In an exclusive briefing to update its field force on plans and objectives for the next 12 months, News UK chief marketing officer Chris Duncan told a brilliant story about a meeting with his chairman Rupert Murdoch.

“Which target would you like us to hit, Mr Murdoch?” he asked. “That one.” “Ooh, that’s going to be very expensive.” “How expensive?” “This expensive.” “Done.”

“I now have a very expensive marketing budget and a very scary man to answer to,” he told us.

What I love about this exchange is it shows an organisation engaged with the category right from the top and willing to back it financially to secure growth. But it also has high standards of what it expects in return.You need to be professional about it. We will be. And if you are, we want you to be our partner

You will be direct benefactors of News UK’s “year of investment”. It has pledged to make the category desirable and profitable for retailers by helping them to create “perfect” news stores with free, high-quality point of sale material and secondary site units.

It is also investing in its field sales team so they have the knowledge and skills to be able to walk into a store and think “if I ran this business, what would I do to grow its sales?”

In return, it is asking for engagement, commitment, and a willingness to make changes to maximise the category’s potential.

Mr Duncan’s message to retailers is: “You need to be professional about it. We will be. And if you are, we want you to be our partner.”

And it’s a powerful partner to have in your corner.