Changing market conditions had caused this CZ publishing subsdiary to lose significant advertising revenue. Subscriptions were still holding up, but issues and profit margins were getting thinner.
In a declining magazine industry, we helped the CEO move the business away from its over-reliance on print and towards a multi-channel vision.
For decades, advertisers have had to negotiate hard over the price of ad space in the top quality magazine titles. The proliferation of new publications combined with readers’ migration towards consumption of online content has seen the balance of power shift away from print media owners. The global recession was a near-final blow for the CEO of this magazine publisher. The message from head office was clear: “Stop the decline or close down the business.” This was when Futurelab entered the game.
How long have you got?
When time is not on your side, you need to bring in people who work fast. Futurelab doesn’t invade your HQ with armies of fresh-faced junior consultants; we don’t have armies – or juniors for that matter. Instead, our senior advisers – highly experienced veterans of reinvention and innovation – go quietly to work at ground level. In a series of listening workshops we met with editorial, advertising, sales, marketing, distribution as well as key external advertisers. Our experience allows us to assemble the right people and zoom in on what we need to learn from them.
Within four days we had taken our findings through ideation and presented a new vision and strategy to management.
We give you plans not paper
We always deliver our recommendations in lively, face-to-face, roll-your-sleeves-up, bring-your-diary sessions. Using a mix of slides, planning exercises and operational reality-checks, we presented a new overarching strategy to this client, alongside hundreds of small, tactical steps for implementation, starting immediately and stretching over the next three to five years. The Vision was to reposition the company as audience managers rather than paper pushers, involving activity along two fronts:
- Understanding reader segments in greater detail and delivering valuable content across media – editorial and commercial
- Helping advertisers develop their business by providing access to target audiences with relevant messages at the relevant time in the relevant media
From strategy to action
We don’t strategize and run because we know implementation is the hard bit. For example, as part of our repositioning strategy for this client, we recommended the (internal) appointment of five Audience Managers to oversee key audience segments: women 25-40, women 40 plus, and so on. We went on to develop job descriptions for each Audience Manager and assist with recruitment. We then worked with each new manager to develop ideas and build commercial custom-publishing packages that could be offered to advertising partners.
If you have a crisis coming in your business and need to think fast, please call us.