Corner Office: Maria Rodale on Thriving in Times of Change
Has Rodale's audience growth been based on a lot of data initiatives?
Data is a huge part of our direct book business and magazine circulation business. We have a really strong data analytics group, but the growth has been happening really through organic growth through social media and mobile and people sharing.
One of the reasons the publishing industry has struggled so much is the traditional view of church and state, where edit doesn't mess with marketing and sales, and sales and marketing doesn't mess with edit. But in the social media universe, everybody has to do a little bit of everything. Every editor is a marketing person, and every single person has to be looking at what's working, what's not working. One of the great things is we have that data now as editors. Before you'd put together an issue and you'd measure by the response of letters you'd get in the mail, and usually they're billing complaints. Now you can see, "Oh my God, 4,000 people retweeted that tweet," or "This article got thousands of Facebook likes."
What's your plan for the continued growth of Rodale?
I feel like we've got a diverse amount of businesses now. Now we need to just grow and evolve those businesses to their full extent. I think there's a lot more we can do with events. There's a lot more we can do with ecommerce -- scaling it up, expanding it to each of our brands, and developing private label products. There's a lot more we can do with books and magazines. There's a lot more we can do digitally.
Denis Wilson was previously content director for Target Marketing, Publishing Executive, and Book Business, as well as the FUSE Media and BRAND United summits. In this role, he analyzed and reported on the fundamental changes affecting the media and marketing industries and aimed to serve content-driven businesses with practical and strategic insight. As a writer, Denis’ work has been published by Fast Company, Rolling Stone, Fortune, and The New York Times.