TunnelTalk: Developing new opportunities
Situation: Charting the way forward for B2B publishing companies, particularly after two years of pandemic uncertainty and due to all companies having to regroup and reconsider their advertising budgets, had one well established, on-line publishing company get in touch to explore new revenue generating opportunities.
Intervention: A review of the current provision revealed an opportunity to develop a new digital edition and simplify the web-based primary vehicle. This strategy offered their existing audience a clear rationale and motivation to subscribe to the new product. The solution provided good value to the audience as it was likely to enhance their professional knowledge while keeping a degree of their free and reasonably priced purchases and access to the publisher’s digital as well as web magazine offerings.
Resolution: Developing additional products to enhance the value proposition for little cost while increasing revenue and audience participation with an option also to develop a membership strategy in the long term.
Fire & Risk Management Journal: Growing the membership
Situation: The FPA (Fire Protection Association) wanted to re-evaluate its membership provision, including Fire & Risk Management, the members’ magazine. The objective was to grow the membership and widen audience participation. My initial assessment outlined two critical tasks – an appraisal of the FPA’s marketing team (the department responsible for increasing membership and producing the magazine) and an in-depth review of Fire & Risk magazine. Both tasks were fundamental to determining appropriate recommendations and developing a sustainable roadmap.
Intervention: My appraisal of the marketing team identified strong leadership. However, the team needed a more cohesive approach to gain a deeper insight into the prospective and existing members – their audience. Therefore, to develop a resolution that was achievable and would result in a definitive ROI, the intervention needed to focus on the following three core aspects:
1. Intelligence gathering, which was imperative as it would enable the FPA to collect valuable data, which had the potential to highlight ways to develop a more member-centric editorial offering and increase engagement.
2. The FPA’s free newsletter, which achieved a high subscription rate, could be repurposed and used as a conversion opportunity to encourage casual readers to become members.
3. Fire & Risk magazine, my initial appraisal revealed the title desperately needed a redesign. The current provision lacked engaging content from an editorial and a layout perspective, but the editorial team needed support in modernising their approach.
Resolution: My recommendations took a holistic approach, first focusing on membership acquisition, followed by a redesign of Fire & Risk. The initial action plan concentrated on increasing acquisition through tactics such as targeted campaigns and repurposing the focus of the FPA’s free newsletter to foster a higher membership conversion rate. Setting realistic membership acquisition targets and regular reviews to measure progress were critical components of this plan. Secondly, as my initial review revealed, Fire & Risk also needed improvements. Therefore, my action plan focused on developing a more robust editorial and engaging editorial strategy, together with a redesign to create a more contemporary and modern approach with a greater emphasis on visual storytelling. Furthermore, guidance was also given on recruiting experienced editorial staff to help facilitate these changes. Following the consultancy, the client’s ROI has been achieved through growth in membership with increased engagement across the value proposition.
The Mint: Launching a new title
Magazine launches are my speciality so I was delighted when Henry Leveson-Gower, founder and CEO of Promoting Economic Pluralism, approached me for advice on starting a new magazine.
Inspired by the campaigning genesis of The Economist, Henry was an expert in his subject but had little knowledge of magazine publishing. He was determined to launch a magazine, and after scraping together a shoestring budget, asked for my help to develop a blueprint for the title.
Extensive market analysis prompted me to recommend a membership strategy for this concept.
Fast forward four years and The Mint is on the way to making a global impact.
Critical takeaways from The Mint
1. Be determined and believe in your ideas – providing of course, that they are viable and that you have undertaken in-depth market research.
2. Change your perspective. Nothing is static, so if something isn’t working, try a new strategy – the worst thing publishers can do is continue doing what they did yesterday.
3. With specialist magazines, building a community and magazine in tandem is essential to ensure both become sustainable.