When Chasing New Customers, Don’t Forget your “Bread and Butter”

Magazines are always offering special deals to new subscribers – “Save 80% off the cover price! Special offer for new subscribers!”

But what about the “old” subscribers who have been loyal customers for year after year? Why do so many magazines make an effort to attract new customers, while ignoring the loyal customers who have helped to keep their businesses operating in the black?

It’s tempting to put all your marketing efforts into finding new customers, but you cannot forget your current customers becausethey can leave you at anytime. You need to keep reminding your current customers of why it’s worth it for them to do business with you instead of a competitor.

Most magazine subscribers wouldn’t cancel their subscription just because they saw that new subscribers were getting a better deal. But I wonder if all those “80% off” coupons floating around act to devalue the magazine to its current subscribers – it’s not a good strategy to ask your existing customers to keep paying full price for something that you’re trying to give away for almost free.

Instead of offering steep discounts in the hope of wooing new customers, perhaps these magazines would be better off communicating their value. Talk about the unique content they offer, the one-of-a-kind stories you can’t get anywhere else, the coverage of a particular industry, city or scene. Magazines create a community of people who share common interests and aspirations – part of the fun of subscribing to certain magazines is being part of this community.

Every magazine needs to find its own unique selling proposition or competitive advantage. Some good examples are:

  • The Economist is a global business digest for executives (and aspiring leaders).
  • Vogue is for people who love fashion because they are known for introducing the newest trends.

Their competitive advantage has even become their competitive position.

Every magazine – and every business – needs to know who its audience is, know what kind of community it is creating, and know how to identify and trumpet its competitive advantages. The main reason that magazine subscribers choose a magazine is not price, it’s the stories that magazines tell, and maybe more important, the story that the magazine allows its readers to tell about themselves.

Does this Example of the Magazine Industry Compare to What Your Business is Doing?

Businesses that can only compete on price are doomed to fail in the long run. Instead of offering deep discounts to woo new customers, take a hard look at the reasons why your existing customers have kept choosing to do business with you.

Prevent your business from becoming the In Touch, Star, OK , US Weekly of the gossip magazine world.You have to constantly be flaunting your competitive advantages, because if your company begins to look the same as another with cheaper pricing – more than likely your current customers will leave, because there is no tie breaker, except price.  You will then be another business shouting: “Save 80% off the cover price! Special offer for new subscribers!”

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