Saturday, January 20, 2007

Case Study For Moving Target Markets: The Village Voice

A Case Study for moving target markets: The Village Voice

An example of the fluid, moving consumer is the change at the Village Voice. In attempts to go from appealing to the single reader they've fired Rachel Kramer Bussel and replaced her single self with not one but two married moms. With all respect to Rachel, it makes sense to accept that your readership is aging and that children are now a part of their lives.

But the way to make change wasn't full of sense.

Not just 'new', it's a sharp turn to the left that many readers didn't see coming. Many readers just don't know why Rachel's no longer there. They feel a loss ~ and it's not going to feel any better or familiar when they read who is there. It's a pretty big jump to take, married or single.

Problems with change aside, there's one giant problem that the Village Voice should have anticipated: who their readers really are.

That they moved sharply from one stereotype (of the single sexually free woman) to another one of sexless moms. Their readership may be aging and therefore getting married and having kids, but they made an assumption that their aging readership was some version of 1950's parents who slept in separate twin beds ~ not for the sake of TV censors, but due to the realities of limited time and fear of aging issues. Not all people age so, and fans of the Village Voice feel especially that they have not.

While the Village Voice may have been wise to remember their maturing readership, they sure missed the mark when they used old school marketing names and descriptions for consumer types.

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