Boasting the two top selling spaces at retail in the Women’s Service category, from January to September in 2019, First for Women counted a 28% uptick in ad paging, while Woman’s World reported a 17% increase. They were the only women’s service titles to see an increase at all, according to Kanter PIB.
Adding to that, Woman’s World sells more copies at retail than all of Meredith and more than Conde Nast and Hearst combined, according to the AAM. Woman’s World represents 67% of all women’s service single copy sales alone.
Bauer Media CEO Steven Kotok credits this growth to the brands’ ability to connect with their audiences; he notes 90% of revenue comes from the consumer. The growth followed a research project, which included holding in-person focus groups of readers, the company undertook last year that “teased out a lot of what really engages [our readers],” Kotok told Publishers Daily.
“What the readers were saying about us was around unifying themes that we heard again and again: Our brand provides a safe space, joy and warmth,” said Kotok.
With the help of a consultant, Kotok and his team applied this knowledge, along with the results of an online Q&A and data analysis, to a redesign of Woman’s World, following the promotion of Carol Brooks to editorial director of both titles.
It also launched its Spreading Joy Day, which helped them catch the attention of advertisers through a targeted, hyper-focus representation of its brand through the celebration of things that inspire joy.
“We wanted to bring to life what our readers love about our title. We are a brand that is driven by our readers,” Kotok said. “Embracing who we were broke through.”
This year, Bauer U.A. brands welcomed 30 new advertisers, including NBC, P&G, DreamWorks, Arm & Hammer and GNC.
Bauer U.S. has also been able to translate that trust and good feeling from its readers into a successful SIP business. To date, Bauer U.S. has acquired over 16,000 checkout pockets in chains like Wakefern, Giant Eagle and Wegmans.
In 2019, Bauer U.S. produced 32 SIP titles, an increase of 30% from 2018. In the new year, the company looks to produce 41.
Kotok notes: “If you’re a publisher selling more than 87% of the women’s market, the logical thing to do is not to leverage your growth to 88%, but to branch out.”
The company started by hiring freelance editorial people to coordinate with its editorial teams, but now has titles being produced directly, including one on angels coming from the Woman’s World team.
One notable SIP coming out next year focuses solely on merchandise a shopper can buy at WalMart, curated by Instagram influencers who live in Bentonville. Kotok describes the experience with Walmart as extremely collaborative, even allowing Bauer U.S. to use its logo on the cover.
Each title is sold at a premium price falling between $10 to $13.
“This was an opportunity to take our ability to speak directly to the reader, provide a unique service and take it in the platform that we thrive on, the newsstand,” said Kotok.