Magazine article Marketing

Magazines Wake Up to Marketing

Magazine article Marketing

Magazines Wake Up to Marketing

Article excerpt

In an already crowded magazine market, tight targeting and a sophisticated campaign are often the real difference between a launch's success or failure.

When IPC Magazines announced it was axing around 200 staff at the beginning of the year, it was quick to point out that this would not impact upon its plans for a [pounds]25m marketing investment for its magazine brands this year.

Like the rest of the industry, IPC is aware that the magazine boom of recent years looks to be Over and that the challenge of sustaining core brands and launching new ones will be all the greater.

In the past ten years, the number of consumer titles has risen by 754 to 2794, according to BRAD. But the most recent set of ABC results showed that the major publishing houses were fighting it out in an increasingly difficult market.

The men's market appears to have reached a plateau, the women's weeklies are scrambling for a share of a declining market, the glossy monthlies are looking tired, and the teen market is proving to be just as unpredictable as its readers.

At first glance the magazine sector may appear truly saturated, but research shows that consumers are spending more time reading magazines, and new launches continue to hit the shelves. There are also many success stories, and if the market is more difficult, that does not mean launches cannot find a strong demand.

The secret seems to be in finding the right niche and with it a readership- and in putting enough marketing support behind a title to get it noticed. For a publishing company to get gondola ends and multiple facings in WH Smith, it now has to pay [pounds]15,000 toward the costs.

Recent launches such as Shine last week and Heat in February show that publishers realise how they market themselves is crucial in drawing in the advertisers and the readers. Both have dedicated significant spend s to high-profile campaigns involving above-the-line ads.

Crowded sector

Some could be forgiven for thinking that there isn't any room left for launches, particularly in the markets Heat and Shine are fighting in.

Publishers are aware that the marketing and advertising campaign at launch can be as crucial as the product itself. Two similar titles which launched last year help to bear that out.

Having identified the smart older woman of the 90s, Emap Elan took the plunge last year with the launch of Red.

The company pot together a credible product, wooed the advertisers and launched the magazine amid great fanfare and a big marketing campaign through Rainey Kelly Campbell Roalfe and a spend of around [pounds]2m. The magazine's first ABC circulation figure last year gave it sales of 190,000, although these dropped 9% to 173,081 in the second half of 1998.

Contrast Rears performance with that of Frank from the Wagadon stable. Frank promised the same kind of title as Red, in that it was for the intelligent 30-something woman who was turned off by the normal diet of glossy magazine fare. However, marketing support was limited and the magazine itself was disappointing.

Originally planned to launch with a [pounds]200,000 campaign through Mother, the agency and client split three weeks before the launch date. Sales currently stand at 37,233.

So is the day of the mass market generalist title over? Is the future about finding a niche and exploiting it?

In common with other media, magazines are undergoing a period of fragmentation and not everyone is comfortable with launching into a market that hinges on precision. It has been left to the smaller and younger publishing houses to show the giants, most of whom turned in lacklustre performances recently, just how to target smaller audiences.

Attic Futura is one such publishing house. It believes that in Shine, which launched on March 4, it has a product that is different enough from the pack to achieve a settle-down circulation of 100,000. …

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