New market sounds like ‘opportunity’. The scale may vary from market to market, but it all depends on how a publication plans to draw benefit out of them. Earlier, entering a new market used to be a big gamble, as planning wasn’t logical enough and decision-making was more on gut feel rather than ground realities. There are instances when despite boardroom meetings and lots of planning on paper, the publication failed to attract readers in the new market, whereas in other cases, publications toppled the existing toppers within weeks of launch in a new market.
Fortunately, methodical research has made things easier. Planning can be more pragmatic and elaborate. Entering a new market is now more of a calculated risk than a gamble. The only challenge is most optimal execution of a good plan. This is what makes the difference. Before entering a new market, a publication needs to work on the following seven points:
Demographics: It is the first deciding factor. The study of population, households, literacy, primary and secondary languages, dialects, socio-economic status, urban-rural divide may help in defining the scope for a publication and to assess the current print penetration in the market. It could also help gauge level of affluence and the possibility of entering homes.
Psychographics: A publication needs to know the level of acceptability of a new product in the market, how loyal readers are to the existing publications, what motivates them to buy a new product, what is their rationale of subscribing to a newspaper, how evolved is their thought process, how is the lifestyle and value-system of readers, etc. Newspaper reading is a habit and to sway an existing reader-base towards a new publication and to win confidence of new readers is not easy. A solid understanding of the psychographics may change the scenario. It can help define the right time to enter the market, create the right product and ensure sustainability.
Media Consumption Trends: With the advent of various media platforms, the ratio of consumption for print, television, radio, digital, etc., is already thinning out. Therefore, figuring out the media consumption trends of the new market becomes essential. This may vary from region to region, depending upon the demographics and the exposure of the market towards a new medium. The challenges could be to capture one’s share out of the already shrinking portion of print and then to win over the consumption trend of other media.
Potential: Another significant aspect. For some, it may be the most important, deciding factor. ‘Potential’ is what I also call the ‘3 Rs’ – Readers, Resources, Returns. We are into the print business and no business can survive for long without profit. Profit, not only in terms of revenue, but also in terms of subjective achievements, that is, winning readers and engaging the best of resources.
The motive for any publication in a new market is to expand the reader as well as the commercial base.
A strong reader base could only be developed, if the publication invests on best of available resources in the market. Robust infrastructure, run by the best of local human resources, supplemented by equally competent sales force and a firm distribution network may work wonders for any publication in a new market.
Only requisite is… tap the potential. This could be gauged with the analysis of the aforesaid points, existing business scenario, investments coming into the market, government policies, scope of infrastructural growth and influx of migrant populace.
Competition: For existing players, the market share, gap between players and the reasons for it and a simple SWOT (strength, weakness, opportunity and threat) analysis of each of the existing players can help define the way further in the new market.
Strategic Importance: For some, planning may begin from here. One must know where the new market is placed in the strategic map of the publication. Understanding how important, effective and advantageous the new market is in achieving goals of the publication in the long run, may help in making the vision a reality.
Viability: The most crucial thing. Financial viability needs elaborate and prudent assessment. Entering a new market requires huge capital investments and operational expenses; therefore, ascertaining returns to deal with the financial requirements is a must.
How big is the ad market, what is the scope of developing new segments to generate additional revenue, the cover price and commission structure of existing players, investments needed for promotions, etc., may help measure the viability of entering the new market.
I would sum up with an inspiring quote from Claude McDonald that goes: ‘Opportunity is a bird that never perches’.
So, however much a publication learns about a market before entering it, even if it enters with a thorough plan, only those who keep exploring and improvising opportunities continuously will succeed.
(Vinay Chhajlani, Chief Executive Officer, NaiDunia Media.)