Advertising Distribution



Chapter Fourteen:

Getting Distribution

Most advertisers are confronted with the problem of getting distribution. National advertising is unthinkable without that. A venture cannot be profitable if nine in ten of the converts fail to find the goods.
     To force dealers to stock by bringing repeated demands may be 
enormously expensive.  To cover the country with a selling force is 
usually impossible.  To get dealers to stock an unknown line on 
promise of advertising is not easy.  They have seen to many efforts 
fail, too many promises rescinded.
     We cannot discuss all plans for getting distribution.  There 
are scores of ways employed, according to the enterprise.  Some 
start by soliciting direct sales - mail orders - until the volume 
of demand forces dealers to supply.
     Some get into touch with prospects by a sample or other offer, 
then refer them to certain dealers who are stocked.
     Some well-known can get a large percentage of dealers to stock 
in advance under guarantee of sale.  Some consign goods to jobbers 
so dealers can easily order.   Some name certain dealers in their 
ads until dealers in general stock.
     The problems in this line are numberless.  The successful 
methods are many.  But most of them apply to lines too few to be 
worthy of discussion in a book like this.
     We shall deal here with articles of wide appeal and repeated 
sales, like foods or proprietary articles.
     We usually start with local advertising, even though magazine 
advertising is best adapted to the article.  We get our 
distribution town by town, then change to national advertising.

     Sometimes we name the dealers who are stocked.  As others 
stock, we add their names.  When a local campaign is proposed, 
naming certain dealers, the average dealer  wants to be included.  
It is often possible to get most of them by offering to name them 
in the first few ads.
     Whether you advertise few or many dealers, the others will 
stock in very short order if the advertising is successful.  Then 
the trade is referred to all dealers.
     The sample plans dealt with in the previous chapter aid quick 
distribution.  They often pay for themselves in this way alone.
     If the samples are distributed locally, the coupon names the 
store.  The prospects who go there to get the samples know that 
those stores are supplied, if a nearer dealer is not.  Thus little 
trade is lost.
     When sample inquiries come to the advertiser, inquiries are 
referred to certain dealers at the start.  Enough demand is 
centered there to force those dealers to supply it.
     Sometimes most stores are supplied with samples, but on the 
requirement of a certain purchase.   You supply a dozen samples 
with a dozen packages, for instance.  Then inquiries for samples 
are referred to all stores.  This quickly forces general 
distribution.  Dealers don't like to have their customers go to 
competitors  even for a sample.
     Where a coupon is used, good at any store for a full-size 
package, the problem of distribution becomes simple.  Mail to 
dealers proofs of the ad which will contain a coupon.  Point out to 
each that many of his customers are bound to present that
coupon.  Each coupon presents a cash sale at full profit.  No 
average dealer will let those coupon customers go elsewhere.
     Such a free-package offer often pays for itself in this way.  
It forms the cheapest way of getting general distribution.
     Some of the most successful advertisers have done this in a 
national way.  They have inserted coupon ads in magazines, each 
coupon good at any store for a full-size package.  A proof of the 
ad is sent to dealers in advance, with a list of the magazines to 
be used, and their circulation.
     In this way, in one week sometimes, makers attain a reasonable 
national distribution.  And the coupon ad, when it appears, 
completes it.  Here again the free packages cost less than other 
ways of forcing distribution.  And they start thousands o f users 
besides.  Palmolive Soap and Puffed Grains are among the products 
which attain their distribution in that way.
     Half the circulation of a newspaper may go to outside towns.  
That half may be wasted if you offer a sample at local stores.  Say 
in your coupon that outside people should write you for a sample.  
When they write, do not mail the sample.  Send the samples to a 
local store, and refer inquiries to that store.  Mailing a sample 
may make a convert who cannot be supplied.  But the store which 
supplies the sample will usually supply demand.
     In these ways, many advertisers get national distribution 
without employing a single salesman.  They get it immediately.  And 
they get it at far lower cost that by any other method.  There are 
advertisers who, in starting,  send every dealer a few packages as 
a gift.  That is better, perhaps, than losing customers created.  
But it is very expensive.  Those free packages must be sold by 
advertising.  Figure their cost at your selling price, and you will 
see that you are paying a high cost per dealer.  A salesman might 
sell these small stocks at a lower cost.  And other methods might 
be vastly cheaper.
     Sending stocks on consignment to retailers is not widely 
favored.  Many dealers resent it.  Collections are difficult.  And 
businesslike methods do not win dealer respect.
     The plans advocated here are the best plans yet discovered for 
the lines to which they apply.  Other lines require different 
methods.   The ramifications are too many to discuss in a book like 
     But don't start advertising without distribution.  Don't get 
distribution by methods too expensive.  Or by slow, old-fashioned 
methods.  The loss of time may cost you enormously in sales.  And 
it may enable energetic rivals to get ahead of you.
     Go to men who know by countless experiences the best plan to 
apply to your line.
Return to Book Intro and Chapter Index:  Scientific Advertising
Continue to the next Chapter: Advertising Campaign


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