This paper provides a written analysis on the marketing strategies used by the local traveling magazine – “Hong Kong Discovery” of how it uses marketing and promotional tools to survive in the competitive magazine world. This is the only commercialized magazine concerning hiking and natural environment in Hong Kong, as it is new and unique with less interested groups comparing with magazines of other genre, therefore, marketing strategies are especially important for them, in order to attract consumers attention, and many of the promotional tools it use is much different from other types of magazine available in Hong Kong and the association between the magazine and the non-profit organization make it more success, this is interesting to investigate and arouse my interest. These are the reasons of choosing this particular magazine in doing this essay.
The “Hong Kong Discovery” Magazine began in November 2000(appendix 2), published by a non-profit organization having the same name as “Hong Kong Discovery”(appendix 1). As it is the first commercial hiking magazine about Hong Kong, it is supposed to be the pioneer and market leader of this genre. By that time, the Hong Kong Government began to promote ecological and cultural tourism (HongKongGovernment,1999) and that exactly why this magazine appeared in order to show the natural beauty and helps to promotion eco-cultural tourism.
Secondly, Hong Kong has a high capacity of being an excellent site of eco-tourism as 40% of the land area is designated as country park, and the SAR supports a rich diversity of wildlife(HongKongGovernment,1999), therefore”Hong Kong Discovery” Magazine also act as an introductory material to satisfy the needs and wants of the society. With the honorable natural reserve and helps of Government promotion, people begins to have more environmental awareness, the growing market for ecotourism and its linkage between environmental organizations makes “Hong Kong Discovery” the most successful publication among its genre.
2.2 Goals and Objectives The primary goal of such magazine is to arouse public awareness on environmental issue such as pollution and destruction and asking others to protect the nature other than just for fun and interest. They believe their commercial success depends upon the growing market for health and higher living standard of people and the natural environment is the main concern. Their short-term marketing plan is to provide a distinctive, high-quality publication to excite contemporary tastes of target readers and the long-term marketing plan is building up a strong relation to customers especially in the field of hiking and eco-tourism(appendix 3).
2.3 Target Market Generally speaking, every individual in the Hong Kong or overseas with a middle class status can be considered a potential consumer. It aimed to target outdoor enthusiasts, especially who interested in climbing and hiking. By a recent research in 2003(appendix 3), 71% of the viewers are in the medium to high income levels, with 61% indicating they had secondary education or higher.
The Hong Kong Discovery magazine is quite academic other than just for interest as it came across serious issue on promoting the natural beauty, environmental protection and eco-tourism with several scientific researches inside(appendix 4), therefore its target readers are supposed to be the educated middle class, skilled working class and some upper middle class people because these people are more likely to concern the natural environment and affordable to pay for the magazine.
The target age group is from the mid-twenty to sixty or higher and the loyal customers are around 35 to 49 who are established in their job market and who are starting families as routine readers, it not much focus on gender, both male and female are welcomed. Education level is also not the main concern as everyone can buy if they want but usually higher than secondary school, the essay written in the magazine is bilingual, and thus attract overseas tourists or local foreigner hikers as well, from the research , we know that 12% of readers are foreigners (appendix 3).
3. Marketing Mix Marketing theory is made up of the 4-Ps, Product, Place, Price and Promotion 3.1 Product The name of the magazine is “Hong Kong Discovery”, it is a bi-monthly magazine published by a non-profit organization which inherit the same name as “Hong Kong Discovery”. Thus the major target groups are the members of such organization, or non-members that interest in hiking or natural environment.
Each issue composes of a 100-pages main issue with 2 supplementary booklets(appendix 5), one mainly about outdoor equipments for example stylish hiking boot or valise, while another introduces hiking destinations. It is bilingual and therefore target not only local residents but also citizens. It also published a composed volume collection (appendix 6) for a particular period, each consist of 6 issue and only this magazine offer volume collection among all genre of local published magazines.
Consider the magazine name “Hong Kong Discovery”, it gives readers the impression that there is something in Hong Kong that is unique, mysterious, mostly neglected and needs to be discovery, this arouse reader interest and make them think how Hong Kong is so mysterious, this initiate customers to buy one to find out the answer. This is supposed to be a product-lead publication but not consumer-lead as it the pioneer magazine of such a genre that not just satisfy the market needs and wants but also aimed at promoting a specific idea which shows the natural beauty of Hong Kong, this magazine also give warning to public that environmental awareness is very important and people should protect the environment, otherwise the natural beauty will be eliminated by pollution. Its linkage between the professional organizations increase the truthful image and accuracy of the magazine which always attract people with high education level to buy the product. As it is product-lead, professional image is very important.
The cover design of the magazine also show its uniqueness, unlike youth magazines, it is lack of exotic, exaggerated or arbitrary slogans to sustain its professional image, instead it use beautiful pictures showing mountains, stream or beaches to give reader a harmonious feeling, this give a room for Hong Kong people escape from hustling reality and one the other hand attract them to buy for relaxing their mind.
Focusing on the content of the magazine, it composes of about 100 pages which half of them are advertisements, this can conclude that the main source of income of such magazine is from advertising. In order to maintain the professional image of such magazine, the advertisements are mostly about outdoor equipments for example hiking boot or valise, the articles inside are news about pollution and environmental issue, and articles are written by experience climbers, hikers and travelers, this also helps to increase its professional image.
3.2 Price The price of such magazine is HK$28 each and the composed volume is collection HK$188 each. This is about twice the price of some local youth and public affair magazine and is comparatively expensive for full-time students and low-income citizens, however, the target group of this magazine are local hikers and foreign tourists who generally belonged middle class and are mature citizens with their own occupations and affordable to pay such a price if they are interested.
As it is associated with an non-profit organization, it offers 90% discounts to members who buy the magazine, it results in a join promotion which on one hand boost the selling of magazine and one the other hand attract more members joining their organization. Apart from the targeted readers, the magazine also has strategies to attract non-members, it offer a lower price for online subscriptions generally 90-95% discounts depends on how much customers ordered.
The “Hong Kong Discovery” Association also hold a price cutting campaign either buy 2 get 1 free or 90-95% discount each year in the Hong Kong Book Fair and that will also attract non-members’ attention. According to the recent sales statistics(appendix 3), the magazine generally sales 300,000 copies per issue and they obtain the greatest sales during the Hong Kong Book Fair period.