Seventeen Getting Away from Its Customer Base

17 Mar

A recent article in AdWeek brought up Seventeen Magazine’s slow shift to more expensive, luxury fashion items. Now, I haven’t read the magazine in years, but this seem against what Seventeen has always stood for. The teen periodical is about accessibility, and realistic, affordable clothing. Most girls turn to Seventeen for the articles on topics like relationships and school, not as much for the style how-tos. Seventeen readers want outfits they can buy at the mall presented to them, not designer handbags and shoes to lust after without buying.

Meanwhile, Teen Vogue has always dominated in the high fashion for teens department. It burst on the scene in 2003, the younger version of the popular woman’s magazine. Like its big sister, it features lots of fashion news and profiles of designers. It finds its niche with girls who care about fashion. And there’s a big difference between people who like fashion (Teen Vogue readers) and people who like clothes (Seventeen readers).

In marketing, you’re taught that you need to know your audience and not try to be all things to all people. Trying to do this makes you lose your loyal customers (in this case readers) because it dilutes your message. And Seventeen doesn’t need to try to be another Teen Vogue to compete in the market. It’s been around longer, and is a far more popular magazine, with twice the readership. Stick with what you’re good at, Seventeen, and leave the high fashion to your entirely fashion-oriented competitor.

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