This morning one newsagent emailed me a story on a competitor website. The story is about a supplier that is trying to enter the newsagency marketing space. According to the story, they went to a newsagency group and were told that if they wanted that group to support them they would have to pay a six figure amount. The key point here was the supplier did not offer the money but it was asked of them. He asked me if I knew anything about it, if so whether it was true and was it his group.
Although I am not 100% sure, I suspect that it was. A few days ago, a big supplier came to see me. They are not in the newsagency marketplace and they are trying to get into it. They told me that they had spoken to this newsagency group earlier and that they were thinking of entering an arrangement with them. They wanted to know my thoughts on this newsagency group. Considering the size of money sought the supplier would have to be big. Since not that many large suppliers are actively thinking of entering the newsagency marketplace now, to me it is likely it is this supplier.
The money itself would not be secret; if as I suspect it is the same supplier they would have disclose such fees publicly. However would this information be widely distributed to newsagents? Bill Express made no secret that they gave money to the ANF, that they hired newsagent consultants who also made no secret that they were being paid but many newsagents did not know this!
The problem for a group is who is going to pay for the promotion of this new product? Are the members supposed to pay for a supplier to promote his goods into their market space? No, surely the supplier should pay for it however this puts the group in a conflict of interest. One hat the group is wearing is their members and the other hat is the supplier’s money. Sometimes members ask themselves which hat their group is wearing?
Our answer to this supplier was that we are interested and excited in their products. We believe that newsagents can benefit from them. We would have to consider their proposal on its merits but we were keen. If the group did run with the product and one of our clients wanted to do it. We would do the best to help our client.
However we explained to them the stink that still existed from Bill Express and the ANF deal. We would prefer nothing to do with something that could remotely appear similar. If I am right that it is the same supplier, then when they went to one of my competitors and asked the same question. It appears that our competitor replied with the same answer that we did. If so, good on them