Inside the Harvard Business Review Content Comes First (1,872
The whole of Congress reads it, and its subscriber file reads like a Who's Who of corporate America. Housed in a renovated military arsenal located a few miles from Harvard University's main campus in Cambridge, MA, The Harvard Business Review has been helping its readers improve the practice of management for eight decades.
First published in 1922 by Harvard Business School Dean Wallace Donham, the Harvard Business Review is the flagship of Harvard Business School Publishing (HBSP), a wholly owned subsidiary of Harvard University.
Meeting the needs of its blue-ribbon subscribers is paramount. "Content is always first—across all media," attests HBR's director of corporate communications Sarah McConville. "HBR readers are leaders within their businesses, and HBR's marketing message reinforces this."
This message is conveyed through a host of media—including newsstand copy blow-ins and space ads—employed to acquire new subscribers. The majority of its prospecting resources, however, are allocated to a media triumvirate composed of direct mail, e-mail and Web-based marketing.
A Blue-Ribbon Audience
The driving force behind HBR's circulation promotion efforts is Arthur Cohen, who is responsible for HBR's direct mail and e-mail marketing campaigns. As circulation promotion manager, it's his job to know his readers' wants and needs.
HBR'S "profile reader is not dissimilar to what you would think," says Cohen, "but it is different from the demographics of other well-known business publications such as Fortune and Forbes."
This observation is borne out by a recent reader survey, which reveals the median age of a HBR subscriber is 46 years old—slightly younger than previously believed. Its audience is 75-percent male; 95 percent are in business, industry or professions of which 49 percent are in top management positions.
HBR's strongest market is upper level management. While close to 20 percent of its subscribers are CEOs, 34.5 percent are in that next rung and report to the top executive at their companies.