“We’re a completely integrated company with our print businesses and our digital businesses; we don’t have separate editorial groups; we don’t have separate marketing groups. We’re one company. We’re one Reader’s Digest, one Taste of Home, one Family Handyman; the content may look different in the different mediums, but it’s the brand ownership and those multiple touchpoints. It’s all about delivering the content the way the customer wants to consume it.”
This quote from Trusted Media Brand’s President and CEO Bonnie Kintzer could help explain why 2020 was a much better year than might have been expected. Kintzer spoke recently with Samir “Mr. Magazine” Husni about this year and the challenges it brought.
“Actually, our business has done really well during the pandemic, which I know is an amazing thing to hear,” she told Husni in the interview. “Our fiscal year began July 1 and we’re up in digital ad revenue by 25 percent and also overall company revenue is up and our EBITDA is way, way up. So, we feel really good about where we are from a business perspective.”
That doesn’t mean the company didn’t face its share of challenges. Like any brand, taking care of its employees while managing to get the work done was a difficult job. Previous tech investments and a commitment to reaching out to their team members helped them get the work done remotely … certainly tricky when you consider the test kitchen and workshop time (their Family Handyman title just celebrated 70 years in print) that goes into any one issue. But it was taking care of their people that weighed heavily on their minds.
“The biggest challenge is definitely around people with childcare or a sick family member or some other disruption,” Kintzer said. “We try to just pay attention to that and meet the needs of our employees. But business is the best it has been in my six years. Knock on wood all day long. (Laughs) Our content really provides a lot of value during the pandemic.”
It’s that value proposition and credibility that helped them weather the storm, as they relied on the trusted relationship they have with their readers to help direct what kind of editorial coverage was needed for this unusual year. And they’ve done an excellent job of crossing channels to become a best-in-class digital marketer.
“Our digitally-sold businesses, whether it’s magazines or books or DIY University or the subscription box are all growing significantly,” she continues. “So, we feel like we’re on a path and that investment will continue, whether it’s an investment in people or infrastructure.”
Looking ahead, the future of their print magazines is strong, Kintzer believes, and “a very important part of our brand identity.”
Ultimately it comes down to being realistic and being true to your customers, she says.
“People that I know that are running media companies, we’re very realistic; we look at the good and the bad and we manage our businesses accordingly. And if we are all true to our customers and have good financial acumen, we will have strong businesses. And that’s definitely what I expect for us,” she notes.
We expect nothing less from a brand that lives up to its name. Trust is the defining factor in the media business today, and Trusted Media Brands has a long history of nurturing it. Congrats to them on a 2020 that succeeded against the odds, and continued luck in the New Year!