I am an avid reader of Rodinhood post and today realised why not give it a shot to get a new perspective and possibly some help in boosting my business.
I and my friend started with a novel concept of introducing advertisement on stationary items (specially Notebooks). Just like Newspapers, Magazines and other print items notebooks are one of the finest medium to reach target customers (specially students - all of them) with extremely high shelf life and zero spill overs.
Why its better?
a) Notebooks are necessity, a student may not read newspaper or magazine or pamphlet but they will surely buy notebooks and if anything is inside they will see it everyday till its last page.
b) Compare to magazines and newspaper its extremely cheap.
To start with we decided to test the waters in NCR region and got in touch with lot of manufactures to get the best possible quotation for manufacturing our own Notebooks with our branding (Oureducation) which happens to be our education portal as well. We started meeting people, many people and then more people and managed to get hold of 4 advertiser accounts. We thought we have cracked a gold mine but only to realise the hazards to retail market where people flee with your money. Shutting shops, changing places and what not. we started rectifying our external problems and started streamlining our processes.
We reached a place where we were selling 80k notebooks in a month and generating huge revenue but very less profits (its because we wanted to provide high quality but cheapest notebooks). To sustain we increased team size and put our energy into getting more ads, we tried hard and got the results but again there has to be optimum balance between everything and the realization of EarningSpending forced us to change strategy.
Then we started looking for funds to meet ends and we came across a fellow rodinhood who suggested a fantastic idea of trading advertisements on other manufacturers. At first we were adamant with our approach but then accepted the idea with open mind. And it certainly gave results.
At present we have a presence in 181 stationary stores across NCR region and tie up with three manufacturers who can customise their notebooks with certain premium.
We sometime wonder why we are so ambitious and the thoughts take us to the age Old problem "why we are doing this?" what is next? how to multiply? and everything an entrepreneur goes everyday.
We are now looking for support, to spread the Idea, to help us take this idea into creating a new vertical in Print Advertising.
We will not ask for funds but more ideas and your suggestions on making this idea RAZOR SHARP.
If you like the idea please let us know of anyone who might want to reach to Youth with this radical idea.
My view :
It seems like you got into the business of trading the notebooks first than advertising on stationary items. Advertisement on stationary items would be like a value add to the existing supply or production chain. You should ride on inventory already in the market instead of creating it for yourself which comes with all the issues related to manufacturing (or outsourced manufacturing), distribution and establishing credit worthiness etc. Notebook trade will be primary for a stationary retailer, so the reasons for him to start purchasing from you may not even have any consideration of the advertisement bit unless you are able to pass on subsidy (in terms of either credit timeline or pricing) on a certain quality of goods which you may well be recovering from the advertisements.
I think for you to scale your original idea you need to ride on existing inventory by purchasing in bulk the available inventory with them and then capitalize on the sales and innovative engagement models with the advertisers. It will then strictly be the business that you claim to be in in your introduction line. An extremely flip-sided model for the sake of discussion would be to start an airlines if you want to advertise on the back side of the boarding pass.
Best of Luck!
Thanks a lot deepak for your valuable suggestions...We are slowly shifting to the idea of buying space on existing inventory of other manufacturers and capitalizing on their existing distribution channel. The only hindrance is of converting advertisers, being a new model there is less acceptance and thus extremely low conversion ratio.
The idea of starting our own inventory was to safeguard our investment. Instead of buying space (which may not be able to sell) we preferred selling notebooks with or without ads.
thanks for your valuable suggestion though :)
You could explore a model where you follow a "Pay per Impression" strategy at a distributor instead of the manufacturer. It means that you pay for impressions on the notebooks as an when the advertisements are available with you. I am ofcourse speaking theoretical here and you need to figure out if there are any other factors involved including feasibility of operations. This will mean that you have a basic printing setup, packaging and re-packaging at the master stockist's or distributor's depot and the distributor clearly would be doing a value addition to the goods.
Except for very big brands, I would tend to think that the distributors of most of the brands or make would be in a position to sell the inventory space on the inventory of notebooks purchased and distributed by them without worrying about the manufacturer. You may need to distinguish from supply chains where the notebooks are traded at every stage vs. a C&F model where the company makes the sale to the last or the last but one guy in the supply chain. In the latter, the inventory is still owned by the manufacturer technically.
I think if you go for franchise model or opening your own store. It will help you to keep your cash flow as people will be buying from your own strore.
My second advise is that you can also go for simlar kind of branding on bestseller books, you can tie up for the same with few good book stores like cross word or other book sellers.
It will be like you can map the stickers on the books.
Opening a store is again a huge investment cost.
You have given a valid point about adding bestselling books advertisement on these notebooks, we will try to initiate it.
Thanks for writing :)
I would suggest another radical idea, which can be tested before rolling out large scale.
You can create a website for two segments:-
1. Retail customers who can afford to buy in bulk. (say 10 or more notebooks).
2. Wholesalers or Distributors
For these people can order in bulk online thereby cutting physical overheads. You can also create a loyalty program offering discounts for regular purchase. This way you can maintain or increase your circulation of notebooks in a steady manner. The same idea may work offline but its easier to track these stuff online rather than dealing with each order manually.
The reason Im recommending this is because advertisers will look for the reach or impressions....how wide and diversified it is or if its reaching some target segment. I also have other ideas which I can share once I know your business better. You can also reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org Best wishes.
Thanks Sridhar for sharing your idea...
This is what we are exactly doing at present. www.bookhub.in ...is where we will introduce this stuff...although I am still learning to create this magento based portal ..I wish I could get some help in this.
You will find a mail in your inbox right away. :)
Thanks for writing.