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Launching a product in publishing

How to choose your format?
Maison Moderne started 25 years ago with “Explorator” an annual guide, which was the easiest thing to do since I launched the company alone. So an annual pace lined up with what I was able to deliver.

What time-to-market?
Things moved very quickly from the idea to the first issue. Of course I needed enough time to produce it, but the time-to-market to find the information, find clients was only a couple of months. Then there was the time to publish it, but it took no more than 9 months or so.

How many copies?
It’s best to think big when you’re launching something so we thought pretty big… distribution in Luxembourg told us it might be over the top, but we said “no problem, we’re gonna push, we’re gonna push” For our launch, we had a fantastic collaboration with many medias in Luxembourg, who helped us out because we were youngsters starting up an annual guide without any competition, we weren’t much of a threat.

How to proceed?
I would say intuition, because I had published a few small magazines in the past in semi-professional mode and I had a client base, I had readers I felt there was a need on the market. The publishing and press market wasn’t nearly as busy back then, With the European Year of Culture approaching, there was a certain enthusiasm for novelty, and that’s how we got started. There wasn’t much theorizing, not much of a business plan. I would say it was a very humble venture.

Your early strategy?
The initial strategy was to come out with something good, that firstly would appeal to readers, with a firm conviction that: once you have readers, advertisers will follow. Work first with readers in mind: when you have a large number of qualified readers, everything else falls into place. It’s tempting to cater to advertisers first, who often bring in a lot more money than the readers, even though the reader buys Explorator. We sold out the very first issue so it was working very well, but that was our only strategy, to have a reason to exist because the readership was interested.