Vendigital with Marketforce

When you pick up a newspaper or magazine from your local newsagent, you’re unlikely to give much thought to how it made it to the shelf. But from publisher and printer to distributor, wholesaler and retailer, there is a series of delicate links in the time-sensitive supply chain underpinning newstrade distribution. 

The unique logistical demands of daily nationwide distribution, geared largely for the needs of newspapers rather than magazines, have resulted in a situation where two companies dominate the provision of wholesale services, and this is set against the wider market context of declining print sales and intensifying financial pressure on each link in the chain. To date, despite concerted efforts, no-one has challenged the wholesale status quo and arrived at a viable alternative. 

Marketforce, one of the UK’s leading magazine distributors, is part of TI Media and provides circulation and trade marketing services for high profile titles including Hello!Marie Claire and The Beano. In April 2018, the company’s leadership decided to embark on a review to rethink retail distribution for a sustainable future. However, in order to credibly challenge the wholesale status quo and negotiate new terms of service, the company recognised it needed a robust grasp of the genuine logistical and operational costs at play. Extracting these figures from its own vast pool of data represented an insurmountable technological hurdle. 

Marketforce turned to Vendigital to step in and find the answers, knowing it had the technological expertise, market understanding and intelligent approach to turn raw data into valuable business insight. Based on a forensic analysis of more than 300m lines of data, which incorporated information on 500 publishing brands and 55,000 retailers over four years, Vendigital equipped Marketforce with a deep understanding of the cost of wholesale services required by its client base. Through an agile modelling approach, Vendigital blended data science expertise with insight of the wider market to accurately identify what wholesale costs should look like. 

The insight uncovered by the project can be considered truly ground-breaking. Thanks to the approach and tools developed by Vendigital, Marketforce’s engagement with wholesale partners is now based on a robust Supplier Relationship Management methodology, with performance monitored via Data Visualisation Dashboards to give users within the business the relevant information in an accessible format so they can drive continual efficiency improvements.  

It has also entirely altered Marketforce’s stance in discussions with wholesale partners, enabling them for the first time to articulate a credible challenge to the current model during cost negotiations. Not only that, it has also provided a solid financial platform for Marketforce to explore and consider the viability of alternatives options, meaning the project will shape the company’s wholesale distribution strategy for the future. 

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