Do You Still Clip Coupons and Buy Newspapers? Yeah, Me Neither.

By January 5, 2020 October 29th, 2022 Heather

We had a Sunday paper on our doorstep this morning. I figure they must be doing some free thing to drum up some New Year subscribers? Who knows but when I used to get the Sunday paper I did like the flyers and coupons. Today, even though I know people who could be on extreme couponing and probably win, I think of what it would take for me to 1. Subscribe to the big city Sunday paper and 2. Cut out coupons and take them to use.

Why did we get one? I still looked, though.
  1. What would it take to subscribe to a newspaper?

My Answer: They have to change the revenue model, total format layout, distribution system, and the newest issue – journalistic bias. Then I might.

I don’t want to pay for a subscription for it. This should be acceptable because you have the big people in your arena who still think there’s enough ROI to print a gazillion flyers and distribute them all over the US. Target, WalMart, P&G products, Kohls… So you all have income already and could actually get more without it costing them the crazy prices they are already paying.

As a media buyer back in the day when you needed software, fax, and phone to get the job done. I am not sure if the circular distribution has gotten easier and I am reflecting on old issues or not. And I am not going to fact check that for this story because nothing else has changed with buying print so I highly doubt it’s worth the time. Anyway – point is, when I worked with clients who had regional companies that had locations in multiple areas that had their own preferred newspaper then you had to have all their data, prices, due dates..etc, etc, etc to place the plan to insert their ad in the day you wanted PLUS pre-negotiate and establish relationships with every one of them individually what you intended for the year was to lock contract rates because the more you spent the cheaper the rates. And you had to honor it. So then you worked with the client once you gathered every contract and term to discuss approval on best recommendations. Seriously, its a lot of work. I mean, even regional cable was ahead of that system. You could buy multiple markets through one person across multiple channels. Back to papers.

It may be a weekly paper. Morning paper. Evening paper. They had their individual print times, deadlines, and limitations. All had to be clearly documented and followed throughout the company so designers, printers, shippers, etc etc were all on board to make it happen.

Say What?

I realize that today, printers have become more centralized to service multiple papers because the cost of printing newspapers in the house became too costly with equipment and..dare I say.. subscribers. So they cut where they could to get leaner and that wasn’t a wrong choice. But still, if you’re Target – I bet you have a printer, make the number your buyers added up from all the distributions hubs you have to be received at and verify their deadlines to make the shipping deadlines to reach the newspapers deadlines plus a 2% spillage quantity overage as the feeders sometimes stick an extra copy here or there to one paper’s insert. That’s why sometimes you get duplicate flyers in your paper. That’s spillage. Still happens today and I always thought 2% isn’t bad overall. Except it still is the rule of thumb today. Progress. LOL

Today digital images are uploaded and downloaded to the printer all the time. To help Target cut down on all the work, keep their buyers happy and on board by dispersing the files to the actual newspaper printers so they can print them themselves and cover all the newspapers they already represent and handle all the logistics there, at each hub.

And if there are papers they represent that you don’t need, they don’t care and leave them out of your totals. But they can hit their fancy software and click on every paper you need in the region you need that they cover and give you a total and one deadline. Done. And every paper gets its cut from the printer on the deal because insertion and circulation are included in the printing and it’s an all-inclusive fulfillment company.

Done. They get more printing business and can hopefully figure out how to save trees with more spillage.

Next part of distribution fee – the delivery guy/gal/kid that throws them in the rain on your driveway. If there’s a national rep for all newspapers out there, get them in the room with Amazon. If you have a prime membership, you can contact your newspaper for free and get it subscribed to the same address as the prime account.

I know, I know… having these new prime delivery people bring a Sunday paper isn’t conducive to their investment when they make nothing off these papers, either.

It would if they had a Sunday package coming anyway… or change it up to “the Saturday paper” instead, sure, think it over but my idea is actually to utilize the paper distribution as your R&D investment for drone delivery testing, and in the meantime, you also work out an income deal with the printer fulfillment centers that you’ll take the cut the newspapers were using in their fees to justify paying delivery people and instead you will work with those kids and adults who deliver the papers to your doorstep and help them like these drivers on a smaller scale be their own delivery start-up business for Amazon. The kids will have one more reason to support you generations from now and it’s probably more efficient than what delivery people currently have to deal with.

The rule would then become drone usage in Prime subscriber areas that either have no employment interest by humans or remote/rural areas that delivery people are losing money to drive out to.

Bam. I get a free Sunday or Saturday paper with sales flyers.

The format is also needing a breath of fresh air. I could go into the details but I would want to sketch it out because it’s hard to describe in words. Plus most of the people reading it can’t hold their arms up that high to hold it the whole time you’re trying to read it per column inch with a size 11 font at best.

Not to mention what is included and why. There are ways you could make the newspaper more interesting and necessary especially if it included content that..dare I gasp… you can’t also find online??? Whoa, hold the phone. I gotta get a paper to see that information? It’s not available on my phone? Nope. Gotta subscribe. You don’t have Amazon? Well, you might as well. It’s gonna be a wash by the time you buy a subscription to the paper anyway.

The last point to this point – want to hear the biggest oxymoron I ever created myself? I mean, forget freezer burn. Civil war. Dry rain.

How about interpreted news? If you want to weave influential ideas into stories that have lost focus of the facts, I don’t want it. No matter which side of the pendulum of extreme you swing to. I want to go back to actual news and information that can be provided to me to process and form my own interpretation of how to feel about it? Until that happens, maybe the printer hubs should work on flyers and coupon distribution to prime subscribers until they figure it out.

Last part – how to get me to use coupons. I am probably missing out on hundreds if not thousands of dollars over these years of not using paper cut out coupons when I go shop. Plus, for random one-offs I have done, the bar codes are simplified to where you can scan them for deductions yourself at self-checkouts. Still not gonna justify the paper for it or the time cutting them.


BUT – what if the big retailers who accept the coupons (the ones making the flyers) added a function within their own loyalty app so your phone could upload the barcodes and store them for when you go there? You have some sort of ROI with the paper/flyer because the Targets and Walmarts don’t use coupons, they just show you pictures and prices of sales. Well, they sell all the food and hygiene stuff that P&G and SmartSource offer to cut out.

It would also help the P&G/Smartsource people because half the time I wouldn’t buy the stuff they have coupons for anyway. But since it’s a good coupon… Now I’ll buy it. It’s a wash, really, in your favor.

If I could load those bad boys into my Kroger app that has their own coupons, I’d do it in a minute. If I didn’t have to cut them out and carry them around, yet use them within my app for the same expiration date timeline, I’d use them.

Which means I would take the time to subscribe for it and look at it.

I would hope more people would, too.

Which means more people requesting the Sunday paper. Or Saturday.

So more companies would advertise in it.

Then I don’t have to buy it and no one loses jobs. Target and Kohl’s don’t have higher fees, their buyers’ workload is easier because of the new distribution system ease. They have time to research new ways to decrease your company budget on media or find innovative ways to differentiate you in new platform techniques.

So many activities.

And you don’t need those bored people lurking around their tradeshow table in WalMart trying to give you gift cards and discounts to please try the newspaper for one month and see all the coupons you get.

Thanks for reading!

Have an awesome week and speak thoughtfully with ways to make our world better.


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