Bauer Media Once Again Shows Us All How it can be Done

When it comes to secret sauce, Bauer Media seems to have it. They are proving yet again that brands can still thrive in print magazines, through audience-based innovation that builds adoring fans and happy advertisers.

The latest news? Two of their print titles are seeing a healthy uptick in ad pages and retail sales, bucking the newsstand trends.

“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,” writes Melynda Fuller in MediaPost. “They were the only women’s service titles to see an increase at all, according to Kanter PIB.”

“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 article continues. “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].”

Okay, I’m not going to harp too much on this point, but this kind of audience-first commitment has to underpin any media brand’s publishing strategy in 2020. Gone are the days when a magazine sold like crazy just because it was in front of us on the newsstand. Audiences are increasingly sophisticated and discriminating, and your editorial strategy better be tightly aligned.

When you are, the advertisers line up.

“This year, Bauer U.A. brands welcomed 30 new advertisers, including NBC, P&G, DreamWorks, Arm & Hammer and GNC,” Fuller writes.

“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,” she continues.

Part of their success undoubtedly lies in their bold move to disrupt the traditional newsstand distribution model, instead of simply lamenting about its brokenness. In the process, they are exploring new SIPs based on previous success, and focusing on collaborative agreements that reach specific audiences.

Whatever Bauer is doing, it is clearly working. But you won’t find their secret sauce bottled and on the shelf; it’s a hard-won recipe that can only be created by a team that is dedicated to understanding their audience on a new level.