What does it take to be the editor of a local consumer magazine?
You have to be fanatical and obsessive about your readers. There is no room for assumptions. Know what brand of coffee they have in the morning, to what brand of light bulb they switch off at night – and most importantly, what goes on in their heads when purchasing and consequently making life decisions.
What challenges have you faced?
It’s been a long year. The main challenge was earning and keeping the team’s trust and getting their buy-in on certain decisions I was making as the new editor. What made (our situation) unique, was that we were relocating to Johannesburg and that can take a toll on a team that is trying to form and bond. Another was appointing a team that could take on the challenge of elevated standards and growing the title. (And) I had to invent and apply new and sustainable production systems for a growing weekly magazine.
How have you overcome them?
I’m very pragmatic. It has also been about making the right decisions at the right time and getting the right people to do the right job, while leaving enough room for learning and development.
What have you learnt about the magazine industry?
I am fortunate to have a very supportive publisher and advertising manager. We share the same vision and they consult with me on matters. As a result, I learn something new almost daily as far as the business side of publishing is concerned. What is clear, is that the industry still has a lot to learn (about) the ‘emerging’/‘black’ market.
How has Move! been affected by the economic crisis?
Because we are still a growing title, considerable effort has been made to minimise the (effect on) Move!‘s growth. However, we still have to be very mindful of our operational costs.
A typical Move! reader is…
Could Move!’s growth simply be ascribed to the fact that it caters for a market that was previously uncatered for? Or is there more to it?
That is but one factor. Move!’s growth has also to do with immaculate timing and an editorial team that understands this market like no other currently.
How do you ensure that Move! Stays relevant?
My way of staying relevant is not to stand aside as an observer while the market evolves and then wait for the ABCs to confirm your suspicions. It’s usually too late by then, especially for a market moving as rapidly as this one. We are leaders of the movement, not observers.
What are Move!’s circulation, readership and adspend targets?
I’m not at liberty to discuss that in an open forum.
What are your plans for 2009?
More growth in circulation and expansion in the form of brand extension(s). An announcement will be made at an appropriate time as to what Move!’s brand extension or extensions will entail.
Within a year, Move!‘s circulation increased from 114,412 to 166,972 (ABC, July – September 2008).
- This Q&A first appeared in The Media magazine (January 2009).