February 2021 Newsletter Sales, Marketing, and Audience Updates

Phil Frebault provides the following sales and marketing report. Bast/Durbin also offer some industry perspectives.

Ad Sales

Going into first quarter we knew that the show and expo closures would create a challenge for us.  In January alone we had 13 shows where we normally exhibit and hand out free copies of papers, cancel or postpone.  The cancellations affect our ability to sell new or renewed subscriptions and interact with our readers.  The other negative affect is that we sell a healthy number of ads that are directly related to the shows.  Whether it is the show organizer placing ads to promote the show, or an exhibitor running ads to take advantage of our extra circulation for the show, the cancellations hurt our business.

Despite the challenges related to the show closures, the sales team has been able to find wins to help counteract the challenges in Q1.  

A couple highlights:

  • Aaron Wolf has worked with Alderfer Auctions on a new email program to promote their collectible gun auction business.  This is all new business and they plan to run 4-6 emails using our lists which will bring in $4,000+ of new ad revenue
  • Don Kirby has worked hard at developing his relationship with MEC, Lakewood Products, and SportDog.  All three are expanding their spending with us this year and utilizing many of our solutions including print, radio, email, eContests, and even sponsorships of the Junior Pro Team.
  • Craig Turner has worked with Rugged RV’s to expand their buy this year to include additional runs as well as additional states.
  • Eric Meyer and Glen Schmitt have helped three tourism entities convert their show/exhibitor budgets into ad programs with us.  For Eric both Visit Grand Rapids and Edge of the North Tourism have committed to spend $10,000+ with us this year to make up for the lack of leads they normally generate from shows.  Schmitty has landed a new schedule from International Falls CVB with a $1,000 buy in January and hopefully more to come.
  • Chris Jennings has expanded on the email buy that USCCA did in 2020 with a plan to do multiple sends this year.  Each one brings in over $8,000 in revenue.


In late 2020 the team at Bast/Durbin put together a series of reader testimonial ads that ran during the holiday season.  The goal is to help enhance our brand with our subscriber base and encourage them to “share the tradition” of Outdoor News with their friends and loved ones and thus translate into “buy a subscription to ODN for a new reader.”

You will start seeing the next phase of this campaign with the focus being on our very experienced and strong team of writers and editors, emphasizing the fact that when they are not writing for Outdoor News, they are experiencing all the outdoors has to offer.  We hope to be able to feature two or more content contributors from each state in a series of ads similar to this one that was built by Bast/Durbin for our Ohio paper:



Outdoor News eEditions launch in all states starting this week!

Kudos to Aaron Geddis and Evy Gebhardt who helped quickly put the pieces together to be able to expand our eEditions to all states.  You will start seeing the promotions starting the week of 2/15.

Each edition will be available to add on to a print subscription for $4 per year or can be purchased as a Digital Only subscription for $25/year in MN and $18/year in all other states.

Each full paper will be available to subscribers to read on their desktop, or on a tablet or smartphone using an app they can download through the iTunes App Store or through Google Play.  

You will start seeing the promotions run this week in print, email, on our website and on social media.  Here is an example of the print ad for Wisconsin:


Outdoor News employees can sign up for access to the eEditions by visiting digitaledition.outdoornews.com, choosing the publication they want to read, fill the form with their email address, create a password and use the promo code using the ODNEmployees.  This will give you 2 years of access.

If you set up your access when we launched the MN digital edition you can re-log in at mndigitaledition.OutdoorNews.com to access the log-in page.  If you forgot your password you can reset it on that page.

Once you get a chance to check out the eEditons please give me your feedback.  This will be an ongoing effort to fine tune these and we are optimistic that this will help us grow our audience in all states.

The Bast/Durbin Report

Inventory’s impact on marketing… by Jeff Bast

Just as Covid started taking hold in 2020, we often told our clients, “this will be the year of inventory control.” The hunting and fishing industry flourished, participation exploded, and product flew off the shelves. Many brands couldn’t keep up with that demand. The empty pegs at retailers and “sold out” notifications online quickly forced consumers to migrate to brands outside of their normal comfort zone. Further, if the brands that did, in fact, manage their inventory also kept their foot on the marketing “pedal,” they likely had their best year to date by keeping themselves top-of-mind with consumers. 

For these reasons, market share moved between brands in 2020 and it may not come back in 2021 for some who didn’t keep up. Now, with a year of experience under their belts, brands are investing heavily in inventory so they don’t make the same mistake twice.  But, which ones will be smart enough to realize they still need to market their product to help drive sales through at the retail level? Finding those brands, as well as, educating others on the need is where opportunity lies for Outdoor News in 2021.

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