Working with the UK's top glamour models, managing both key agencies and internal teams. It's all in a days work for Clair Porteous.
As Head of Marketing for Men's Lifestyle Titles at IPC Ignite the 32-year-old has been responsible for the relaunch of the original 'lad's mag' Loaded and the most successful launch ever for an IPC Media title, Nuts.
Clair's career path saw her starting out in consultancy before moving onto publishing. A spell in radio saw her working for ITN and GWR before she made the move into on-line at 1,2, Snap and the Chrysalis owned Rivals.net. In 2002 she jumped ship to Loaded magazine as Marketing Manager.
On her arrival, the concept of marketing had not gone much further than cover mounts and she was faced with the task of introducing a professional marketing strategy for the first time.
“There was a real need to win over the editorial team to the value of marketing by educating and informing them but in plain speak rather than in marketing jargon,” Clair explains.
She introduced research to ensure the cover mounts were bang on target for the magazine's readership and entered into new strategic partnerships with MTV, the Daily Star and Galaxy Radio – a key element of marketing when budgets were tight. The irreverence of the brand also leant itself to some excellent PR coverage.
Plans for Nuts were conceived six months before the 2003 launch with a brief of launching 'the most successful title in the history of IPC'.
The magazine was to be the first of its kind introducing a new sector into the men's magazine market. Research had shown the need for the product but there were no guarantees how it would be accepted.
Clair adds, “Success was crucial. Failure would not see Time Warner investing further in new titles.
With a substantial budget of millions the launch campaign was handled by Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO, Walker Media and Resonate PR, together with research from Human Capital and NOP.
Clair says, “We only had a dummy and an insight into the product but still had to come up with a campaign. In terms of the high level of awareness we wanted to generate, TV was the only option but after looking at aspects of the Heat and Closer launch campaigns that had worked we also invested in press, on-line and outdoor (London Underground).”
The creative concept had to be engaging and successfully persuade readers to buy a men's lifestyle title weekly for the first time.
The creative premise was the magazine was so consuming for men that women had to do male traditional activity with hilarious consequences under the strap line 'Women don't expect any help on Tuesday'.
Two treatment 'drill' and 'bonnet' of the creative were tested and as a consequence – Johnny Vaughan was used as 'the voice' of the time while music was taken from popular men's movie 'The Great Escape'.
The launch saw 1.18 million sampled copies. Retail investment saw the use of window displays, in-store branding, dump bins, Nuts at point of sale and the use of promo girls.
On-line marketing took the creative on all platforms with a coherent message. PR also helped to position the title as 'the voice of young men'. Social trend surveys about men and cookery, and women who they secret fancied gave media new insights.
Clair adds, “There was so such hype surrounding this new title that maximum PR was achieved with minimum effort.”
The result has been the most successful launch ever for IPC in terms of awareness, market share and profitability.
The magazine was ahead of the game from the start – EMAP owned Zoo hit the streets one week later. Today two out of five men's magazine purchases is a copy of Nuts while the magazine outsells Zoo by just under two-million over the last ABC period.
Future plans now see tight budgets working to retain market leadership and levels of awareness making the relationship with the market critical. Below the line activity includes club nights, a football tournament and a tie-in with It Box an in-pub games console. The website continues to receive 12.9 million page impressions.
Clair's tips for working with agencies:
• Work with agencies in an honest and collaborative manner.
• You may be paying them but respect them as colleagues. They are there to help you achieve a common goal.
• Give them access to research and knowledge so they have the information they need. Information is both knowledge and power
• Involve them. Because they are not in-house it's important for them to know when there has been a success with the magazine – a successful ABC, or headline grabbing PR coverage.
• Be clear about your objectives and direction and consistency provide guidance. If you are unhappy about something tell them and the reasons why.
• Take advantage of their skills in various fields where you may lack experience.
• Listen and learn.
Clair's tips for other marketers:
• Create a budget plan with clear time lines.
• Keep your work in perspective and try to have a sense of humour. It's not a life or death situation.
• Be prepared to work long hours when needs be.
• Hire the best. Trust them but guide them.
• Manage your budget even down to the pennies.
• Communicate effectively across the business in all departments.
• Research, research, research!
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