As business leaders and entrepreneurs, we often assess our business on a “curve.” The concept of the curve often causes us to think of our businesses as being “behind the curve (trailing edge)” or “ahead of the curve (leading edge).” It has been proven that businesses can be successful from either position. However, the strategies likely to be required to be successful and sustainable over time will be different based on where your business is on the curve.
At TouchPoint Innovative Solutions, as we entered 2020, we saw ourselves as being ahead of the curve in how we engaged our audience. Our Audience Survey conducted in mid-year 2019 yielded a Net Promoter Score (NPS) of 18points while others in the media industry were receiving an NPS of 12points. We were patting ourselves on the back — unwarranted as we learned when COVID hit.
Our publications, EVOLVE and PARENT magazines, were primarily print products with a small digital audience. When schools and businesses were closed in March 2020, we realized that we had been slow to pull the trigger and shift our business model from primarily print to primarily digital. We had discussed the need. In fact, we redesigned our EVOLVE website in late 2019/early 2020. But when we looked at where we were in the Spring of 2020, we realized we had missed the mark in our design and intended use of the website by our audience.
Along with most businesses, we struggled to get through the coronavirus pandemic in 2020. Staying afloat and sustaining our business became our main goal. But at the same time, we began to explore how to come back as stronger publications post-pandemic. One clear message was that we had to get ahead of the digital curve.
Through collaboration and partnership, we began to benchmark what other publishers were doing to shift from print to digital. As we shared our shift in strategy with our advertising partners, we found them to be very receptive and supportive. Through other publishers, we were able to find strategic partners who enabled our desire to enhance and expand our value proposition to both advertising partners and readers.
Today, we are now 95% digital and 5% print. Our publications now reach more than 500,000 residents and businesses in Central and Northeast Florida. Website traffic has tripled. Our open rates and click through rates are ahead of publishing benchmarks. But there is still more to be done.
One thing we have learned is to not be complacent. So, we are not patting ourselves on the back. We will conduct another Audience Survey in early 2022 to see where we stand in Net Promoter Score. We are creating Subscriber Focus Groups to enhance the feedback on our content.
In publishing we often say that “content is king.” That is still true, but customer/subscriber experience is ultimately how we measure our success. The feedback from our stakeholders when compared to benchmarks tells us where we are on the curve. We have chosen to be on the leading edge in our quest to achieve our EVOLVE goal to be the premier success publication and our PARENT goal to be a trusted resource for parenting.
Where is your business on the curve?
Howard Holley is publisher of EVOLVE Magazine and co-founder and chair of TouchPoint Innovative Solutions.