Today’s WSJ article headlined “Ax Falls on Four Conde Nast Titles” said that Conde Nast it will close 4 of its 23 magazine publications today. Of these, Gourmet, a 68-year-old food magazine will be closed.
It’s really sad to see traditional media dying, with newspapers, magazines, and radio becoming one of the biggest victims. The truth is, there is perhaps no possible solution to such channels as it is a natural phenomenon – since viewership migrates to online, advertisers will rather spend the money where the audience is. There’s really no one to blame.
But to close down a 68-year-old history? Maybe there are ways to survive through strategic target marketing, and not by luring in incentives by simply lowering subscription rates or offering trial offers. Here’s my suggestion.
- LOOK FOR WHERE THE MONEY IS
As someone who’s always interested in self-development and the willingness to keep track of the latest industry news, there are hundreds of magazines I’d like to subscribe to. The reality is, I can’t afford it. But if there was someone else who could pay for such services, such as my parents, I know for a fact that they would do it for me. And most likely, those willing to self-develop like myself are among groups of people in college an early stage professionals. They might not have the capabilities to subscribe to a bunch of magazines – but maybe, maybe… their parents who support their sons’ and daughters’ success in careers can help out.
To do this, an easy way would be to partner with where such groups of people are. Why not partner with colleges? Get rid of those trial offers FOR EVERYONE, and rather offer lower-rated offers for students. Or make a deal with a college to have your magazine offers sent in college or alumni newsletters to the parents. I’m sure those in marketing in such publications also have children – and you’ll know this universal insight – parents will do anything for their children’s success.
Now, marketers may think, ‘my magazine is a food magazine, and our readers our 40~50-year-old housewives.’ Well, come at it from this angle: maybe they’re reading your magazine because housewives do a lot of cooking, and they’re good at it, and they want to be better at it, and they can afford it because their husbands will pay for it. I would suggest, ‘get out of the box!’ In my opinion, there would be two ways to tackle this.
- Don’t assume your reader audience is your only audience.In other words, maybe 20-year-old males are just as into cooking as the housewives are. Establish a touch-point: tell them that learning to cook gourmet food will win romance (and yes, they do), and that it will lead to a unique thing to write in their hobbies or differentiating themselves during job interviews.
- Don’t assume marketing to 40-50-year-old housewives just because they’re your audience. Yes, I see a lot of cooking magazines in a dentist’s office, because housewives go there a lot during the day. But imagine their children in middle school, when they sleep over at their friend’s house, and come back home telling, “Mommy! Jeff’s mom’s pasta is so much better than yours!” Or how a husband comes back from a dinner invite and tells his wife that his boss’ wife’s food is better. There are always such touch-points where having a cooking magazine can boost the real audience’s (40-50 year old housewives) ego, motivation, pride, and lessen the stress of hearing that she is not the best cook in the world (or at least, in comparison to a competing housewife). Target their children, their husbands, and their pride.
It’s sad to hear publications go down. And just because you’re in traditional media doesn’t mean you should market the traditional way. Use variances. Use radical methods untested before. What have you got to lose?