Factory Media is the latest business to be shortlisted for the 2012 Media Pioneer Awards. Carolyn Morgan looks at their success in building an online community of action sports fans.
All publishers working in specialist interest markets know their most enthusiastic readers are passionate about choosing the latest gear, and their product reviews are thoroughly consulted. Nowhere is this truer than in the niche sports sector, where there is a perfect storm of rapid technology development and affluent, brand-aware, highly competitive customers. But actually creating a workable online presence that aggregates product reviews, user comments and click through commerce is a tough challenge. I was involved in such a project myself a few years ago at Emap in the motorcycling market.
Congratulations, then, to Factory Media, the niche sports publisher, who have just launched MPORA GEAR which aggregates product reviews across their markets, and makes it simple for users to rate and review products and compare a range of online retailers. Factory Media is the latest specialist publisher on the shortlist for the 2012 Media Pioneer Awards.
Clever approaches to building product reviews
Factory’s magazine portfolio provides the core reviews. But the challenge for any reviews site is getting a critical mass of user reviews. Obviously it’s early days, but Factory have some clever approaches to building the volume of reviews, as Darryl Newton, MD, explains: “We have recruited hundreds of MPORA experts from our audience, and we are taking them to exclusive product and retailer launches so they can sample the latest product first hand and write genuine feedback online. We are incentivising real shoppers to add feedback with prizes and vouchers. Finally, we’re giving small independent retailers free online advertising for their input and reviews: these guys are the lifeblood of the industry and have amazing expertise and technical knowledge that is massively valuable to shoppers”. Commenting and sharing on the site is integrated with Facebook, a good choice for the audience.
Promoting across international portfolio of action sports titles
Factory plan display advertising, direct marketing and other tactical promotions across print, online and mobile. Their action sports brands reach four million consumers worldwide. The site is available internationally and automatically selects retailers that ship to a user’s country.
Commercial opportunities for retailers and brands
Factory have 60 retailers on MPORA GEAR at launch, and are actively working with retailers to help them join the site if they don’t have e-commerce experience. Non-affiliated retailers can advertise on targeted PPC spots. The site has been built partly in-house and partly externally, and the plan is to track consumer behaviour and offer highly targeted commercial options to retailers. There are some opportunities for display ads for brands, but the priority is offering a simple purchasing environment for consumers with few distractions.
Click here to read about other Media Pioneers.
The Media Pioneer Awards recognise innovation and entrepreneurial spirit in specialist media markets, across print, live events and digital media. Shortlisted businesses are profiled on the Specialist Media Show site and on InPublishing. Judging takes place in May and winners are announced at the Specialist Media Show on 24 May 2012 in Birmingham. If you want to nominate your business as a Media Pioneer, please contact email@example.com