By Frank J. Rich
Encouraged by a former editor of North County News to write a column in it, ROI marks an eight-year milestone, having begun under the heading of “Just Thinking.” The business of doing business, the purpose in the column that delivers ideas to small business for their consideration in growing market success, ROI has now delivered more than 500 articles on a wide range of business principles and practices and the behavioral science that informs them. The column has won awards, but, more importantly, the gratitude and appreciation of countless readers who found in its pages the tools to carve out market success.
Perhaps, most apparent these past eight years was the vehicle that delivered ROI to as many as 900,000 readers weekly. Not coincidentally, the free community paper that gave life to ROI is one among more than 4600 that weekly arrive at the homes and businesses of more than 100 million. Uniquely, the simple purpose for the majority of them is to serve communities throughout America in an effort to grow commerce, the essential ingredient to growing communities, and which is most responsible for the growth of communities in the Hudson Valley in the past half century. The $4 billion industry has been so successful, with more than twice the circulation of all dailies combined, that growth of the “free community paper” is robust, bucking the trending decline of regional and national dailies and magazines with a 20-year readership record that has remained at a constant 80 percent. And they employ tens of thousands across the land.
The venerable Yorktown PennySaver, even after 54 years of service to Westchester, Putnam, Dutchess, and Fairfield counties, continues to deliver customers to thousands of businesses weekly; among them Wallauer Paints, Atlantic Appliance, Suburban Liquors, Dodd’s Wine Shop, Frankie’s Superette, and so many more for nearly as long the PennySaver has been published.
It’s a simple model: the PennySaver is delivered to every home and business – full saturation mailing – and is read by 77 percent of that audience, 82 percent of which buy goods and services from its advertisers, both display and classified. By this math alone a shopper is uniquely endowed to deliver target audiences without fail. Independent audits of the PennySaver prove it. All that is required of the advertiser is the simple science in advertising – frequency, reach, and a good offer. The shopper does the rest, as it has since the first of their kind put ink to paper some 230 years ago. Use this simple equation and your local shopper will deliver any audience that lives within its distribution area. And while delivery and readership are the keys to success, no other publication, card pack, mailer, or local newspaper can show the audited circulation and readership of The PennySaver across the Hudson Valley..
Increasingly, readers are looking to their local free paper for products and services that make necessities and conveniences a quick read of its many ads – both display and classified. And though print remains the predominant medium in delivering buyers to sellers, driving 52 percent to the products and services of their choice, today’s marketplace counts roughly a dozen media channels through which customers find the goods they seek.
Presently, 74 percent of all product purchases are preceded by a web search, turning this media channel from its tiny retail sales conversion rate of 9 percent to the powerful influence of 16-18 percent, and ultimately delivering an average of more than 16.5 percent more dollars to the purchase when buyers find your store. Add print, social media, email marketing, mobile marketing, web tools such as SEO, SEM and QR Codes, broadcast, billboard, direct mail, out-of-home networks, and word-of-mouth channels to a media mix that compels retailers to greater participation with their target audiences than ever before. To forsake any of these media channels in your promotional plan is to walk away from the audience that finds these media the most effective ways to locate your products and services. The parent company of PennySaver, Chase Media Group, offers all of these media channels and the tools to deliver their users.
If there were ever a time to employ the PennySaver, perhaps overlooked for its common place on your mail table or retail counter, and which speaks to your customers, it is now when consumers have learned to spend more wisely, even when our governments have not. America is made of Americans, and not “Govern-mans.” And shoppers are the people’s choice.
Myth: Only poor people read free papers. Fact: Free Paper readers are middle and upper middle class Americans. Clearly advertising in free papers is good business!