Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Eliminating Newspapers Doesn't Work

It didn't last long.

After only two months, a major grocery chain is back inserting its weekly specials into area newspapers and shopper publications. The chain had pulled the inserts at the beginning of the year. I am purposely leaving out the name of the chain because it really doesn't matter.

What does matter is that a lesson can be learned for all retailers and businesses who want to attract shoppers to their establishments. The power of print advertising is still the impetus to bringing in customers. 

The return of the insert is not only good news for our newspaper, but good for the grocer, because local families look to our local publications for the weekly grocery specials.

It seems that a new marketing plan called for nixing the print inserts. During this short stint, the top management elected to utilize direct mail, TV commercials and social media. But it didn’t seem to catch on. 

From what we’ve been able to learn, the grocer’s reasoning was the company could save money by controlling duplication of delivery where one paper overlaps another. There also likely was concern about what some think that the number of newspaper readers is falling across the country. 

While the younger generation may rely on electronic media or social media for their information, it’s still important to note that the local newspaper still publishes the racing results at the area speedway and photographs of kids heading out to gather eggs in the local Easter Egg Hunt. 

Newspaper industry surveys are reporting the 30-year-olds and older demographic is growing for community newspapers. 

The mantra over the past few years has been newspapers are failing and readership numbers are plummeting. While that may be true with some of the daily newspapers around the country, it’s definitely not the case with local newspapers like the one you are currently reading. Granted, we lose some readers here and there, but by and large our numbers remain pretty consistent. 

What’s the recipe to keeping readers engaged in their community newspaper?

There are actually many ingredients. In our case, we’re a county-wide newspaper that brings in a large weekly package of news and feature sections, strong area sports coverage, and great photographs of community events. 

We love to spoil our readers with exceptional hometown news. 

Certainly we have no animosity to the grocery retailer for testing our new marketing concepts. We’re just so thrilled that the chain figured out sooner rather than later that digital media isn’t the only way to advertise. It takes a healthy balance of both digital and print to get the job accomplished. 

In the ever-changing electronic world, newspaper advertising is still relevant. Readers still want to carry out the tradition of sprawling the grocery ads on their living room sofas or kitchen tables to see what they want to eat throughout the week. 

It’s exciting to have the grocery circulars back in the newspaper. We know we’re not the only ones sharing in that excitement. The return of the inserts is evidence that print advertising is just as important as it was 30 or 40 years ago. 

And judging by our communities and what we hear on a regular basis, reading the local newspaper is high on the priority list of many people. 

We hope to continue that momentum for years to come as we continue going in hot pursuit of publishing a product that people can’t wait to get their hands on. 

 

See full story in this week’s print edition or subscribe online. Please subscribe here or current subscribers can login here.

Steele County Times & DCI

Steele County Times
507-583-4431
411 E. Main St.
P.O. Box 247
Blooming Prairie, MN 55917

Dodge County Independent
507-634-7503
121 West Main St.
Kasson, MN 55944

Dodge County Printing
507-634-2661
121 West Main St.
Kasson, MN 55944

 

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