Tips of the trade - BREAKING INTO A CROWDED MARKETPLACE

 

Lori Miles, editor, Total TV Guide

Never believe the experts when they tell you the market is too crowded. In 1985, media pundits were adamant there was no room for another women’s weekly (supposedly Woman and Woman’s Own had the market sewn up). But in that September I was launch editor of Chat, and soon afterwards the Germans arrived with Bella and Best.

And who nowadays would be foolish enough to launch another paid-for listings magazine? TV Choice, launched only four years ago, is currently selling more than a million copies a week – and we’ve just bought out Total TV Guide.

The trick is to know your enemy, know their weakness and produce a magazine far superior. They will, of course, be furious and retaliate by either discounting on price or copying your designs and ideas (probably both). At this point you have to be ready for the slog.

That means moving the benchmark again and again, having deep pockets and nerves of steel. Although tough, it is far easier to pitch into a thriving market place than try and create one.

There may be a good reason why there is a gap in the market – there might not be any readers there in the first place.

Richard Clark, editor, Web User

Launches are the lifeblood of the magazine industry and any publishing company ignoring this will need more than a transfusion of cash to keep it alive.

As more titles are thrust into the marketplace, existing sectors get overcrowded and new niches become increasingly difficult to find – as they say, if you see a bandwagon go past, you’ve already missed it.

Understanding the market is crucial, catching scent of the zeitgeist is not enough, research and gut feeling must work together to fully digest what readers want.

In a young marketplace, these wants are evolving. It is important to both set agendas and meets readers’ current needs. As innovators you seek to be different from the pack, but one thing’s for sure, whether in a crowded or new market, if successful you will be copied.

So proactivity and quality are crucial to gaining and retaining that marketleading share. Whether launching into a new or crowded market it is never easy.

Knowing the reader, having the right concept, brilliant writing and design and wisely spent marketing money are all crucial to success – and a little bit of luck!

Michelle Garnett, editor, Sneak

The most important factor when launching a magazine is understanding the reader. Anyone can pour large sums of money into a marketing campaign and get potential readers to take notice, but if you don’t know enough about them you might as well declare it a failure from the start.

At Sneak we make it our mission to know the readers’ wants and worries. As a launch magazine it’s also vital to retain the energy of the initial few issues. Too many mags become complacent and get stuck in a rut.

With such a crowded marketplace it is important to be original and attention grabbing.

We shout about hot new celebs before they’ve begun to sizzle. But we’re also confident enough to dump them the second they threaten to cool down.

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