Nov. 25/Dec. 2, 2019: Volume 35, Issue 11
By Steven Feldman
By now I am hoping you have been able to take a look at the premiere issue of RSA, the magazine for flooring retail sales professionals. We mailed this magazine to our full circulation list a couple of weeks ago and have been receiving positive feedback from those who have perused the issue.
Truth be told, we have been talking about doing something like this for about five years. But talk is cheap. An idea is nothing without execution. So why launch a print publication in 2019, in November no less, when most advertisers’ budgets have essentially been exhausted? Why turn left when everyone else goes right? We’re certainly not bored. But there are a few reasons.
First, here at FCNews we like to consider ourselves disrupters. It makes things interesting. Second, when we floated the idea to RSAs and suppliers alike, it was well endorsed. The advertising support in this inaugural issue only serves to illustrate that point. Third, there is a clear void in the marketplace for a publication geared expressly toward this audience. And as the leading publication serving the flooring industry, we believe it is our responsibility to fill that void.
So, what is the goal of RSA? Much like FCNews, which provides a seamless conduit from manufacturer to retail store owner, RSA will connect suppliers and sales pros, who are on the front line and most influential in controlling the sale to the end user. Think about this: When a manufacturer launches a new product, it can take months for all the manufacturer and distributor reps to reach every store and educate every salesperson. Here, the messaging can be delivered all at once with our dedicated PK pages. As well, a dedicated website will contain PK videos from suppliers who choose this route.
How important is PK? I remember when I was the executive editor at another flooring publication; we undertook a research study that asked salespeople about the drivers that led them to trading a consumer off a brand to which she was predisposed when she walked in the store. The No. 1 driver was “comfortability of selling the product.” That speaks to product knowledge. (I would have bet “spiff” wasNo.1, but it was only No.4 or No.5. FYI, other high-ranking drivers were product quality, support from the manufacturer rep and claims resolution.)
But RSA will be much more than PK. Sales professionals will benefit from columns and features on everything from selling, investing and leisure, to health and wellness, and how to maximize downtime in the store. There will be regular features where salespeople themselves reveal how they tackle certain issues. We’ll also feature some of the latest and greatest products as well as those creating a buzz that may be worth showcasing to consumers.
RSA is a work in progress. Our first edition is far from perfect. We’re not kidding ourselves here. We need to tweak content, design, etc. But this soft launch is an opportunity for us to work out the kinks and provide the best value for retail sales professionals on a quarterly basis next year. As such, we welcome any and all feedback before we launch in earnest next spring. A good analogy is “Seinfeld,” the most popular sitcom in TV history. Most people don’t know the show actually began as “The Seinfeld Chronicles” and was met with negative reviews from test audiences. The infamous character Kramer was originally named Kessler. The direction was tinkered with. RSA will follow the same path until we get the formula right.
Here’s the distribution strategy: This first issue was mailed to you, the store owner. We ask that you share it with your team. Next year, we will be sending the print product to you and digitally to your salespeople. We ask that you provide us names and email addresses of your sales staff. (Send that to firstname.lastname@example.org.) We will also work with the major mills to compile a solid database of RSAs. As well, there will be a dedicated website for RSA, so salespeople will have the choice of reading the magazine in three ways: the traditional print issue, a digital version on the website or through their email.
We strongly encourage you to share RSA with your salespeople. This will help them become more professional and profitable, which will only help you make more money.
I appreciate your help in making the newest publication within the FCNews portfolio the best it can be.