12 Case Studies of Publishers Who Have Blazed the Trail to Success

Mequoda wants no publisher to be left behind

I can talk until I’m blue in the face about how well the Mequoda Method works in helping legacy print magazine publishers make the business-critical transition to the digital age.

That doesn’t mean anyone should take my word for it.

When you attend our Digital Magazine Publishing Workshop, you’ll learn the stories of 12 legacy publishers who are thriving with the Mequoda Method.

These publishers cover the B2C and B2B range. They include publishers who write about backyard chickens and clinical laboratory business practices. Some started out small and became household names. Others, because of the narrow nature of their subject matter, aren’t well known … but all of these case study publishers dominate their niches, whether large or small.

Beyond the pottery wheel

One of our favorite stories is that of the American Ceramics Society. The organization turned to the Mequoda Method in 2005 to address the stagnant growth of its two print publications, Ceramics Monthly and Pottery Making Illustrated, whose audience is both ceramics professionals and dedicated amateurs.

The group dove headfirst into the Mequoda Method, though initially skeptical. Here’s a small sample of the statistics they’ve compiled since 2005:

  • From revenues of $2 million to $3.5 million and still growing
  • From 0% Internet visibility to 26%
  • From 20 products to more than 100

And when they launched their tablet editions of Ceramics Monthly and Pottery Making Illustrated, they gained 1,200 subscribers in just four months.

Find out more of the eye-popping details of the American Ceramics Society story when you attend the Digital Magazine Publishing Workshop.

Cooking up some success

If you’re one of the country’s millions of cooking aficionados, you’ve certainly heard of Cook’s Illustrated magazine. And it’s just one of many products, generating millions in revenues, that have been spun out of what was once a modest little print magazine called Cook’s that launched in 1980 and actually suffered discontinuation nine years later after sale to mighty Condé Nast.

The magazine itself was revived by its founder and editor, Christopher Kimball, and has always boasted a growth rate substantially higher than the general category of cooking magazines – itself a giant among consumer magazines.

Today, the company has used the Mequoda Method to create a media empire that now includes …

  • Cook’s Country Magazine
  • The America’s Test Kitchen Family Cookbook
  • The New Best Recipe
  • Annual Editions of Cook’s Illustrated and Cook’s Country Magazines
  • DVD sets for each season of television shows
  • More than 70 cookbooks and DVD sets from the editors of America’s Test Kitchen
  • A video game, America’s Test Kitchen: Let’s Get Cooking
  • America’s Test Kitchen Radio

If all this has you drooling, be sure to register for the Digital Magazine Publishing Workshop to find out how Kimball and company achieved it.

A competitive B2B niche

Tucked away in the hallowed halls of Harvard University is a university consortium formed by faculty, students, and staff from Harvard University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and Tufts University, and dedicated to developing the theory and practice of negotiation and dispute resolution.

Founded in 1983, the Program on Negotiation’s primary revenue had always been generated by its live professional training events. PON operated in a highly competitive niche, where numerous for-profit and non-profit organizations competed for the attention of the business community.

The 2009 recession hit PON hard, and with no web strategy and only direct mail as a marketing strategy, attendance, and revenues declined, even as PON reduced the number of events in an effort to increase attendance.

A new marketing director arrived in 2011 and promptly launched a rebirth of the program via the Mequoda Method. Today, PON has increased its revenues by 63%, maxed out attendance at 12 of its 14 programs, and even launched a new advanced course – in short, a complete reversal of the trend that had begun in 2009. All of its metrics have increased by two and three figures, and a new international audience has been established.

Those metrics and all the details of PON’s dramatic turnaround are shared at our Digital Magazine Publishing Workshop. Register now for the Aug. 2 event!

What you’ll learn at the Digital Magazine Publishing Workshop

All of the steps a publisher must take to become a case study in success are taught at our one-day Digital Magazine Publishing Workshop, this year taking place on Tuesday, Aug. 2 in Boston. My executive team and I will share all of our strategies with you, from the magazine editions that are critical in today’s publishing market to upsell opportunities for publishers who have digital editions to pricing, marketing, staffing and more.

Because we teach it all in a single day, there’s no need for long hotel stays and no wasted time. Reservations for this one-day workshop that will change your business forever are now being taken on a first-come, first-served basis.

Here’s what you’ll learn at the Digital Magazine Publishing Workshop:

What American Magazine Readers Really Want to Buy

As the author of the nation’s largest multi-year magazine study, The Mequoda 2016 Magazine Media Study, we’ll show you that consumers still value print products, and for which types of magazines they specifically prefer it. You’ll hear about the attributes of app-based magazines that appeal to consumers. You’ll also learn that consumers are divided on which platform is valuable to them – underscoring the need for triple platform publishing. You even hear about trends in spending for both print and digital editions.

This data will drive your decision-making going forward and provide a foundation for every publisher at this event to understand how Americans view magazine media and their consumption preferences. You’ll use our study’s results in designing products consumers will buy, read and renew.

And if you have any questions about this data, the author of the study will be on hand to answer them, interpret the data in the context of their experience working with hundreds of magazine publishers, and help you understand what it all means and what you should do about it. 

The Five Magazine Editions You Can and Should Create

You already know you need a digital edition of your magazine in order to make your content available when, where and how your readers want it. But did you realize that “digital” means different things to different people? It means you must have an iPad, Kindle Fire, and Google Play edition.

As mentioned above, Mequoda has identified a full five editions of your magazine that you must publish to survive in the modern era: print, digital editions on the Apple, Amazon and Google platforms, and web. Never heard of a web edition?  It’s the most flexible, most widely available, most promotable, deepest version of a magazine – and 95% publishers don’t have one yet. The remaining 5% (The Economist, Time, The New Yorker, and our clients Biblical Archaeology Review and Countryside among them) know it’s the most forward-thinking edition possible: available on all devices, searchable, and the only edition in which you can directly promote specific articles from social media, search engines and email. We’ll discuss best practices for creating, delivering and marketing this edition.

We’ll also discuss how print media is still not only viable, but critical in a successful publishing system. Don’t forget, it’s not just about consumption but about distribution; without your print edition, you can’t keep your product legacy newsstand channels such as bookstores, grocery stores and specialty stores. Similarly, your three digital editions keep your brand in front of consumers on those platforms.

We’ll also discuss the attributes of each of these five editions, what makes each one special and how to market each one. Please believe me: It’s not as hard as it seems.

The Prices, Offers and Incentives You Must Test Now 

In this session, we put it all together for you from A to Z. We’ll share our data on decoy pricing and give you models that demonstrate the magic it delivers, discuss the details of orders and renewals for the different offers on the spectrum mentioned above, and show you how publishers exactly like you have profited from the strategies described here. In short, there’s much more to offers, pricing and incentives than there is room here to discuss them. How do auto-renewals impact renewal rates? Is there hope for a traditional pricing model? Find out in this session.

We’ll also walk you through a 13-week test program built on the same strategies we’ve used to build direct mail campaigns for decades. By the end of this session, you’ll understand all the variables and offer construction that still work in the digital age: hard and soft offers, introductory pricing, auto renewal, payment gateways. You’ll also learn the best practices that are required in a world where credit card continuous service is becoming the norm. 

How to Run an Integrated Multiplatform Marketing Campaign

Yes, we’re a long way from the old direct marketing days. But that doesn’t mean a marketing campaign has to be complicated. First, using the offers we just discussed, we’ll discuss the radical differences between that old-fashioned direct mail marketing and the new email marketing, which allows us to promote a magazine 52 times a year instead of just two, four or six times.

We’ll discuss how magazine cover story selection can drive sales in these campaigns, and explore incentives, premiums, special issues and free reports – how all of these are used to drive orders in the digital age. And all of this comes with a very disciplined campaign framework based on a 13-week cycle so that marketing is literally managed with Six Sigma discipline. This approach allows you to run 52 campaigns efficiently, fights fatigue and maximizes overall circulation, revenues and retention rates.

How to Upsell Print-Only Subscribers into More Expensive Digital Packages

Remember, once you have digital editions of your magazine to sell, you can upgrade print subscribers smoothly using our contrast pricing strategy and our finely-honed renewal series. Your subscribers get handy unlimited access and convenient auto-renewals, and you get more orders at higher prices than before.

In this session, you get all the details mentioned above, and even learn how to work smoothly with the leading fulfillment companies.

A Step-by-Step Roadmap for Making the Digital Transition 

We don’t recommend that publishers cherry-pick our strategies, or try to execute the Mequoda Method without the training we deliver in this workshop. So we’ll take all of the strategies you learned earlier and lay out a project timeline in which we identify all the milestones necessary for your transformation journey.

You’ll follow along through all the steps necessary for changing your production flow, and we’ll discuss how new bonus content like extra articles, videos and slideshows can be incorporated into your digital offerings.

We’ll also walk you through the process of becoming partners with Apple, Amazon and Google, how to select the right software, and how to troubleshoot the approval process.

You’ll even get a timeline for building a magazine website featuring all the features and functionality required for your profitable new system, accessible on all screen sizes and read in linear fashion. Everything from generating new issue announcements to promoting individual articles is included in this master schedule for your entire production, distribution and marketing programs.

12 Case Studies of Publishers Like You Who Have Blazed the Trail to Success

At the end of the day, you’ll take home a list of 12 mentors, including those discussed above, as they execute this revolutionary publishing system every day.

We’ll discuss the product offerings for both B2B and B2C publishers on our mentor list, studying their platforms via a multiplatform brand wheel, and discuss content strategy, audience development channels, pricing and revenue strategies.

All of our case studies will be live, cutting-edge mentors that you can follow after the program to use as a benchmark set for setting your own policies and for developing test ideas – so you won’t be left behind as the new magazine world continues to develop.

This is also a great opportunity for burning questions and drilling down into the way our examples apply to you.

You know that the magazine industry is evolving at an explosive rate, and that traditional publishers must keep up to thrive, or even survive. At the Digital Magazine Publishing Workshop on August 2, 2016, you’ll learn the strategies that hundreds of publishers already know, and that thousands more will be embracing in the years to come.

I urge you to register now, before all seats are filled. As much as we’d like to offer this workshop to more publishers, we just don’t have the time as we always put the needs of our 20+ Gold Member Organizations first – clients who have learned the Mequoda Method and value our help in implementing it for them.




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