Time To Look Back To The Future

With 2017 now in full swing, we thought it would be a good idea for our chief blogger to look back at the events of 2016 that will undoubtedly influence and help shape our industry over the coming twelve months.

Without doubt, three main stories dominated the electronic and printed media worlds in the UK in 2016. One was a tale of the underdog defying seemingly insurmountable odds and exceeding all expectations, whilst the other two were of a much more divisive hue.

In May 2016, a group of little known wannabe’s, journeymen and cast offs, from all corners of the footballing globe came together to win one of the biggest prizes in world sport, the English Premier League.

A team owned by Thai travel agents, managed by an eccentric Italian known as ‘The Tinkerman’, with players from countries as diverse as Algeria, Argentina, Austria and Japan, were taken to heart by an ethnically diverse city in the East Midlands. This city’s only previous claim to fame was the unearthing of a long dead English king from a multi- story car park.

As the cliché goes if this was presented as a Hollywood script, it would have been rejected on the grounds of lacking any credibility. However, with the benefit of hindsight, this is really a story of club that had a solid, outward looking business and sporting plan. This put them in a position to take advantage of the opportunities that became open to it, as their rivals faltered one by one.

The second major story that had us wincing on our Weetabix involved an Old Alleynian called Nigel cuddling up to an Old Etonian called Boris, and an Old Gordonian called Michael. These three jolly japester’s, one through an intense dislike of Battenburg cake and Brussel sprouts, and the other two with dreams of furthering their own political ambitions managed, on June 23rd to persuade the elderly and the disenfranchised of the nation to bet everything they, we and our children own on a dodgy old nag called Brexit Ahoy in the 2.30pm at Kempton Park. They even changed the jockey!

Across the pond, the third major tale of the year played out as His Presidential Satsumaness The Donald of Trumpton and his acolytes Pugh, Pugh, Barney, Mcgrew, Cuthbert, Dibble and Grubb swept to power in the race for The Whitehouse.

Import duty on ‘hair product’ and ‘fake tan’, especially the Presidents own favourite shade of Rust Belt Orange, were immediately slashed. In breaking news, sunbeds are due to be installed in high schools all over America and the only music that can now be played in any government building is ‘Putin on the Ritz’ by the Kremlin All Stars.

Both votes were won by the side of the argument that said ‘Let’s look inward’, the side that turned both contests into almost a single issue referendum on immigration. Both ‘The Donald’ and The Funboy Three used varying mediums brilliantly to get their relentless message across to their clearly defined target audience.

2017 hasn’t been kind to the Foxes so far, as they teeter just about the relegation zone, and the fallout from Brexit and Trumpit will play out over the coming months and years. However, there are some early assessments that marketer’s and production people alike can learn from.

Since June 23rd 2016 the pound has fallen against the Euro by over 10%. This has had a marked inflationary effect on paper prices available within the UK. It has also meant that the cost of importing print from the continent has risen. UK print costs have also been affected by the demise last year of Polestar, the largest entity in the market. The few remaining UK suppliers have been able to increase their selling prices particularly in the latter portion of the year. This trend will continue,

The UK web offset industry has undergone major heart surgery since the turn of the millennium. It has traditionally been designed to service the needs of the magazine publisher as opposed to the marketer. Prices and margins were forced down by the largest suppliers in a bid to remove the independents from the trade. Investment in new, more efficient, and flexible presses has been reduced to the merest dribble. Leaving us lagging far behind our continental partners, many of whom see the retail sector as their primary market.

So, what is to be done? Firstly, marketers need to analyse the cost components of their marketing material and ask a number of questions. What percentage of my job is paper? Is there a more cost efficient way of producing it? Am I working my data to achieve the maximum return? Do I have a production plan for the year? How can I insure against exchange rate fluctuations?

If you would like help in finding answers to these all important questions then our team of dedicated print, data and distribution experts are here to help you maximise the return on marketing budget.

So what is it to be? Put on the tin hat and hope for the best? Or explore ALL options that are open to you and come to an informed decision as to how to make your budget work hardest for you?


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