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Niche Publisher, Today’s Bride, has been successfully engaging its audience for 25+ years

Written by Nick Pataro

Published: 03/16/2015

MagHub was presented with the unique opportunity to interview one of the most well-known bridal magazines in the midwest, Today’s Bride. What we didn’t know, and probably neither did you, was that Today’s Bride has been around for 26 years and has been on the cutting edge of technology ever since the magazine launched a website in 1996. During its first year of online business, the site was highlighted as a Yahoo top website of the week and since then Today’s Bride’s success has only continued.

We had the chance to talk with one of the magazine’s founders, Jim Frericks, about how Today’s Bride got started and the strategies they’ve employed for success since then. We also spoke to Denise Wright, Today’s Bride Social Media & Content Stylist. You’ll see our conversation with her in part two of the interview, to be published later this week.

MagHub: How did you get into publishing? Tell us about your career.
Jim Frericks: Today’s Bride Magazine & Shows was created out of necessity in 1989 when my wife, Denise Frericks, and I were planning our Akron, Ohio wedding. At the time, bridal trends and styles that were popular in other parts of the country typically took a year to migrate to the Northeast Ohio wedding market. We felt there was a real need to create a how-to wedding magazine for local couples, as well for local companies to market themselves regionally.
After our wedding celebration, we both wanted to own our own business. We were driven by the need for a localized wedding magazine to begin publishing Today’s Bride with myself selling the advertisements and Denise running the day to day business operations. Like our nuptials, it was a match made in heaven.

MagHub: Can you tell me about Today’s Bride in its current state?
JF: Today’s Bride is a full-service, multi-platform bridal marketing and consulting firm that connects Northeast Ohio brides to businesses through print (Today’s Bride Magazine), Internet (TodaysBride.com), and trade shows (Today’s Bride Shows). Staffed by eight full-time employees, Today’s Bride is the highly-touted regional wedding expert in the Greater Cleveland, Akron, Canton, and Youngstown area.

MagHub: What are your thoughts about the publishing industry at this point?
JF: While I see trouble for general-interest publications and newspapers, niche publications continue to do well, particularly bridal, from my experience. Even when the economy isn’t up, it doesn’t stop people from getting married and that’s partly why we’ve continued to have success. The hard part has been educating clients (advertisers) on the investigative purchasing process of today’s bride-to-be. While my clients and I continue to grow older, our customer base is always 25-38 years old. As such, we need to change, adapt and keep thinking like a 25-38 year-old because they’re not going to conform to our sales process. Today’s Bride has done very well at evolving over the years to meet the wants, needs and desires of this age-consistent customer base by hiring young passionate women. With the insight of our employees into our target market, my role has transitioned to that of a consultant to help our advertisers understand their market.

MagHub: Has your target market, brides, changed since you started the business?
JF: This generation has never had to wait for anything! They’ve been born and raised with computers, the internet, cable TV, cell phones, digital music, etc. They pursue instant gratification, demanding instant satisfaction on their immediate desires or they’ll move on to another business to satisfy their wants or needs. As a result, this generation is not as brand or business loyal as previous generations. Instead of attempting to create loyalty, we realize that brides are buying from companies they’ve probably never bought from before and will probably never buy from again, and we aim to put our advertisers in the right place at the right time.

MagHub: How has this changed the way your advertisers choose where their dollars go?
JF: Because this generation doesn’t maintain brand or business loyalty, I see companies that used to rely on referral business and reputation struggling to understand why they’re losing market share. While I continue to explain this new dynamic, these businesses have the misguided belief that “print is dead” when nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, it’s just the opposite. Today’s Bride had its most successful year with print in 2014.

However, the purpose of print advertising today is NOT to generate an initial telephone call, which comes much later in the sales process. The purpose of print advertising is to ultimately get the reader to the company’s website. Brides today are more comfortable learning about a business through its website, almost never talking directly to the business in the initial phase of info gathering. Only after the bride is satisfied with what she has learned from the website will she call or, more than likely, e-mail. In my experience, the bride-to-be has already narrowed her choices down to the select businesses to spend her money with when she makes contact. We advise our advertisers on this when they purchase ads.

MagHub: What’s your primary channel of selling advertising in today’s world?  

JF: While I pine for the “old days” of face-to-face appointments, telephone conversations and out-of-the office cold calling, today’s younger generation of decision makers, particularly in the wedding industry, prefer e-mail correspondence, which is now my relevant way of selling advertising.

Remember to stay tuned later this week for the second half of this interview featuring Today’s Bride Social Media & Content Stylist, Denise Wright. We spoke to Denise about the importance of social media in developing relationships with the publication’s target market.


POSTED BY Nick Pataro , to contact click here.

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