Another Advertising Media Goes Away
For years, when I have talked about how advertising media has changed, I have told people that if they want to learn how to sell, they should get a job hawking ad space for a direct mail weekly shopper called the PennySaver. The shopper had classified ads for garage sales, private party used cars, rental homes and various services as its editorial copy. That copy filled in the spaces round display ads for local restaurants, furtniture stores and dentists. A business could also stuff a flyer inside the 8×10″ newsprint book and have them delivered right into every local mailbox in a geographic area. In other words, every column inch of the thing brought in revenue. The profits margin were huge.
With that in mind, imagine my surprise when I read that the Southern California version of the product had suddenly, without warning, closed its doors. According to the new CEO, installed in February, the publication was “forced to shut down after its lender unexpectedly ceased our funding.”
Working for that kind of company selling that kind of product puts a salesperson into a two zip code area, seeing the same retail business owners every week, sharing with them the benefits of having their message delivered directly into the mailboxes of their neighbors. Not every business WANTS that kind of demographic coverage, but retail businesses almost certainly do. The challenge is that most small, one-location retail business owners are consistently underfunded in the marketing department, so you had better be incredible at describing the benefits of your product and have lots of testimoinals to back them up.
It is also an inexpensive way to send direct mail out to a geographic area where you want to do business. According to their website, the PennySaver was delivered to 11 million people weekly, though that includes a “pass along” equation of about 2.5 per household which I never believed and did not use.
As the PennySaver tries to regroup, we will see if it does come back as a printed version. It seems like that business model should still work, unlike an age old competitor, the Yellow Pages books, which have all but disappeared. If someone wants a plumber, they look them up on line, but the PennySaver offers discounts and specials – more active advertising, which gives it extra value to its readers. The YP model has attempted to morph into an on-line version but there really is no reason to go to a directory website when you can just type what you want in to a browser. The PS model, if they are willing to spend enough money to promote it, could serve as (yet another) place on the internet to go for coupons. My guess is that they will want to go the APP route. But will people really PAY to be on it? If I am having a garage sale, I can put it on Craig's List for free.
If you are an old PennySaver advertiser that wants to put that budgeted money to better use, or if you want to talk about doing direct mail advertising the right way, give us a call at (800)705-HANK (4265).