Savannah Morning News makes friends with coffee, biscuit deliveries

By Stacy Jennings

Who doesn’t think of the natural combination of “a cup of coffee and a newspaper?”   

At the Savannah Morning News, we were pretty sure the two went together like peas and carrots! So we decided to pair coffee and a newspaper with biscuits at local fast food restaurants, and deliver to our customers and supporters.

Our first effort was directed to advertising customers. We wrapped the newspaper in custom ribbon, imprinted with “Thanks for reading the Savannah Morning News!” and attached a bag of coffee from a local coffee purveyor.

We included a card that had some impressive research about how the newspaper reached audiences and how the reach increases when you add other products in our portfolio — digital, other print, or other types of media promotion, such as events or social media. 

Our advertising customers were happy to get a pot of coffee and it opened the door to several businesses we hadn’t been able to get in front of before!

Next, we turned our attention to local companies.   

The strategy changed a little for these larger groups. We take coffee, biscuits, and newspapers to large office groups. Some of them were “friends and family”… people with whom we’d done business before or who had sponsored some of our events. Some were folks who had large rosters of employees (100+) and we weren’t really sure how many of them read the newspaper — either in print or online. 

We knew we wanted to reach a diverse audience so we’d have good conversations and the potential to sell something!

We started out by securing food service partners. We chose two fast food vendors who had offered to provide quick, convenient service at a special price. And we set up a month’s worth of appointments.   

The first morning, we hit a friendly business — someone we knew that if we flubbed it, they would still love us. But we did not flub anything. Our food partner made certain we had plenty of variety for the health conscious as well as the “biscuit lover!” And we got the opportunity to deliver a newspaper — again wrapped in our signature ribbon — and a special offer only available to these companies. 

The offer was printed on the back of our explainer card, which was adjusted from the sales message that the advertising team was delivering to their clients. 

The results have been very positive. 

While we cannot claim a huge number of circulation orders (yet!), we have used the sessions as sort of “mini focus groups,” where we can ask the employees what they think of our products: Have they used them? In print or online? What do they like about them? What don’t they like? And if they could change anything about the newspaper, what would it be?  

And we also probe for the opportunity to provide bulk subscriptions for the offices with more than 50 employees. Most of the CEOs and general managers agree that they want their employees informed and aware of the local news of the area and we are very happy to oblige them.

Trying not to disrupt business for these good people too much, we leave behind newspapers, an offer and sometimes a biscuit or two after about 30 minutes. When we set up, we have signage that says, “Breakfast today provided by the Savannah Morning News! Have a cup of coffee, a biscuit and enjoy the newspaper on us this morning!” which stays at the place of business, as well. 

So far, we’ve done five deliveries and we plan to continue for the next 60 days, then evaluate our results and possibly tweak the programme a bit. It feels good to meet our readers face-to-face, and we always learn something that we bring back to share with our team here at the plant.  

About Stacy Jennings

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