Case Study: Dallas Morning News

Adjusting Retail Practices Boosts Revenue 80% in Flagging Industry

The Single-Copy Situation

describe the imageThe Dallas Morning News is recognized as one of the nation's oldest, largest and most reputable newspapers. A leading Pulitzer Prize recipient within the industry, it has become a fixture of communities throughout Texas. Unfortunately, the paper's single-copy business -- one-time sales of individual newspapers at retail locations -- was flagging. This business, accounting for about 20 percent of the publication's total sales, had dropped from approximately 225,000 Sunday papers to approximately 75,000 within five years, with total revenues dropping by some $6 million between 2009 and 2012.

Matt Benner was engaged to assess the paper's single-copy business and devise a marketing plan covering Q4 of 2012 through the end of 2013. He worked closely with the Circulation and Key Operations Managers to identify and overcome the marketing challenges inhibiting this revenue channel.


Eyeballing Retail Practices

  • Benner re-examined the sales numbers and methods of Dallas Ft. Worth retail venues, many of which had closed or been replaced by new venues over the past few years.
  • He compared the performance of each individual retail partner, including those in various types of retail chains, noting an enormous disparity in sales between the top and bottom performers.
  • Benner's team found that many poorly-performing venues were positioning the papers in a way that limited their visibility and forced customers to ask for them.
  • The team then created a package to help under-performing venues use their own best practices more effectively to sell more papers.


Good News

Benner's work exceeded all expectations:

  • The initial three chains to implement the new plan saw an 80 percent revenue increase within 60 days, shattering the paper's original goal of a 5 percent increase.
  • Astounded retailers are now seeking to rearrange all their other publications for similar results.
  • The entire program involved zero cost to the participating retailers.

Read and see more at Matt's blog on this case