As the father of five teenage daughters (and that’s only half our children), this old saying is just one of the many tools I find myself using to direct our girls (and trust me, I need all the tools I can get). Defining yourself by the company you keep also holds true in the business world. It’s important to know your market in any business, and it is especially true in the publishing industry.
In Business Las Vegas, a Southern Nevada weekly newspaper, recently launched a campaign touting readership numbers reported by Scarborough Research. They compared their readership numbers with the other Southern Nevada weekly newspaper and added Nevada Business Journal for good measure. The information was widely distributed through ads, editorial, e-mails and sales calls. It seems everyone at In Business has been spending a lot of time spinning the numbers.
While I’m not one to steal someone’s thunder and I hate being the party pooper, there is a problem with the research numbers. Scarborough proudly touts themselves as the research organization for the “American Consumer”. Nevada Business Journal is not a consumer magazine. We are a business magazine and our readership is comprised of 82,000 business leaders throughout the state of Nevada.
I don’t doubt the value of the Scarborough report as it relates to the consumer market. The organization is a leader in gathering information for mass media. The methodology used by Scarborough includes random phone calls to consumers and the 15 minute conversation that takes place allows the research firm to capture demographics including such things as radio listening, newspaper reading, and television viewing.
When is the last time you gave a research firm 15 minutes of your time? The answer is probably never. Because in that time you can sign payroll, make half a dozen phone calls or get caught up on your e-mail. The fact is, the vast majority of our readers are top-level executives and their time is a precious commodity. On the other hand, the consumer market, with a much broader demographic, typically have more expendable time than a busy top-level business executive.
While In Business may measure their readership by a consumer report, our readership is more accurately measured by business readership research. And, while we’re flattered they would include us in their hype, they really shouldn’t have. The fact is we’re simply in a different category altogether. We’re a four color image statewide business magazine… they are a weekly newspaper distributed only in Southern Nevada.
A market the size of Nevada can support both a business magazine and weekly newspaper. We each have our niche… but they are different niches.
I have a tremendous amount of respect for Greenspun Media Group, parent company of In Business, and the media empire they have built. They have been very successful in an industry where success is out of the norm. The publishing industry is noted for failed start-ups and business closures. In the past year in Nevada, two magazines, Nevada Woman, and The Business Report of Northern Nevada have both called it quits. The cold, hard fact is that publishing is a tough business and it’s not for the faint hearted. It requires deep pockets and an even deeper commitment to educate and inform.
Nevada Business Journal has been in print for more than 21 years. Like all businesses, we’ve had bad times and we’ve had good times. Thankfully, the good times far outweigh the bad ones and we’ve enjoyed success within the business community. We never take that success for granted and are thankful to our readers and advertisers.
It’s always been our business strategy to work hard, report solid stories and focus on making sure the Nevada business executive benefits from reading our magazine. It’s a simple strategy and it works. The marketing strategy we’ve employed includes taking the high road and never, ever bad-mouthing other media outlets. After all, Nevada is a growing, dynamic state and there’s room for us all to grow.
But this thing with reporting consumer numbers for a business magazine is ridiculous. If In Business wants to report our numbers, we’d be happy to share the most recent readership survey, hot off the press. It is unlikely they’d be running an ad touting these numbers, since the readership of Nevada Business Journal is 82,000* compared to In Business, readership of 31,300*.
• 82,000 based on July 2007 readership survey (20,000 circulation, 4.1 readers per copy)
• 31,300 based on 2007 In Business rate card (10,111 circulation, 3.1 readers per copy)