas where your product really needs to be, but yet its either not possible to distribute by hand or it is not cost efficient, then a safer alternative for pick up may be looking at unmanned street furniture that can dispense product and are checked regularly by staff. This may give you the ability to cover a larger area with little contact needed but with regular stock and security checks in place to be reassured of distribution numbers and adequate availability – opportunities also exist for this kind of placement within apartment blocks, offices, hospitals, garden centres, supermarkets and mainline stations. People may be staying at home more – but many people are still walking, cycling and shopping for essentials.

Targeted deliveries

Knowing your audience inside out means that another option for distribution is by targeting deliveries direct to the door. There are various ways to do this, but whatever your method of delivery, selection is key and as a brand, you must work to identify and profile where exactly your publication will be most welcomed and, more importantly, read. Remember the aim is to find your audience and distribute in the most controlled manner possible.

In summary

  • In a pandemic world, when people are out of home attention is shorter than it once was.
  • If you want to sample or distribute effectively, you need to be clear about your target audience. Monitor footfall so when you run an activity, you can find people but you are not in the way.
  • Health and Safety is crucial – all staff should have individual PPE packs.
  • Use and support local businesses as much as possible – there could be new ways to work.
  • Be open to new ideas – this is a new world.
  • Be mindful that people may treat sampling with caution – but follow all rules and guidelines and run a safe distribution campaign.
  • Your readers are still there – they have just relocated their office to home – they still want to feel connected!
...we can be your virtual team...

About us

At Magazine Heroes, we have been running circulation and distribution for Magazines and Newspapers for many years, including during this pandemic. We can help you both in the short and long term. Whatever you need, we can take the stress away; if your team does not have the in-house capacity (no matter how temporary) to manage all or any aspects of the circulation process, we can be your virtual team. Not only can we manage your processes we can distribute publications both paid and free. Magazine Heroes can work within tight timeframes to ensure that your circulation goals are met in a cost-effective manner.

Don’t struggle – get in touch – Let’s work together this year!

Email: info@magazineheroes.com

Tel: (Dan Collins) 07889 985312

Web: www.magazineheroes.com