About Mumbrella’s 2015 Kickstart Week (and the marketing problem we’re trying to solve)

tim burrowes landscapeMumbrella today launches its Kickstart 2015 Week. Tim Burrowes explains.   

Pinch punch, first of the month…

So you may have seen the news story we’ve just posted about our 2015 Kickstart Week.

Today we drop the paywall for The Source. Tomorrow, we launch Summer School. And on Wednesday, we do something special around next year’s Mumbrella360.

It’s a bit like the world’s most boring advent calendar, isn’t it?


But I’ll let you into a secret. While our purpose is – as always – to help our audience in their working lives and careers – there’s an ulterior motive.

You see, we have a marketing problem. And then it occurred to me that we talk every day to the people best placed to help.

So our initiative with The Source today is aimed at addressing that.

Our problem is this: we think it’s a really good product, but we don’t think we’ve been that great at marketing it.

the sourceWe launched The Source 18 months ago.

It came after we recognised a bit of an unmet need. We used to get a regular trickle of phone calls from people asking if we knew which agency worked with various brands.

Often we were able to help, but we didn’t always have their contact details to hand. And sometimes, we didn’t know the answer.

There was a product in the market already which touched on some of this info, but it was quite expensive.

So about two years ago we began to research and build the product that became The Source. It’s 18 months this week since it launched.

We aimed to offer an affordable pricepoint (from $92 a month) and keep it up to date using a rotating team of five researchers.

We’ve still got a framed piece of paper with some of the names creative agency The Works suggested to us. (In the end, the name The Source rose to the top in both focus groups we conducted and we went with that.)

The Source names The Works

And The Source is already breaking even.

But here’s the problem – we don’t think we’ve nailed the marketing strategy.

unilever sourceIt’s a good product. When people try it, they tend to subscribe. And when they subscribe, they tend to resubscribe.

But we still struggle to explain what the product does when we talk to people about it. I’m nearly 400 words into this piece, and I’m not sure I’ve quite done it yet, have I?

One solution is to give people the chance to try it.

So we do regularly offer a 30-day trial. Like many paywall plays, we take a credit card, and it becomes a subscription if the user doesn’t cancel at the end of that.

And like many paywall plays, handing over the credit card can be a bit of a turn off.

Hence this week’s initiative, of making it open for the next seven days only to anyone who simply supplies their email address.

I’d love people to sample it, because I think many of them will subscribe at the end of the process.

And of course we use all of the opportunities being a sister title to Mumbrella affords us – ads on the site and on our daily email, branding at our events. but I’m not sure that advertising necessarily tells The Source’s story.

So this week’s Kickstart 2015 gives us a chance to not only do a little bit for our readers, but to tap into the wisdom of the crowd. With your indulgence, we’ve got an opportunity to crowd source two things:  industry knowledge and marketing wisdom.

First, industry knowledge. No database is ever complete. So I bet there are gaps – despite covering 1,180 brands, 415 advertisers and 324 agencies, I bet there are plenty we’re not covering yet.

And by opening up The Source, it gives everybody the opportunity to check we’re covering their brand and agencies – and to let us know if not, so it can become a better product.

Camille Alarcon Meet the Marketers_22The Source’s publisher Camille Alarcon is standing by to make amendments as you share anything we’re missing. She’s on camille@focalattractions.com.au.

And the other, bigger, part is marketing wisdom.

So here comes my request. Mumbrella is lucky enough to be read by some of the brightest marketing brains in the business.

So we’d love a little help.

If you were marketing The Source, what would you do?

Please – be brutally honest in the comment thread below. Camille and I are all ears.

Tim Burrowes is the content director of Mumbrella


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