July 08, 2015

The Paper Industry

Here's a ditty, forwarded to me by folks in the paper industry ... a campaign to encourage the public to embrace paper and packaging ... click here for the press release.

Twenty million dollars will be spent, which, quite honestly, is about equal to zero in the world of advertising. Tactics include:
  • Television Commercials.
  • Print Ads.
  • Banner Ads.
  • Videos.
  • Website Info Hub.
  • Facebook.
  • Twitter.
  • LinkedIn.
  • YouTube.
A quote:
  • "The campaign highlights relatable moments that connect consumers to paper and packaging products in meaningful, emotionally relevant ways," says Mary Anne Hansan, P+PB's executive director.
Ok, let's think about the three mega-trends that we are facing.

  • Merchandise Productivity.
  • How Will I Acquire A New Customer In 2020?
  • How Will I Avoid Paying Tolls?
Now let's evaluate the trends within the context of your beloved paper industry.
  • Merchandise Productivity: On the decline. For every JCP who is celebrated for mailing just one (1) catalog, there are tens of millions of people not using paper - instead using Instagram and Pinterest. This drives down merchandise productivity. When you read the press release, you learn that the paper folks do not believe they have a merchandise problem - you learn that the paper folks believe they have an awareness problem. They are attempting to increase merchandise productivity via advertising. The core issue, of course, is the merchandise.
  • New Customers: Look at the list above. This initiative demonstrates that leadership wants new customers - and will use advertising as the medium to find new customers. It doesn't matter if this is right/wrong, this is the worldview they have, and we all have a worldview, don't we?
  • Tolls: Again, look at the list above. The initiative is all about tolls, isn't it? They're going to pay digital channel toll managers a series of tolls in an effort to convince digital users to use paper. Clearly, digital toll collectors are going to profit from the endeavor. Digital folks love it when offline folks pay digital tolls to convince digital users to use offline products.
So, the initiative does not address merchandise productivity. The initiative suggests that the way to find new customers is via advertising. The initiative suggests that it is a good thing to pay tolls in an effort to convince digital folks to use paper.

Do you see how we can view our efforts within the context of the three mega-trends?

Can you see how this initiative, which may work and may deliver sufficient ROI, is largely positioned as opposite of the approach we've been talking about for two months?