[quote name='Malvern Road' date='30 Nov 2008, 13:06' post='69209']
Ian Allen marketing people need a jolly good kicking, they have got it woefully wrong. Not for the content, as I can appreciate old articles being revisited and expanded with a mix a some new as that is standard fair for any annual. I refer to the pricing and availability.
I agree with your sentiments Malvern Road, and those of others posting here, but I wish you appreciated the difficulties we publishers have in distributing magazines.
W H Smith are responsible for 44% of our retail sales of Hornby Magazine. If we don't spend thousands of pounds in retail promotions, we get de-listed. This means instead of being in 545 outlets we drop a ranking and end up in say 300. Fail again and it's down to 210, and so on. It becomes a downward spiral and eventually you have to increase cover price to stem the losses. Other retail chains are generally worse at promotional compliance. Independent retailers are best, but unless they are switched on or empathize with a specialist subject, are generally less likely to stock a magazine like HM. So we are stuck with WHS. They are after all Britain's biggest 'range retailer' in that you can walk off the street and probably get a magazine on a subject that you are interested in.
But, and it's a big but, unless we spend money with them on exclusive promotions or 'in category display units', they really will execute their threat to de-list. Some have called it blackmail, others blood money. But that' s the way that it is and Tesco are ten times worse! You will see HM in Tesco shortly and it has cost a fortune to do. I am responsible for twelve Ian Allan magazines. Trust me, it is a nightmare!
So we are guilty of dancing with the devil, but if we didn't we would stagnate and die. If we don't support them they won't support us. Simple as that.
But I have to say that the Hornby Magazine Yearbook fiasco is nothing to do with the magazine publishing team. It was commissioned by our Book Publishing department. Okay, so Mike edited it. But the shortage of copies in Smiths tells you something about the way Smiths run their business. We printed 6,500 of them and Smiths orders 1,000. To go into 545 stores! They have since apologised for underestimating demand and have ordered a further 3,000 which should satisfy demand.
However, it was their idea to run the promotion, to increase footfall in their stores. Our Book Dept people obviously wanted to get it into WHS Book department so approached us to run the promotion, and we (in all honesty) thought it was a good idea and that we should support our colleagues, so agreed. But we have no control over the way Smiths Book Dept is run, or their magazine department - and clearly the two don't talk to each other. I now wish we hadn't bothered!
I don't want anyone out there to think that the magazine team are trying to profiteer or anything. But I can fully see why our Book Dept would seize the opportunity to produce an annual. And it has been very nicely done and makes a good compendium of modelling ideas.
I am very sorry to hear that so many forum members have been messed about with this promotion. Lessons learned. I will make sure that I have something to do with it if there is a 2nd edition next year!
Black 5 Man