June 7, 2016
Are You Still Selling Newspapers?
by Mike Manes
Some of us still like walking to the curb at 5 in the morning to get our newspaper -- but we aren't the future. Stop focusing on us.
“Who is that guy, and what’s he doing?”
Shaun called me, laughing. He explained that he had just heard about a teenager who was at his friend’s house. As they walked through the den – he saw an older man reading a newspaper in a recliner and asked the question above.
The man’s son said, “That’s my dad, and he’s reading a newspaper.”
The next question was, “What’s a newspaper?” followed by, “Where does he get it?” The son apologized for his dad’s eccentric behavior by explaining that there are stories about news, politics and sports in the paper.
It’s like what we can read on Google, Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, Instagram or WhatsApp, or view on YouTube. Every morning a man drives by the house and throws a paper (usually in a plastic bag) out of his window and into our yard. Rain or snow, sleet or shine, dad walks outside to get it. Then he comes in and reads it like he’s doing now.
“Why doesn’t he have a smart phone? What’s wrong with him?” the friend asked.
These questions may shock those of us who walk to the curb at 5:00 every morning, anxiously awaiting our daily delivery. The newspaper is important to me. It is more than news or journalism. It is a ritual in my life, a daily ritual I’ve enjoyed for more than 50 years.
To the teen above, my ritual probably is crazy. To me, he seems stupid. In yesterday’s world, I’m right. In tomorrow’s world, he is.
Consider the profits made by the publishers of newspapers in yesterday’s world. Consider the Big 3 broadcast channels, CBS, NBC and ABC, and their dominance in the media world.
Now recognize that they are dinosaurs – smoking around the tar pits while awaiting their demise.
Is your agency or carrier or brokerage selling yesterday’s products to a population that is the past, or is your agency a living system that is growing with the marketplace as it will be and adapting what you sell and how you sell it to the buyers of the future, or are you focused on your reminiscences?
What populations/niches will you serve in tomorrow’s world? What will they be buying? How will you deliver it to them profitably?
I can promise they will be different than I am, and you must be different than you are – if you don’t want to go extinct! Will your model be paper or virtual?
Think new! Act now!