Desperation Measures for Desperate Times
I am increasingly fascinated by some of the “out of the box” and even desperate marketing strategies adopted by different industries during this economic downturn. The offers by some car companies to make your payments if you lose your job are one example. Another recently affected me.
The paper didn’t really push back hard when we downsized our subscription. Based on recent trends, it was probably relieved that we at least kept paid Sunday delivery.
However, they called Mrs. ToughMoneyLove back a few weeks later with a new proposal: Would we like to receive the Monday through Saturday papers also? “No” she said. “We had already made that decision and it was way too soon to change it.”
“Wait” they said. “We mean for free.”
Yes, the local paper wanted to give us for nothing what we had been paying for over the past 29 years. My wife figured – why not – can’t hurt except for a few extra trees. “How long?” she asked. She was concerned that this was one of those “try it free for a month then we start charging you again” deals.
“For a full year” they said.
When I heard this, I tried to figure out the rationale. All I could come up with is this. Because we are a paid subscriber for one day per week, the paper was permitted to count us as a daily subscriber for purposes of ad rates, as long as we were willing to accept daily delivery. In other words, whatever revenue the paper lost from our subscription fees, it could compensate for by maintaining its subscriber base at a higher lever for presentation to potential advertisers.
Desperate but perhaps an effective marketing strategy in desperate times.
I feel bad for some print newspapers, having been overtaken by online media and a general dumbing down of the populace. Most traditional publications are trying to find a profitable spot in the online world. But that requires a complete rework of what they write and how they write it.
So now we have the morning paper again. And yes I am at least scanning it every day. The paper has shrunk dramatically. I suspect that it will eventually shrivel up completely and die, along with much of our traditional culture. What replaces it – such as endless online blather about celebrity escapades and death – is not much of a trade-off. It’s too bad that the area in which I read the most – business and personal finance – receives the least attention in the paper. That tells you something about why we are financially illiterate as a national consumer group.
I’m curious if any of you have come across desperate marketing measures comparable to this?
These semi-radical developments in the business world also make one wonder about the nature of changes we will need to make on the personal finance level so as to survive and prosper in a changed financial world.
I am off to my 40th high school reunion tomorrow so you probably won’t be hearing from me again until Monday. Wish me luck as I step into the wayback machine! While I am away, take a look at this week’s Carnival of Personal Finance.
Photo credit: David Reece