Thursday, March 23, 2006

Return to the grassroots

As in most industries (local healthcare markets is a good example), there emerges two or three major players, aligned to provide a full range of services and to compete against each other.

Apply the model to the scrapbooking industry. Powerhouse (in this case, a publisher) holds consumer and trade mags and a consumer convention/education series:

  • Primedia has CK, SS, Craftrends, CKC, CKU
  • F&W has MM, SB Retailer, CNA, GASC

(Hijack for the obvious questions: are there only two? what's going to happen with Scrapbook EXPO and Scrapbook Premier? how do Meredith and Future play into this?)

Despite recent consolidations and eventual polarization, there will be an attempt to return to the grassroots.

Like in healthcare, where the hands-on interaction is crucial to success, there will be a need to provide the personal touch to the end consumer. This is not done with the "cult of personality," but with a return to the grassroots efforts. Therefore, expect to see both powerhouses make an attempt to seem small and personable as a way to reach new consumers.

But we all know that scrapbooking was built at the grassroots level. And just like the nurses who provide the care and bed-side manner, it's going to take individuals like you and me, not the figureheads, to hold the hands of the new scrapbooking consumer.

We need to be ready to hold some hands.