Top Trades 2006: Interior Design

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Interior Design

Company: Reed Business Information 2005 revenue: $34.5 million 2004 revenue: $29.4 million Revenue growth: 17% Circulation: 70,000

While many trade titles were suffering from double-digit declines in ad pages earlier this decade, Interior Design's ad pages were pretty flat, which at the time was considered the new "up" for b-to-b magazines.

Still, the publication needed to shake things up, said Mark Strauss, VP-publisher of Interior Design . So it embarked on a major overhaul, culminating with a comprehensive redesign in 2004. It upgraded the paper stock, created its own type face and significantly boosted investment in four-color photography.

"We went from black-and-white and `trady' looking to cool and exciting throughout the book," Strauss said. "We [now] have a more consumer look, because that's the market we serve: professional designers who are visual."

But the editorial changes went well beyond cosmetics. Around the time that the magazine started to work on the redesign, Strauss began to cultivate specific market segments to help grow its advertising base.

"As beautiful as we are, I believe in the fundamentals," he said. "So we diversified."

New markets brought into the fold included hospitality, environmentally sensitive design, kitchen/bath and workplace. New advertisers, such as Hunter Douglas and Kohler & Cos., quickly followed. "The core function of the Interior Design reader is to buy stuff. So we tend to be closer to the value proposition of the manufacturers," Strauss said.

The various changes have paid off. In 2004, Interior Design's circulation rose to 70,000 from 55,000. What's more, many of the magazine's mainstay advertisers, such as Steelcase and Mohawk Carpets, upped their frequency.

"Our reader is the person who decides what goes into a hotel or the office you're sitting in right now," Strauss said. "The ads are what help readers do their jobs, and now that we have a bigger, thicker magazine, it works even better."

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