There are plenty of magazines targeting the affluent, but there's been some room for titles with editorial orbiting around lifestyles associated with specific job segments. Athletes Quarterly, a lifestyle title for current and former professional athletes, launched in 2010. Doubledown Media, before it flamed out in 2009, helped Wall Street traders figure out where to spend their bonuses.
More recently, Physicians' Life—an upscale lifestyle title for doctors—will be launching in May. The difference here, however, is the magazine is backed by Slack Inc., a publisher that's noted for its professional medical media, not consumer titles. The new magazine is the company's first stab at lifestyle content and it's going in big.
Slack Inc.'s portfolio includes medical journals, newspapers, allied health books and digital products that reach a database of more than 400,000 physicians.
Eighteen months ago, senior leadership brainstormed new product ideas and CFO Darrell Blood, who's married to a doctor, floated the lifestyle concept. "It's an idea you don't always get from a CFO," says Peter Slack, president and CEO of Slack Inc. parent company Wyanoke Group. "But physicians' lives are tough. They're seeing more patients, there's lots of stress. And [Darrell] came to me about a publication that's different than anything else we do—life outside of the practice."
While the idea was intriguing, the company knew very little about that part of a physician's life from a product perspective. A consumer title would require luxury brand sales expertise and agency contacts Slack Inc., which excells at selling to pharmaceutical companies, didn't have. Plus, lifestyle content on money, family, relationships, technology and travel was foreign to the professional medical publisher.
Even so, an initial survey conducted through GfK's Physician's Consulting Network helped define their target market—doctors are influencers, physically active and index higher on home ownership than national norms, for example.
From there, an editorial management team was formed, including editorial director Beth Weinhouse, formerly deputy editor of Parenting magazine.
Samir—"Mr. Magazine"—Husni was tapped as a launch consultant and Slack Inc. partnered with rep firm James G. Elliott Co. to handle ad sales.
A prototype was tested with a back-up survey conducted by Kantar that revealed 71 percent of recipients were likely to read a publication like Physicians' Life. That, coupled with another mailing to 6,000 physicians in Slack Inc.'s internal database, which also showed a strong response, helped greenlight the launch.
"Both in projectable numbers through Kantar and the response to our own mailing, we felt confident about the launch," says Slack.
Confident enough to spend between $1 million and $2 million on the launch and set initial distribution at 341,000. Typical Slack Inc. products have a circulation between 5,000 and 60,000.
The May/June launch issue is planned to be 96 pages—with an ad page cap at 46. Newsstand distribution is not part of the plan. "We have a relationship through our professional publishing products to over 400,000 physicians," says Slack.