Blah Blah Blog – Reader Questions 2

Here’s another post with me answering questions from the readership from my Marvel blog of long ago.

Reader Questions 2

February 18, 2010 | 1:00 AM | By Tom_Brevoort | In General

More questions from you:

>Aside from the digital elephant in the room and the obvious “just tell good stories and they will come”, what do you think publishers can do to draw more new eyes to comics? For example, would a distribution deal with WalMart or some other BigBox store actually be beneficial? >

You speak as though we don’t already have that, but Marvel product has been available at Walmart for a few years now. It’s stuff we package especially for them, mostly pulled from our Marvel Adventures catalogue, which is something they’re comfortable with. And you kind of quickly dismiss the digital model in your question, but direct digital delivery remains the option with the greatest potential of being able to expand the audience for comics, as it delivers the reading experience directly to the prospective reader without him having to scour for it, and potentially at an entry-level price that he’ll find enticing. Beyond that, everything else helps to some degree, from movies and television shows to Free Comic Book Day, to anything that gets media attention on the stories we’re telling and might make somebody seek us out. Even controversy, as with the recent CAPTAIN AMERICA #602 foul-up, brings attention to the books, and creates both awareness and a greater likelihood that somebody is going to seek them out.

>Marvel has done a great deal to help drag the comics industry up to the level of real business, much of it due to the work of the sainted Carol Kalish. What is it doing today? I don’t mean offers for variant covers or anything, I mean co-op advertising, marketing assistance, etc? What goods and/or services are Marvel making available to LCSs to help them market themselves, comics in general, and marvel comics in particular?

Posted by vbartilucci on 2010-02-05 19:58:52>

This is a question that could be better answered by somebody like our Sales VP, David Gabriel. So I asked him, and he said:

Marvel offers cash back to retailers as one of the main incentives on books. With this cash back there are no restrictions as to how retailers may spend this money. These incentives are offered on an almost weekly basis. This is probably the most important thing.

Marvel also is the only publisher to create an online resource center for retailers whose number one goal is to create and maintain websites for retailers that do not already have them, and where they do have them, the sites can be used as Marvel centric online stores, again maintained by Marvel leaving the retailer to sell in his or her store. The resource center, the MRRC, also has many other marketing functions including downloadable flyers, postcards, checklists, mini posters, press releases, logos, reading chronology pages, updated comic and collected edition covers and the best part of all this is that Marvel sends merchandise to these retailers with cover prices far greater than the monthly fee associated with the resource center.

Along with all these tools Marvel is the only publisher to make ALL weekly comics viewable one week in advance of the on sale to retailers who are a part of the resource center. This is one of the newest tools of the MRRC and the Marvel titles are all viewable through the Marvel Digital Comics Reader.

Membership in the MRRC also qualifies retailers for free MDCU monthly subscription.

And if that’s not enough, there’s a free section of the center for retailers who want the ordering and sales information for all the Marvel on sale and orderable comics and collections.

Marvel sends out large poster EVERY month to retailers to hang in stores to promote monthly comics. These are free to retailers.

Marvel sends out mini posters EVERY month to retailers to give out to customers. These are double sided posters promoting events and series. These are free to retailers.

Marvel sends out postcards with checklists every month to retailers to give out to customers in stores. These are free to retailers.

Marvel sends out FREE samplers, saga, and comics every month to retailers to hand out in stores and to help sell comics and collections. These are free to retailers.

Marvel just started the Marvel’s Greatest Comics Program which launches in March which gives retailers comics for the low price of one dollar, at least 4 selections each month. These comics represent the first “chapter” of some of the greatest collected editions we have to offer. We’re launching the program with a free copy of the Invincible Iron Man #1.

Marvel sends out on a quarterly basis, bookmarks to retailers for free, to give away in stores.

Marvel plans and promotes nationwide in store events for retailers getting national press for retailers. These events come with their own free postcards, mini posters, giveaways, sales etc etc.

Marvel sent every retailer Free Calendars to give away in stores prior to New Year’s Eve at the end of 2009.

Marvel continually goes back to second printings for retailers and promotes the new editions online to customers who may have missed the first editions.

Marvel sends out countless press announcements as well as sets up countless interviews, previews, and other announcements about upcoming titles on a daily basis.

Marvel creates weekly or bi weekly podcasts and posts these for retailers to download and get customers interested in upcoming titles.

Marvel makes digital comics available free of charge in order to promote upcoming titles and events…and we heavily promote these marketing tools.

Marvel includes the comic shop locator on the front page of nearly every Marvel comic and collected edition, all Marvel digital comics contain the Comic shop locator pointing new and current customers to shop in local comic shops.

Marvel puts out the best books, bar none, in the comics industry…and that brings customers into stores week after week.

Marvel is also dedicated to bringing new customers into stores by branching out into new genres and heavily promoting those books, Dark Tower, The Stand, Anita Blake, the Wizard of Oz, Halo, Enders Game…and more.

>Are there any plans for another Doctor Voodoo mini-series?

Posted by donvonice on 2010-02-05 20:05:18>

Let us finish the current series first, before we figure that out. But there’ll be a Doctor Voodoo story in AGE OF HEROES #1 in May.

More later.

Tom B

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