FEATURE: Dig, Ride, get Dirty...

The consumer press has at least as many bicycle-friendly readers as retailers have customers, so why not marry the two in-store? Mark Sutton speaks to the editorial director of Factory Media, Mark Noble, and asks how Factory Media is helping IBDs increase their profits and attract customers in-store…
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FACTORY MEDIA has been going to great lengths to make the cycling press attractive at retail level in the past year. With the launch of ‘retail packages’ and the publication of annual photography issues, as well as marketing campaigns, the aim is to get customers in bike stores to pick up their magazines.
By placing stands on the counter, Factory Media hopes to put money back into the pockets of the industry. The thinking behind the scheme, according to editorial director Mark Noble, is that by giving the customer a reason to visit regularly, the store owner will forge a relationship and thus generate other sales.

He says: “We hope that having a mag on sale will bring in new customers to an IBD. Readers will realise the new mag’s out and trip down to their local and buy the latest issue. Then they may also see something else and buy that. With any luck, it’ll bring in new customers who will become regular customers – that’s the general idea.”
The retail package offered by Factory Media effectively pays for itself, should the store sell its copies. And even if you don’t shift them all, the low cost advertising will, without doubt, pay for itself.

Noble adds: “I’ve no idea how our sales team are paying our wages with this deal, but it seems like a total score to me. As far as I know, this deal is for life, so if I was a bike shop owner, I’d jump on it now.
“Some shops ask ‘what do we do with these unsold copies?’ – and to that I say give your next, new buying customer a free magazine. It’s a very cheap marketing ploy. That new customer will really appreciate a little freebie, take it home, read it, remember the cool shop owner and word of mouth will do the rest. It’s simple and easy marketing.”

Ride BMX Magazine recently published its second annual photo edition, an entire issue based around capturing inspiring shots, which reflect and promote cycling as a sport with a touch of culture.
As Noble explains: “The photo issue is easily one of the best-selling issues of the year, even though it comes out during a slow time of year – early spring – and despite the fact it’s not one of the promoted newsstand issues. We’re stoked about that.”

Noble believes the media plays an enormous part in converting everyday people to dedicated cyclists. He says: “I think it’s paramount – be it in print, or online, or on TV – there’s no doubt in my mind that quality media influences and attracts people to cycling. The recent track success British sprint cyclists have enjoyed has been all over the general media and that’s bound to turn people on to cycling. Whether it be via TV, in the newspapers, or in Sunday supplements, it’s all a boost for cycling, a big influence to converting the curious.”
To attract greater numbers to cycling, the activity must first become attractive. And with cycling being plugged as the answer to many of the nations ills, it seems the media has an easy task, right?

“Our approach to making a magazine is that we need to
put together something that we’d like to take home ourselves at the end of the day and read; something that we’re really proud of, a real team effort – and that’s what the photographers are into doing,” says Noble.
“Our magazines have a little extra edge compared to some other sports magazines out there – a touch of the lifestyle if you like, because we are living it ourselves. Our photographers, too, live the bike life – so it’s bound to be a bit more cultured than just another mag that is put together by people who aren’t interested in the sport.

“I’m sure if we made a mag about snorkelling or anything else it would end up like that – but we’re putting together a mag on a subject we genuinely care about and I hope it shows.”
For more information on Factory Media’s cycling publications (Dirt, Dig and Ride), retail packages and the magazine portfolio call
0207 332 9745 or
alternatively contact lizziwagner@factorymedia.com.
www.dirtmag.co.uk
www.digbmx.com
www.ridebmxmag.co.uk

Meanwhile in Time Out…

Weekly London magazine, Time Out has mucked in with the rest of the cycle press to attract new cyclists via a series of articles...

TIME OUT LONDON devoted much of its April 17th to 23rd edition to cycling in the city. The magazine performed commuter tests, such as which method of crossing the city is fastest and least stressful.
Needless to say, the bike won the race by over 20 minutes and came out as the least expensive and least stressful transport method of all.

Other articles includes a complete letters page, based on points of view mailed to Time Out over the years. The letters displayed points of view, both for and against cycling and the cyclists themselves.
Another is a double-page-spread based around bikes for purpose. Recommendations are made for various styles, including a Pashley Princess for the Classicist, a Kona Fire Mountain suited to all-round riders and the innovative Puma Glow Rider for the style conscious commuter.

All articles were furnished with boxouts detailing opinions, bicycle facts and comparisons between transport. For example, the magazine informed the reader: “twenty bikes can be parked in the space taken up by one car.' Now if that’s not an arguement for cycling, what is?”

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