As a distributor of many – seasonal products, we are often tasked with the following challenge of publisher giving us a fixed number of copies to cover a specific time frame (3 to 6 months typically). The goal is releasing the product through the season and to have as little waste as possible as the season comes to close but not to lose coverage, all within a publishers in budget.
It is a challenge we know and understand well.
Here are a few steps you can take for 2017 and beyond to get the proper coverage inside the budget you can afford:
Plan with someone who has a plan and actual knowledge of how magazines and specifically your type of magazines/publications move– I call it “the real vs the imagined.” This can be a staff member or distributor. Be careful of “distribution perception” it is something that can lead to allot of waste, experience and knowledge is power. Locations vary widely on what they actually move.
Plan the release of the delivery with the right quantities. Too fast too soon and you will be left with the dilemma of losing exposure at the end of high season and shoulder seasons. Too little a release will leave you with too many copies at the end of the season and a very expensive recycling project. If you have enough knowledge of the locations, you can then plan the necessary trips to the location with the right quantities to give you presences there throughout the season. I grade locations 1-5 based on service needs.
The Right “REAL” locations are important – get real locations that you will have a presence in. Products stuffed into a corner, on top of each other and ones that are left and removed by the changing staff will not get you what you need. Being aware of the differences in locations is important, and again this is what I call “the real vs imagined” it is important to your advertisers and businesses success. I can’t tell you how many lists I have seen from clients with stops that are not real locations, real distribution from a trusted source is vital to your business.
More is less – there are always several locations in every area the large majority of the people have to go too. For instances a Grocery Store, Large Hotel/Resort with Amenities or for Boaters it could be a West Marine. For a Golfer it could be Cape and Island Golf, Tourist Travel Stops and so on . . . being “everywhere” isn’t necessary if you have the key locations in place because locals, tourists, day trippers, people passing through will find you if you have these key spots and the quality of pick up will serve your product and advertisers well. These types of locations may allow you to more effectively use your print, and control your distribution expense.
Leverage some relationships – if you have advertisers it is not a bad idea to ask them if you can display the magazine. Give them a nice rack and if it is a new location for free publications ask them to give you feed back for their needs for service. Some unique spots can occasionally lead to a better than expected pick up and a lifelong advertising customer.
If you are not using a professional distribution company with racks and holders they should be on your list of things to acquire. There is no proper way to distribute materials without them.
In market vs out of market – The main issue is what fits your budget and the goal of your publication or product. If it is a regional driver then out of market is important to drive would be travelers or consumers. If the magazine is more area focused with events, attractions, and things to do, then stay as close to your area as possible.
In a perfect world the last copy walks out the door when the new ones arrive. If you don’t have this in place I would be happy to talk to you about how this proper planning has benefited our clients. We have given them a true understanding of what they are getting, how we will distribute the products and we have a full understanding of the release of magazines so there is limited if any waste.
Our goal is always to aim for less than 10% field waste and zero warehouse waste. If you need help planning this year or future distributions give us a call for a free consultation!