The UK sheep industry faces unprecedented challenges and needs access to innovation and new skills to ensure a sustainable and competitive future. This project developed and market tested SHEEP MATTERS, a new technical magazine aimed at progressive farmers and professionals in the UK sheep industry.
Using the customer-problem-solution framework for early stage product development, we identified a potential market for a technical magazine that provided engaging, relevant and timely content on the latest scientific research and technological innovation together with independent analyses of markets, trade and performance. Developing the prototype magazine involved a number of stages including:
- Research, technical writing and collaboration/discussion with a range of producers, professionals, researchers and KE delivery organisations in the sector.
- Development of a strong brand identity that would clearly communicate the values and objectives of the product. This involved the commissioning of the SHEEP MATTERS logo to deliver consistent branding across a range of media.
- Creation of a strong design for the product that would “stand out from the crowd” and deliver content in an original and digestible format to fully engage the reader.
We adopted an iterative approach and SHEEP MATTERS underwent a series of refinements based on feedback from potential customers and experts in order to achieve a minimal viable product.
At this stage, the project moved towards a market testing focus that involved the development of a website which could be used as both a promotional and online selling portal. Mechanisms were implemented that would allow the magazine to be accessed digitally, a customer database to be generated and online payments to be made. A marketing strategy aimed at raising the profile of SHEEP MATTERS was developed to exploit a range of marketing channels including, for example, the use of social media campaigns, high-volume distribution of printed promotional material, networking at technical events and shows, and engagement with key influencers to open new routes for promotion.