Jim Duhe Approaches 20 Years at Bridal Guide, as Bridal Publications Fade

 

By Paul Pannone

 In the last 20 of his 40-year wedding industry career, Jim Duhe looks back at an amazing run at Bridal Guide. In that time he’s seen the wedding publication business change dramatically but still feels there is life in the old bones; and even a chance for better print bridal publications to survive.

These days Duhe questions everything including– but not limited to– the religious background of his eminence in Rome. Duhe remains staunchly positioned in his view of bridal publications holding a valuable place in the wedding business. Duhe is not alone in his thinking. According to wedding marketing extraordinaire, Andy the E-Bomb Ebon, brides will always turn to print when planning their weddings. In a recent post he writes:

“Despite the fact that it is a web-centric world, to be sure, brides still read wedding publications, in all shapes and sizes. Free publications, fee-based and subscription publications; local, regional, and national publications. As such, the primary purpose of advertising in print is to drive traffic to one’s website,” says the Ebominatore.

 

Jim Duhe’s been at Bridal Guide longer than some of the women in the picture are alive. Duhe’s ageless grace, style and charm date back to medieval times when chivalry was the order of the day. Today, Duhe is a treasure of the wedding business and loved by all.

In his own words Duhe told the members of the Wedding Water Cooler, “Print magazines are relevant as long as engaged women are buying and reading them — as long as engaged women are passing them along to their intended grooms and members of the wedding party.  Bridal Guide is unique among print publications in that it has maintained the highest pass-along readership of ANY magazine sold on the newsstand for the past two decades.  That means that we’ve been doing something right for a very long time.

Bridal magazines are far more than “print.”   They are special interest reference books.  They are point-of-purchase buying guides.  They aren’t like newspapers or news magazines or the seven sister general interest publications.  Bridal magazines are targeted at a select few among the general  population.  Comparatively, general interest print products and digital media are designed to appeal to everyone.  There’s a big difference.

In excess of four MILLION people read every issue of Bridal Guide Magazine. FOUR MILLION people who are actively involved in making wedding day plans — FOUR MILLION people who are making bridal spending decisions.  Bridal Guide doesn’t pretend to reach EVERY bride.  Generally speaking, Bridal Guide readers aren’t  married by the Justice of the Peace in his office and don’t have receptions at the local VFW hall.   Bridal Guide readers are involved in the BUSINESS of planning a wedding.

The primary Bridal Guide reader reaches into her purse and pulls out $6 to purchase the magazine at the newsstand.  No one hold a gun to her head.  She spends this money voluntarily in spite of the fact that she has access to digital wedding planning information that is absolutely free.  She PAYS for the privilege of obtaining information.  It’s therefore difficult to believe that she ignores the information that she has purchased,” according to Duhe.

Duhe admits times are difficult for bridal magazines, as a whole, but in a generalized statement times are tough for the wedding business at large. Declining interest in formal weddings weighs down the likelihood that wedding-related businesses will advertising their wares in bridal publications. But is this true?

Smarter marketers including Mon Cheri feel there is still a place for magazines along with digital and promotions but only if they’re the right choice. Steve Lang, owner of Mon Cheri, weighs in:

It is all necessary; print, digital, PR, etc. It is clear that many have walked away from Bridal Guide’s competition for many reasons. Some have alienated their advertisers and Bridal Guide was right there to benefit from their fall from grace.

I will continue to support print and Bridal Guide because it’s the right move for my business.  In fact, I am looking for more growth so I can take more pages.

Happy Anniversary to one of the most customer friendly, most sincere , most knowledgable advertising executives  in the industry. Most importantly, to a dear friend I admire so much,” said Lang.

Coincidentally, Lang and Mon Cheri also celebrate their 20th anniversary in the bridal business this month.

The warm and fuzzy exchange does not escape the overall decline of print media over the past decade. In nearly all categories, titles and areas of consumer interest print is declining.

Another wedding industry expert and long-time associate of print, Jacqueline Johnson, details her view on the general decline of print media. Johnson has long been an advocate of shifting towards digital, realizing early on the Internet would become the game changer.

“Change!  An evolutionary process that is the key to survival in a dynamic marketplace.  And what is changing? The buying and reading habits of the American consumer.  No longer is the average consumer (bridal/engaged/or otherwise) is willing to wait for information about any category – we live in a society that is immediate, hence the growth of the electronic media and the meteoric rise of social networks.

How does this effect print or bridal magazines to be exact?  Newsstand sales!.  Newsstand sales is the barometer that determines the growth/participation and relevance of what is left of today’s bridal publications.  The decrease in newsstand sales across the board, have now forced bridal magazines to find different avenues to ‘grow’ their product.
 Whether it is through ‘bulk sales’, free distribution, or subscription through clearing houses to beef up readership – at the end of the day the health and vitality of these magazines is dependent upon the engaged woman picking up the magazine at the newsstand.

Want to truly understand and see how today’s bridal magazine is performing – forget about all the ‘fairy dust’ and look at the bottom line - newsstand sales performance say over a five-year period.  That will certainly shed light on the subject.

I agree with Jim that bridal magazines are bought and read differently from other broad-based publications.  There is a passion when an engaged couple picks up a bridal magazine – they are read from cover to cover.  After all they have just plunked down $6.00 for the opportunity.  However, the rush to get magazines at the newsstand has tapered off as the younger generation of engaged couples who are more comfortable with the internet head to the internet in droves.

Yes, there are plenty of engaged couples who still go to the newsstand, but not enough to warrant the high out of pocket advertising cost to sustain this model of engagement. Is subscription important in the bridal market?  Do you know of an engaged woman who will wait approximately 3-4 months for a subscription to kick in?  The business of print is under attack – it will never go out of style – but I do believe newsstand sales will continue to shrink.  

Mobile apps which is not yet widely used in this market, will also ‘bleed’ newsstand sales. Again it is all about survival and change – some people can anticipate change and actually be a part of it .. others see change just before they happen and adjust to them; some don’t realize change or don’t recognize change and become consumed by it.  So we watch and wait on the evolution of the bridal publications,” she feels.

Duhe works tirelessly at keeping Bridal Guide advertisers happy and that keeps Bridal Guide beating the odds against their printed format. Commended for their valiant efforts, the staff at Bridal Guide believe in what they do and so far, the results support the efforts.

“Bridal Guide has grown over the years because all of us on staff enjoy what we do.  Think about it.  I’ve been with Bridal Guide for 20 years.  The Fashion Manager, Rachel Bashner has been with Bridal Guide for 22 years. Diane Forden, our Editor In Chief, has been with Bridal Guide for 23 years. Steven Ritterman, our General Advertising Ad Director has been with us for more than 10 years.  All of us have taken the veil, so to speak.  We enjoy what we do and we’re proud of the product that we produce.  We’re a team and function as a family.  We work together and see each other socially as well,” Duhe says.

eWedNewz

All Rights Reserved

2011

Comments

  1. Gale T. Baker says:

    I am 65 and still pick up a Bridal Guide Magazine. To see the change and even the beautiful colors over the years are spectacular. I grew up with a seamstress Aunt & my mother also sewed, all of which I loved to do myself. Sewing has been my push on decor for years. You design it, you put it together, if you don’t like the outcome, its your own design to change. The finish product on wedding gowns and the entire wedding party is a self made glamour that one can embrace and say, that’s my design, I designed and made that dress etc. Its like being an artist, but not on paper, with fabric. I only wish that I had followed my own instincts as a seamstress, designing would of been my true art & career. Jim, as a special friend of mine & my family, we commend you on your years of dedication and hard work. You truly made a difference in people’s lives.

  2. Bonnieclement says:

    Not only do I admire you as an older brother, a friend and a person of high integrity but I also admire you for the accompolishments you have done in your lifetime. I am so proud to have known you, and to have known that you would make something of yourself. Continue on in your success and remember how proud I am of you. To anyone who may be wondering about the older brother part, Jim and I grew up together and I always looked towards him as an older brother. He is not my brother by blood, but by love. Take care Jim and continued success in your life….Bonnie Clement

Trackbacks

  1. [...] to Jim Duhe as he approaches the anniversary of 20-years service at Bridal Guide Magazine in September. In his [...]

  2. [...] eWedNewz keeps watch over the declining news stand sale of bridal magazines at Conde’ Nast and the unusual success at Bridal Guide Magazine. [...]

  3. [...] Jim Duhe Approaches 20 Years at Bridal Guide, as Bridal Publications [...]

  4. [...] themselves as direct, honest and truthful. Other notables in attendance included Jim Duhe and Peter Grimes of VOWS [...]

  5. Bridal Guide Magazine Careers…

    [...] . Declining interest in formal weddings weighs down the likelihood that weddin [...]…

  6. [...] publications responded to the statements. Ex-employee of Conde’ Nast and current competitor, Jim Duhe, weighed in. “I  know that you had countless conversations with people at all levels of [...]

  7. [...] Discussions with members of the Wedding Water Cooler say they’re shocked at the failure of Encore. “Encore represented the luxury, high-end of invitations and had a price that went along with that,” according to Jim Duhe. [...]

  8. [...] Jim Duhe at Bridal Guide initiated some programs to help abandoned brides calling the the whole ordeal pitiful. “I’m quickly deploying help as fast as I can. Brides can contact Kristin O’Gorman-Klein, she is in charge of web activities at http://www.bridalguide.com ,”; said Duhe. [...]

  9. [...] That means that if a retail buyer wanted to see all 1,000, they would have to see 200 brand names a day at the Chicago market — or about one brand name every 2 and a half minutes for eight hours a day with no breaks,” according to Jim Duhe. [...]

  10. [...] Yes.  The commercial was beautiful.  However, it didn’t hold my interest in the same way the The Situation does.  I didn’t even notice if the male model had abs,” said Jim Duhe. [...]

  11. [...] want. If you haven’t checked out their website lately, I would encourage you to give it a look.Since Jason and I started the Enviroselects.com website, we have constantly been on the look out for…com">Mother Earth News and have since done some advertising on their website. Although I am sure [...]

  12. [...] Boulton and other experts say a proper balance of all forms of media is necessary to reach today’s complicated consumer. “Consumers are everywhere; to totally omit any form of advertising is simply not good business,” according to Jim Duhe of Bridal Guide Magazine. [...]

  13. [...] Answer:  No,” writes Fashion expert and tuxedo critic, Jim Duhe. [...]

  14. [...] There was a time when both Arrow and Van Heusen had strong marketing campaigns.  What ever happened to the guy with the eye patch? Management may be saving a few bucks on marketing and advertising but they’re losing their shirts (pardon the pun) to generic merchandise. Arrow and Van Heusen are going the way of most major department stores and there’s only one way to stop them from heading in that direction … a strong marketing campaign.  You have to spend the money to make the money or you can bend over and kiss your own brand name good-bye,” according to Jim Duhe. [...]

  15. xbox 360 says:

    Awesome webpages…

    we came throughout a fantastic blog you could possibly take pleasure in. Just take a glance in order for you…

  16. [...] standards are slipping into darkness has gained support from respected institutions of learning, bridal publications and other sources who can no longer deny the world of weddings has changed [...]

  17. [...] of formal wear for the men to go with new dress styles by magazine’s advertisers. Jim Duhe of Bridal Guide, also a big supporter and friend to formal wear, told eWedNewz he’s excited to see the new [...]

  18. […] evolved to be able to match the demand that we know is there but is overlooked. Why?” asks Jim Duhe of Bridal Guide […]

Speak Your Mind

*