How to Find a Sweet Spot by Shaking Sh*t Up

My first-ever SXSWi session was my 2nd choice at the time but I’m glad I re-routed because it made my day. The co-founder and CEO of Thrillist Media Group (Ben Lerer) popped by for a session about how to keep loyal consumers engaged.

Talk about knowing your core audience… Thrillist has been making headlines by “mingling content and commerce” (New York Times, March 2011), and industry experts have described Thrillist as “the future of media” (Wall Street Journal, May 2010). It’s a simple, right? Know your audience, never get too comfortable and for the love of God, just sit through the crap and give folks what they want already. As Lerer gave his perspective, he made it seem simple. That’s the thing about common sense, though – it’s really not that common. See, a traditional online content publishing model goes something like this:

But Thrillist is shaking sh*t up by creating its own media platform:

In December 2010, Thrillist launched Thrillist Rewards, a local e-commerce platform known for delivering editorially-driven, experiential offers targeting its young, urban male demographic. By partnering with local merchants, Thrillist finds and curates deals that appeal to its members, like all-you-can-eat ribs and beer. Not only are they making money with paid advertising, they’re also making money through JackThreads, a members-only online retailer that Thrillist acquired back in 2010. Thrillist now offers its user base exclusive access to JackThreads as an added benefit to subscribing. JackThreads was listed 4th in AdAge’s 2011 “America’s Hottest Brands” feature and as of 2012, is growing approximately 20% month-over-month. According to Lerer, JackThreads now generates more for Thrillist in one day than it did in a whole month in 2010, and membership has grown from 500,000 to 1.7MM.  The three brands (Thrillist, Thrillist Rewards and JackThreads) collectively reach over 4 million daily subscriptions, targeting a young, urban male demographic, locally and nationally, online and offline, through content and commerce.

Bottom line – they know their core audience deeply well, and it PAYS.

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