Monday, June 1, 2009

How The New York Times Does Business

This, it seems to me, is a brilliant way to conduct business. From the June 1, 2009 The New Yorker, in an article titled "Slim's Time," about Carlos Slim and his effort to purchase The New York Times:
"In my early days as an editor, I had someone explain to me the marketing strategy of the Times," [executive editor Bill] Keller recalled. "What most newspapers do when they want to expand is to conduct a survey of people who don't read their paper and ask, 'What would make you like our paper better? What could we change to appeal to you?' Then they go out and add the advice column or the comic strip--whatever it was that the nonreader said he wanted. The Times' approach was to go find our most loyal readers--who say they couldn't live without it, they read it every day--and to profile those people. Who are they? The strategy was to find more people like that, to define ourselves demographically, not geographically. The whole marketing apparatus was out there looking for people who want what we're doing. The commitment to solid journalism wasn't just a slogan. It was a sound business proposition."
The confidence the Times has in its product is amazing. They know they have the best product in the field, and they just try to find more people who would appreciate what they have to offer.

Figure out what you do well, and focus on that. Don't water down yourself or your product. Sound advice.

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