Marketing and Delivery; Interaction

“Bankers read it in first-class seats. Hipsters read it on the subway on their way to work.” It is The Economist. The Economist has stood out among weekly news magazines for decades. What can The Economist attribute to its success? Jeremy W. Peters of The Economist suggests that it is a mix of aggressive and clever marketing that allows The Economist to take advantage of different markets via different delivery systems. For example, one particularly bold ad from 2004 read, “Once upon a time, there was an ambitious young man who didn’t read The Economist. The End.” Another said, “I never read The Economist — Management Trainee. Age 42.” The Economist has targeted the competitive nature of readers and attempted to make their publication synonymous with success in the mind of the public. In fact, they have done so quite successfully. The first North American edition of The Economist was printed in 1981 and since has increased its circulation tenfold. The latest advertising campaign has targeted 11 of the most well-off cities in the nation.  The magazine sold about 52,000 on the newsstand each week in 2010, down from over 57,000 in 2009. Newsweek cut circulation from 3.1 million to 1.6 million as early as 2000. Time’s circulation dropped from 4.1 million to 3.3 million. So despite its aggressive marketing tactics The Economist is no exception to the decline of print in newspapers and magazines. Top executives from the magazine have continued to employ unique advertising strategies that set apart The Economist from competitors. These executives very carefully selected only high-end retailers to carry their magazine, like Whole Foods. They have focused on delivering to large urban areas like Austin, Seattle, San Francisco, and Washington with relatively well-educated populations. The Economist’s managing director and executive vice president said that “we don’t define our audience by demographic. We define our audience based on what they think.” By delivering their magazine to large and well-educated populations and removing the polarization of social class tied to many competing publications The Economist has successfully marketed and delivered the best product to the best markets.


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