Selzer & Company, Inc.

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West Des Moines, Iowa 50265-4632
Phone: 515.271.5700
Selzer & Company, Inc.Selzer & Company, Inc. Case Studies - Magazines

How can you transform your product without alienating your loyal base?


Just because a group is easier for you to reach doesn't mean it is your best audience.


Iowa Conservationist was the magazine for the Iowa Department of Natural Resources. It was promoted primarily to Iowans who bought hunting and fishing licenses, and the circulation outlook was bleak. With new editors on board, the department wondered if they had more to lose by expanding the mission of the magazine to serve new readers, or more to gain. The editorial staff feared diluting their message and turning off current readers by initiating large-scale changes without knowing how their current and potential audiences might respond.

We conducted a series of focus groups around the state with both traditional readers and other potential audiences the magazine wanted to attract. The goal of these groups was to get at the "why" and "how" of their thinking-several steps beyond the "what" of their visceral likes and dislikes.

Focus group participants helped clarify that the two seemingly competing areas of emphasis for the new version of the magazine-traditional conservation issues and outdoor recreation-were actually highly compatible. If you enjoy the outdoors, you will want to preserve it. If you care about the environment, you want to know how to take care of it.

The staff responded enthusiastically to the insights gleaned from these groups. Subscriptions in the two months following the unveiling of the new product jumped dramatically, and bookstores began contacting the agency to find out how to carry the magazine in their stores.


Guided by focus group feedback, editors and designers revised the layout and some content of the magazine. In the process, they renamed it to better reflect its expanded mission. The focus groups gave editors confidence they could successfully introduce new content while still serving the core audience.

Selzer & Company, Inc.
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