Newsletter Publishing Business Plan
The Infotext Strategy Letter is the core element of a monthly subscription service including the newsletter and website privileges. This is an expansion project for us. It will serve our business in several ways:
- Establish and validate the expertise.
- Generate visibility, leads, additional consulting clients.
- Offer an additional source of revenue.
This business plan focuses on the newsletter as if it were a separate entity. It is confidential, to be used internally as a guide to this new business expansion within our existing business.
- 300 subscribers by the end of the first year, 1,000 by the end of the third year.
- 65% renewals.
- Cancellations of no more than 10%.
1.2 Keys to Success
- Excellence in fulfilling the promise – completely confidential, reliable, trustworthy expertise and information.
- Developing visibility to generate new business leads.
- Leveraging from a single pool of expertise into multiple revenue generation opportunities – the newsletter and subscription website, retainer consulting, project consulting, market research, and market research published reports.
The Infotext Strategy Letter provides high-tech marketers with important news, insights, advance notice of trends, case studies, and pragmatic real world advice about developments related to the worldwide marketing of high-tech products. It includes a monthly newsletter delivered electronically and an information archive delivered on the World Wide Web as a password-protected secure site.
For this internal expansion plan the details of our company are not relevant. We do intend to develop this new business, if approved, using a balance of one in-house salary and outside vendors for editing and some significant production work.
2.1 Start-up Summary
What’s important to understand is that this expansion requires some internal investment. We will need some legal work, some computer equipment, and office space. We also have to support the cash flow involved in hiring our main person, and the working capital involved in getting this business rolling.
The related services include the Infotext Strategy Letter, to be delivered monthly, and the Infotext website, which is available to subscribers.
3.1 Service Description
The Newsletter: Our target subscriber wants timely information about new developments in high-tech channel marketing including technology changes, economic trends, ideas and innovations, case studies, and interviews with industry leaders. We need to find the news that’s useful and relevant, but buried. Our subscriber is paying us $500 per year to find what’s important, and streamline their work of staying up to date with what’s going on and what’s new. The time function is a critical selling point – our subscriber saves time, but has the reassurance of knowing what’s going on.
The Website: The website contains archives of past articles, reports gathered from the rest of Acme Consulting, audio with interviews, and compilation of links, related information, etc. It is a valuable resource that contributes to the value of the subscription.
3.2 Competitive Comparison
The competition comes in several forms:
- [Name omitted] – The quintessential high-tech newsletter, the one that others imitate. We won’t go straight up against this, because we have a different focus, narrowed more on the channels and marketing of high technology. This one should have a website attached to the subscription, but doesn’t.
- [Name omitted] – Like us, with a direct link to management consulting. They have built the website add-on very much like what we propose, but the newsletter is too general and fails to provide vital, focused information.
- The third general kind of competitor is the international market research company: International Data Corporation (IDC), Dataquest, Stanford Research Institute, etc. These companies are formidable competitors for published market research and market forums, and most of them also provide website information and newsletter subscriptions.
- The fourth kind of competition is the market-focus specific smaller house. For example: ChannelCorp in Vancouver BC, Channel Marketing in the US.
The key fulfillment and delivery will be provided by a newsletter and website editor-in-chief who will be responsible for the content. The newsletter will be delivered monthly. The subscribers can choose whether they want email delivery or hard copy delivery or both. The hard copy must be very well produced, edited, and always on time.
We will turn to qualified vendors for freelance back-up in editing and production.
The website will be built on Cold Fusion structure, to facilitate content management. Our editor will be qualified to manage the website through work with third-party vendors.
The newsletter will be developed in Windows using Adobe products and delivered as an html newsletter, Adobe Acrobat document, or hard-copy newsletter.
Complete desktop publishing facilities are an obvious necessity.
Market Analysis Summary
The Infotext Strategy Letter will be focusing on high-technology manufacturers of computer hardware and software, services, and networking, who want to sell into markets in the United States, Europe, and Latin America. These are mostly larger companies, and occasionally medium-sized companies.
Our most important group of potential customers are executives in larger corporations. These are marketing managers, general managers, sales managers, sometimes charged with international focus and sometimes charged with market or even specific channel focus. They do not want to waste their time or risk their money looking for bargain information or questionable expertise. As they go into markets looking at new opportunities, they are very sensitive to risking their company’s name and reputation.
4.1 Market Segmentation
Large manufacturer corporations – Our most important market segment is the large manufacturer of high-technology products, such as Apple, Hewlett-Packard, IBM, Microsoft, Siemens, or Olivetti. These companies will be calling on Acme for development functions that are better spun off than managed in-house, for market research, and for market forums.
Medium-sized growth companies – Particularly in software, multimedia, and some related high-growth fields, Acme will offer an attractive development alternative to the company that is management constrained and unable to address opportunities in new markets and new market segments.
4.2 Service Business Analysis
The newsletter “industry” is pulverized and disorganized, with thousands of smaller information vendors for every one of the few dozen well-known companies.
Newsletter publishers range from major international name-brand consulting and marketing research companies to dozens of individual experts.
4.2.1 Business Participants
There are some newsletters published by well-established major names in management consulting. Some of these are by accounting companies (e.g. Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu, PricewaterhouseCoopers) and some from management consulting (McKinsey, Bain). These newsletters tend to exist as marketing programs related to developing consulting leads. < P>
At the intermediate level are some function-specific or market-specific newsletters, many of them published by the market research firms (IDC, Dataquest) or channel development firms (ChannelCorp, Channel Strategies, ChannelMark).
Some newsletters are little more than adventuring by experts who want to market their expertise while temporarily out of work. There are however some long-term expertise-based newsletters put out by individuals, that nonetheless manage to earn long-term branding as high quality publications.
4.2.2 Distributing a Service
Newsletters, like consulting, will be sold and purchased mainly on a word-of-mouth basis, with relationships and previous experience being, by far, the most important factor.
The major name-brand newsletters have developed marketing programs involving direct mail, email, etc. They also work hard at searcher placement for their websites, and distribute in some cases through industry associations, business associations, Chambers of Commerce and industry, etc.
One of our advantages, we believe, will be the distribution through hard copy and/or email, at the subscriber’s option.
4.2.3 Competition and Buying Patterns
The key element in purchase decisions made at the Acme client level is trust in the professional reputation and reliability of the consulting firm behind the newsletter. Reliable delivery, on-time delivery, and valuable content are all vital. Our make or break will be whether or not the subscribers read the newsletter and/or use the website.
4.2.4 Main Competitors
The high-level prestige newsletters:
Strengths: International locations managed by owner-partners with a high level of presentation and understanding of general business. Enviable reputations which make purchase of newsletters an easy decision for a manager, often without regard to prices.
Weaknesses: General business knowledge doesn’t substitute for the specific market, channel, and distribution expertise of our newsletter, focusing on high-technology markets and products only.
The international market research companies’ newsletters:
Strengths: International offices, specific market knowledge, permanent staff developing market research information on permanent basis, good relationships with potential subscriber companies.
Weaknesses: Market numbers are not marketing, not channel development nor market development. Although these companies compete for some of the business our newsletter is after, they cannot really offer the same level of business understanding at a high level.
Market specific or function specific newsletters:
Strengths: Expertise in market or functional areas. Acme should not try to compete with [name omitted] or [name omitted] in their markets with market research, or with ChannelCorp in channel management.
Weaknesses: The inability to spread beyond a specific focus, or to rise above a specific focus, to provide actual management expertise, experience, and wisdom beyond the specifics.
4.3 Target Market Segment Strategy
As indicated by the previous table and chart, we must focus on a few thousand well-chosen potential subscribers in the United States, Europe, and Latin America. These few thousand high-tech manufacturing companies are the key customers for Acme.
Magazine Publisher Sample Business Plan
Starting out as a magazine publisher will require a business plan similar to this one.
Magazine Publisher Business Plan
The Group Publishing, Inc. (Group Publishing) is the publisher of “Artists In Business” magazine. The magazine, which has already printed an initial issue in July/August 1996 is directed at artists at all levels of business throughout the United States. The management of Group Publishing is targeting a total combined circulation of “Artists In Business” of 206,000 in year one, increasing to 310,000 by the end of year three. The magazine will be published bi-monthly with increased press runs throughout the first three years. Sample distribution, organizational sales, and direct mail to targeted lists of artists will be utilized to build subscriptions.
In addition, Group Publishing will market books via direct marketing and through established artist distribution channels. The direct marketing of Group Publishing books will be implemented through its magazine readership base.
Publishing is a high profit and high margin business. The key to success is successful marketing. The Group has a highly focused multi-dimensional sales and marketing plan to build its total circulation base quickly. The same channels and methods were utilized to establish a circulation of 500,000 in the first year for the Visionary Artist’s periodical.
Successful execution of The Group’s plan will produce sales revenues of $3.1 million in year one, $4.8 million in year two, and $6.4 million in year three. Net profit will increase steadily over the next three years.
The highlights of the business plan are illustrated in the following chart. Sales, margins, and net profit increase each year. The lowest margins occur in year one, reflecting the marketing costs of building the circulation base.
The initial objectives of The Group are as follows:
- To raise seed capital of $150,000 to ensure publication by month two and to establish a cash reserve to market subscriptions.
- To have 90,000 subscribers by the end of year one through direct sampling and marketing.
- To have an additional 50,000 subscribers by the end of year one through organizational sales.
- To have 10,000 more two-year subscriptions sold.
- To publish two 36 page issues initially with press runs of 50,000 promotional copies each.
- To go to 48 pages by issue number three and increase press runs to 75,000 promotional copies.
- Increase to 100,000 promotional copies in issues five and six.
- Increase average ad page cost from $1,819 to $2,618 by the end of the first year.
- To sell an average of 17.5 ad pages per issue throughout year one.
“Artists In Business” magazine is for the artist who is a worker at any level. The magazine has a commitment to be a platform to profile artists who are representing artistic vision in the marketplace and who can both encourage and provide role models to other men and women. Group Publishing, through its magazine, books, and editorial content, will be a vessel to inform artists about artistic principles in everyday business and will encourage interaction among artists as business people. Our mission is to promote the concept of “community” in the workplace.
1.3 Keys to Success
The keys to success are:
- Attaining targeted circulation levels.
- Controlling costs while spending the maximum on subscription marketing in year one.
- Carefully monitoring response rates of all media executions.
- Follow-on marketing of two to four book titles in the first year.
- Attaining targeted advertising sales revenues.
- Having quality editorial content in each issue.
- Making all production and distribution dates in a timely fashion for each issue.
Group Publishing, Inc. began as a joint concept between two avocational artists, Red Brushwielder, an advertising executive, and Thallos Green, a former insurance executive and the owner of the “Artists In Business” name. Mr. Green will promote “Artists In Business” as a radio program for syndication (a separate business entity).
Mr. Green is licensing the “Artists In Business” name to The Group Publishing, Inc. for the sum of $1 (one dollar). Mr. Green will also receive one page of advertising at no charge in each and every issue of the magazine and one page of editorial in each issue (as the founder of the magazine). It is expected that the radio show produced by Mr. Green will be a powerful promotional vehicle for the magazine.
Group Publishing will have exclusive rights to “Artists In Business” for all print media, electronic media (Internet home page, CD-ROM, Interactive Publications, etc.), catalogue business, and possible seminars and workshops devoted to the artistic business person.
2.1 Start-up Summary
Equity investment in the company is now being made available to outside investors for the first time. The purpose of this investment is to raise the needed “seed” capital to launch the magazine. An initial Private Placement offering to raise from $150K to $375K is in progress. The minimum amount of the offering would be sufficient to publish the first new issue in 1997. Money raised in excess of the minimum will enable full-scale sampling and marketing of subscriptions. It is possible that no further investment may be needed. However, it cannot be assured that additional capital will not be required in the future or that sufficient capital will be available to continue publication.
2.2 Company Ownership
Red Brushwielder is the founder of The Group Publishing, Inc. a newly formed Southwest “C” corporation. He currently owns all its stock.
2.3 Company Locations and Facilities
The Group Publishing, Inc. has current offices at 1234 Main Street, Anytown, GA. 30000 The phone # is … and the fax # is …. The office is fully equipped and functional. It is not anticipated that expanded facilities will be needed for the first few years of the plan. All business, management and editorial functions will be performed there. All printing, mailing, warehousing, and fulfillment is outsourced.
The Group Publishing will publish “Artists In Business” magazine. The magazine is high gloss, 48 pages, contemporary in look and appeal. Quality art content is the constant goal. The magazine will be entertaining and newsworthy and thought-provoking. It will appeal to a broad artist readership. No magazine like it is available today.
The Group Publishing will also publish softcover and hardcover books. Certain titles will be published in softcover “trade” size. Others (called “booklets” in this plan) will be similar to “paperback” size. Contemporary Arts themes will prevail, particularly those that deal with the demands placed on both business and family life by today’s business climate.
Market Analysis Summary
The target market is broadly based and is defined as the artist business person at all levels in any organization.
Market segments are defined by organizational affiliation.
Media strategy and execution may vary by segment.
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