Thursday, April 9, 2009

Commercial Print Sales Can also Sell Print/Web Newspapers Ads to SMB

If an OEM finds a VAR that can talk to the OPM that is a "newspaper," and shows them how to outsource selling ads to SMB in versioned, microzoned or hyperlocal print editions, it could be win-win-win.

Newspapers win with new revenue streams at low cost.
Vendors win by selling the equipment/services so that newspapers and commercial print wins.
Commercial print sales win by unlocking true multi channel marketing for SMB. Barb Pellow has a neat piece about marketing for SMB over at WTT.

Triple wins usually pass the "why wouldn't I do that?" test.

A value chain economy obscures the fact that only the end user puts new money into the network. The vendor seems to make money by selling stuff into a channel. The channel seems to make money by selling to a retailer. The retailer brings the new money by selling to the end user.

As asymmetric information disappears the real state of affairs becomes much more clear. "vendor", "channel" and "retailer" are seen as what they really are, OEMs, VARs and OPMs -original product manufacturers. The very expensive and slow to respond value chain morphs into a much less expensive, fast to respond user network.

Most "vendors" are mostly VARs. Some have engineering DNA. A strong "Brand" in the States usually means VAR DNA. In other parts of the world it's different.

Vendors find, and sometimes invent, the best technology and incorporate it into a tool (technology) to make products. The tool has a service component and an equipment component. As the margins on the equipment component go down, services that make using the tool easier become both the differentiator and a recurring revenue stream.

The purpose of a tool is to make a product. Products bring the money into the network.

Printing brokers, PSD and MPS are VAR's. PSPs are sometimes VARs. They find the best technology and incorporate them into a specific service/equipment offering they can sell. If the tool does the job better than other accessible tools and there is a common agreement on what "better" means, the sell is pretty easy.

Design studios and advertising agencies are VAR's. They find the best ideas and incorporate it into specific tools that communicate a message.

The overwhelming majority of PSP's are OPMs - original product manufacturers. They will buy any tool that has a clear path to make a product they know will sell at a profit. The DNA of PSPs is OPM. Some PSP's are also VARs. But not very many. That's why "consultative sales" and "market solution providers" does not scale.

The complicated part is the VARs/OEMs/OPMs are fluid categories. Is Staples or Alphagraphics a VAR or an OPM? They produce print products (OPM). But they also gather other people's products in their stores -web+bricks and mortar - to create a "tool" for SMB and enterprise to easily get other people's products(VAR).

Is Amazon a VAR or an OPM or an OEM? They gather every product they can and create a "tool" for shopping. But they also have a book POD fucntionality. (OPM) . They also are selling computer time. (OEM)

Back to newspapers and HP, Oce and Kodak
So, the issue is to get a VAR on the radar of the OPM that is a newspaper. The VAR could be vendor, a PSP, an MPS, a PSD, or an Advertising Agency. Usually the easiest sell is to the advertising agency. That's where "mine" magazine for Lexus, Time Inc and Amex Publishing happened.

Outsourcing Ad Sales
From this week's column at
MediaShift . MediaBids Could Help Solve Ad Sales Process for Hyper-Local Pubs.
In a recent post, I argued that the problem facing newspapers today has nothing to do with the notion that news-on-paper is not viable -- instead the problem is a broken advertising sales process. Since then I've discovered MediaBids, which seems to have a good idea for how to fix that problem.

"Me: I would like to test an idea that I've been floating to see if you think it might make sense. Get feet on the ground to sell local ads to local business by partnering with commercial print salespeople and retail stores. The idea is local businesses are not yet 'advertisers,' so the idea is to create a new group of buyers in the advertising/marketing market. Since 'copy shops,' Big Box stores like Staples, commercial print salespeople and local advertising creatives all need to help small business make the transition to effective marketing, it seems a natural step."

Lampron: We think that you're absolutely right on -- it would make complete sense to utilize commercial print salespeople to sell ads to local businesses. As a first point of interaction for many new businesses, they could certainly guide them in the right direction when it comes to their print advertising. We currently have an affiliate program in the works that is not live on the site yet, but will essentially compensate affiliates for advertiser/publication referrals or ad sales.


Jessica Lampron

There is no doubt that the best way to sell local ads to local businesses is by putting people on the street to do the selling.

In a best case scenario, a salesperson is effective because he or she is able to understand the needs of the advertiser and tailor the advertising being offered to maximize effectiveness. In your question above you suggest that advertisers don't have the focus to be able to truly understand why the advertising being offered to them is so important. We agree with this premise, however, differ slightly in a arriving at a solution.

Too often sales is not about offering advice or information, it is about building a relationship. And too often a relationship does not mean that an advertiser is getting good advice. Many local advertisers are turned off to print and other mediums because they have taken the advice offered to them by salespeople. So rather than buying into logical advertising concepts like testing and tracking, advertisers buy ads with unrealistic expectations of their success. This is a quick win for the salesperson but a long term loss for the advertiser and the industry.


  1. Hmm Good work. can you please see
    ? It has some latest advertising news and I've tried to keep it updated.
    Please send me your comments.

  2. I took a quick look and added my two cents. I plan to visit again.

  3. I looked a bit more. The post about Google investing in ad sense for pictures was the first time I've seen that. Thanks. The ROT, return on time for the visit, was quite good.