Las Vegas is well known for elaborate casinos and larger than life entertainment. Huddled within the grandeur that is ‘The Strip’ is one of America’s most recognizable brands – Coca-Cola. The Coca-Cola Store, despite the ample competition for attention, stands out among the other distractions. It showcases a sun-eclipsing, moulded bottle (pictured) with the ‘classic’ Coca-Cola typography serving as a beaming icon which funnels the millions of heat-exhausted tourists who walk the strip annually.

The Coca-Cola Store in Las Vegas

The Coca-Cola Store in Las Vegas

From a marketing perspective the Coca-Cola Store is a success on many levels. The prominent structure is a cognizant brand reminder and the location offers incredible appeal to the human condition of convenience. The store also serves as a respite from the intense heat of the Vegas sun and the core product serves a needy market – masses of tourists in search of hydration and a caffeinated buzz.

Once inside, the Coca-Cola Store is exactly as expected – a sea of white and red. Coketopia.

Digital magazine brands face similar challenges as the Coca-Cola Store on the Las Vegas strip. Like any web property there is an abundance of distractions and gaining visibility in a crowded skyline is difficult. Once a potential reader has been funneled into that space it seems logical for the brand to erect a barrier to prevent any further noise. However, this is not always the case.

Having spent countless hours watching, reading, and listening how magazines are integrating into digital I am always surprised when I see a brand pushing their prospective readers outside their ‘walled garden’. After all of the thought, effort and resources required to channel that customer – why send them elsewhere?

Case in point - I recently visited a magazine website to see how they were implementing their digital edition. On the main page of the site there is a medium sized thumbnail, with some descriptive text which read ‘Click here to BUY IT NOW…’. The image, when clicked, linked to the purchasing or subscription mechanism which was hosted on an external newsstand site. That is an issue. Isn’t the implicit purpose of a newsstand to generate new readers for the magazine rather than the magazine driving readers to the newsstand?

"Isn’t the implicit purpose of a newsstand to generate new readers for the magazine rather than the magazine driving readers to the newsstand"?

Upon initial inspection it appeared as though there was only a buffet style menu for consumption. Two ‘all you can read’ pricing packages for access to thousands of titles. The reader had chosen to engage with a single brand but now is exposed to thousands. Does that constitute a massive flaw in implementation?

There is no room for competition in the cola wars

There is no room for competition in the cola wars

After some investigation it was determined it was possible to purchase a single issue however there was a list of ‘Related titles’ directly beneath the single issue purchase option. Referring back to the cola brand  – Pepsi products are not found in Coca-Cola vending machines. The Coca-Cola Store does not offer a detailed map of where to purchase the competitors brand. So why would any other brand commit this error?

The marketing funnel, whether paid or organic, had successfully pulled a prospective client towards the brand. However, the sales funnel was misguided. As soon as the decision was made to purchase the funnel opened.

Sadly, this is not an isolated case. But it needs to be. If magazine brands want to be successful in digital they need to funnel their audience and then isolate them from the competition. Just like the Coca-Cola Store.