Targeting the Demo

There's been much written about DC's new Minx imprint set to launch next year, from enthusiasm that there will finally be comics for teenage girls to cynicism that they are doomed to fail to concern that DC's a bit out of touch since such comics already exist and are called manga (which you'd think they already know since they do publish their own line of essentially DOA manga under the CMX imprint).

On basic principle I'm a big fan of a direct market friendly company like DC publishing a wider variety of comics. Whether this initiative will work is anyone's guess, but putting Karen Berger in charge is a good start and the talent they've lined up has me looking forward to reading nearly all of these books. Yeah, yeah, I'm not the target demographic (except in the sense that I place the orders for a fairly progressive direct market comic shop but we'll get back to that in a minute) but we're talking about great creators who will almost certainly produce some marketable content. And to that end, I'm also glad to see that DC is sinking $250,000 into promoting the line, rather than crossing their fingers and hoping their target demo will stumble onto it.

As part of that promotion, DC has enlisted Alloy Media + Marketing, a company that is incredibly effective at marketing books to teen girls via online social networking sites and guerrilla techniques along the lines of book covers and sampling. The question, though, is where these marketing efforts will direct the customers. The answer is most likely nowhere. The guiding principle of advertising is to raise product awareness coupled with offering a competitive advantage. Once that is accomplished it is generally left up to the consumer to determine where best to locate the product (assuming it isn't location specific). Assuming DC and Alloy are successful in their marketing campaign, these new consumers will be heading to the local bookstore to find these titles. Which raises the next question: how will these books be shelved? Is part of that significant marketing budget to secure prime display locations for these titles in chain bookstores in the teen/young adult sections? If not, it probably should be.

Then again, since the marketing efforts will likely lead to an influx of new readers via bookstores, the direct market may not feel much of an impact from this initiative. At MacGuffin, we strive to be new reader friendly but we still have to get those readers in the door. All the same, it's not DC's job to promote one market over another. It's up to the direct market to take advantage of the any new market that's created.


Blogger Leigh Walton said...

The jig is up, guys!

I've figured out the real reason why this imprint is doomed to failure. is already taken.

9:01 PM  
Blogger Leigh Walton said...

But seriously, "Is part of that significant marketing budget to secure prime display locations for these titles in chain bookstores in the teen/young adult sections?" Unless Warner executives are complete idiots, the answer is yes.

Not that I don't believe corporate executives can be complete idiots. But not when it comes to leaving this much money on the table.

And I think Karen & Shelley know what time it is. They've seen the library association meetings; they've watched Scholastic and Random House move into comics; they've seen Naruto sell five figures per week and swallow the Bookscan chart whole. And from the looks of it, they've finally committed to grabbing a piece of that pie. Here's hoping they can do it right.

9:18 PM  

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