In the trade, it's known as the thud factor. The definition? A magazine or publication which has put on weight, a change which readers immediately register as an expression of confidence, a development which feels good.
Rebuilding our thud factor has enabled us to introduce new sections to the magazine: the SME pages (see page 107) are a solid, immediately accessible and practical guide to the manager of a small or medium-sized enterprise who knows that he or she is getting a lot of it right, would like to find out how to make things even better, but has neither the time for management tomes nor the resources for a management consultant. Then there's the Self-Interest section (see page 102). The standfirst should say it all: 'personal finance for the independent investor'. Or maybe the adjective should be 'savvy'? There's lots more too including the Readings & Rankings slot (see page 135) and more practical user-friendly features such as Standoffs are for losers (see page 30).
The changes build on the senior appointments section we introduced last month and which is going swimmingly. We hope - and are confident - that the other innovations will be equally popular, although clearly with the changes we have made, time-strapped readers may become even more selective about what they regard as relevant to their work, their interests and their aspirations. Well, we all know that niche marketing is the way forward; that people who enjoy the necessary resources may choose to run a purring, show-off open-top in the summer and keep an old banger for rainy days; may opt to shop at Harrods and at the tacky convenience store which is still open when they get home from a tough day at work. Isn't that why newspaper boys so often pop both The Sunday Times and the News of the World through the same letterbox at the weekend?
As with any change management programme, we will probably now have a period of finetuning ahead of us. And to help us with that, we need reader and advertiser feedback. We will, of course, be investing in formal research over the coming months, but would like useful comments to reach us through more informal channels too. So if you've got the time, please give me a call or sit down and tap out that letter. In the interim, watch this space ...