Dear MxM by Jaisurya Das: RIP, the newspaper salesman. Over 50% revenue is walk-in!

07 Aug,2015

By Jaisurya Das

 

Good Morning and Welcome to a fresh edition of Dear MxM!

 

It is with profound grief that I announce today that: The Salesman is Dead.

 

It’s unfortunate but true.  Brand success has killed the Salesman. It’s hard to believe and obviously tougher to confess. Over 50% of all advertising revenue earned by market leaders across major print media markets in India walks in by default! Hold your breath, this isn’t all.

 

Then there is the organic growth component which invariably accounts for another 8 -15% growth.

 

Then comes the hardsell component, that is, Events and Activations, Special Features, Advertorials, Column Sponsorships et al. It may be noted that this 15-25% + is managed in most companies by a dedicated, exclusive team.

 

The rest is elementary maths. The enormous sales force is responsible for 25-30% revenue. Hence it’s fairly simple to sit back, use MS-Office tactfully and feature in the top performers’ bracket . Simple isn’t it?

  • Let me add that, this is purely my inference and gut… No syndicated research, no partisan results. No fudging. 

 

Give it a thought…. It’s rare that you find a committed leader who goes beyond the ‘expected and organic’ to bolster huge initiatives, new revenue streams, operational excellence and zero attrition to competition. If you’re in luck, you get a leader such…Be nice, tell him/ her you value every minute of effort being put in. They’re human after all.

 

RIP, The Salesman. We will miss you.!

 

Sir, I read your column for the first time last week. I am a first year PG student of postgraduation in mass communications. I am interested in advertising and PR as a career, but would like to pursue whatever has an excellent future. Please help.

Greetings ! Thanks for writing in to us at Dear MxM. As always we are more than happy to be of help to you.  To be honest, it’s tough to predict the future of PR or advertising for that matter. The days of forecasting are over. Today the uncertainty is Adrenalin!

 

I am not sure which area within these industries interests you, and hence I shall have to stick to generics.

 

The advertising industry per se is growing, albeit at a slow pace. Creative excellence is assuming more significance now, thanks to some bright young minds calling the shots.

 

Clients in turn, have become more discerning and today demand smart, fresh work, in line with what they are exposed to globally.

 

Opportunities are a-plenty, with most agencies hiring talent every quarter, be it account management, planning or creative. Slog? Yes, will need in order to carve even a tiny niche. But then,that’s what life is about, isn’t it?

 

PR on the other hand has matured over the past few years, and is today greatly focussed on brand sustenance and crisis management. Revenue generation is a critical objective within the PR company and almost everyone works with a target of some kind.

 

PR as an industry is stagnant or so I hear and hence cannot be considered an organic growth destination… Drafting press releases, Media Coordination and Relationship Management etc are the Basic Responsibilities a new entrant can expect.

 

So, the ball is in your court now! All the best.

 

I read with some worry that a senior editor’s article was dropped because it was against someone very senior in the government. If people – publications and editors/ publishers/ business heads – do not have the freedom to write, then why do people get into the world of news journalism. Sir, what is your view?

Well, this isn’t a new phenomenon, and most editors and journalists have been at the receiving end of management intervention and control. In fact, one of India’s largest media houses earned an infamous reputation for having led this practice.

 

Highly debated, yet numbers proved beyond doubt that marketing muscle could overcome any negativity associated with management control. Circulation grew, readers multiplied, advertising revenues peaked and soon enough, the editors became redundant.

 

It’s sad but true. An average reader today is blissfully unaware of the presence of an editor. Content has been dumbed down to suit the infotainment palate. It sells!

 

Unfortunately, the Sanctum Sanctorum of a Newspaper has been unceremoniously infiltrated.  After all, the sentiment is who reads the newspaper for news any longer. Toeing the line though isn’t a crime. Sales, marketing and all the other functionaries have been doing it for decades now.

 

This is the reality. Don’t like it? Too bad, this is here to stay. Amen.

 

Last week, I was reprimanded by the boss because he questioned my decision to raise doubts about the decision to drastically cut down sales rates and offer discounts. Now I want to leave the organisation, because I think indiscriminate discounts are detrimental to the business interests of any organisation. Please advise

Hi and thanks for writing in. This is something that I personally am vehemently opposed to as well.  You are absolutely correct and there are over a million examples of revenue attrition thanks to arbitrary discounting.

 

Interestingly, most often it’s a case of chasing volumes to portray artificial growth [read short-term] and performance. Volume-based monitoring of growth is long gone, considering the immense cost of overheads and basic DVC [Direct Variable Costs, That is, newsprint, consumables etc].

 

The other well-established cause for random discounting is the demonstration of executive power. This is often noticed soon after a change of guard at an organisation. “Not to worry, Just give me a call and I shall take care of it.’ Now this is what I call a Double Whammy !!!

 

One stone such and the media vehicle as well as the sales team are rendered useless..

 

Rates are in fact a true marketing professional’s armoury. They signify supremacy, positioning and sheer marketing might. In fact one has raised advertising rates arbitrarily to signify a growth in numbers, even before any leadership is established.

 

Stick to your guns my friend. You will win eventually. God bless the management and owners who encourage / turn a blind eye to such revenue attrition.

 

Have a real fun weekend ahead and, yes, do take good care of yourself!.

Drink if you must, but do so responsibly.

Like it or not, we will be back next week, Same space, different questions, very different answers ! 

Dear MxM, because, we care.

Write in to Dear MxM at editor@mxmindia.com clearly writing Dear MxM in the  subject line.

 

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