By Cho Ryeo-jin
International Desk Editor
"Hey, Let's have Cocofun!"
On the busiest street such as Gang-nam, Myeong-dong, Shin-chon and Deahangno, many people get magazines named 'Cocofun' from its stand. All students know about Cocofun these days. Recently, it gets popular with a bigger size and has improved its quality. One day in a restaurant, one of the post reporters happened to hear that some students who were sitting next to her were talking about Cocofun.
"Who made Cocofun? This idea is very novel!"
And, the Post decided to meet the head of Cocofun company.
Photo by Post, Cho Ryeo-jin
Cocofun magazine was made by the 'Mediawill' company which publishes several magazines. Byeoruksijang, a famous newspaper in Korea, has been helpful in giving information about real estate transactions, situation-vacant advertisements, and a slightly used things transaction and so on. M25, a popular magazine at subway stations, was first published on Nov. 2007. These famous two magazines were also made by Mediawill. Mediawill became successful with popular free magazines. The Post met three members of Mediawill.
Photo by Post, Cho Ryeo-jin
# Their Business Story
A kind looking woman greeted the Post reporters at the office. She is Kim Yoon-jung at Public Relation Office of Mediawill. She introduced us to the president of Mediawill, Joo Won-hoon. The Post had a brief interview with him and moved to the conference room to meet a team leader, Yeo Jong-hyun and a head of division, Kwak Hye-yun. They were very sincere and their powerful voice made the reporters concentrate on their business stories. So, young guys who want to start a new enterprise, listen to their words.
The Post: How did you come up with a plan to make a coupon magazine?
Cocofun (C): For a long time several shops had made their own coupon books for their membership customers. And restaurants have made coupons since the increased use of the Internet. The first site developed for internet coupons in 1997 was 'menupan.com'. For example, bimil.com, ttoore.com, Gmarket and Auction are also sites for offering coupons on internet. These sites, however, offer coupons either by internet or by off-line. So our company analyzed consumption of 'HotPepper' readers--a coupon magazine in Japan, and compared this with Korean consumption tendency. Shortly we got the idea from Japanese coupon magazine and made Cocofun. But Cocofun is very special. Cocofun is offered not only on the street in magazine form but also on the internet and mobile phone. We call this a three-way coupon service--magazine, online, mobile type. Actually we surveyed customers about using discount coupons, and found out that customers had felt uncomfortable with coupons offered by a unitary channel. Thanks to their opinions, we made this three-way type Cocofun.
The Post : What was the first reaction of people after publishing the first coupon magazine? And how has it changed?
C : At first, we had a hard time talking the owners of restaurants and shops into becoming our customers. We spent a lot of time explaining our coupon magazine and taking their shops' pictures. But now, several shops called us to put their coupons on our magazines. Of course, readers love our magazine because this is the first one which offers both information and discounts at several shops. Finally, we got an award 'Best of the best brand of the year 2007' on Sept.
The Post: Tell me about your company's existence strategies.
C : We focus on local business. Let me explain. Those who live in Gang-nam or frequently visit there are only interested in the restaurants and the shops located in that area. So the main office doesn't make all the coupon books but just manage them, and each local branch office make their local coupon magazine because they can get specific information about their local shops. Accordingly, Gang-nam coupon books are made by only Gang-nam branch.
We also ensure that we are competitive with existing contents. We are providing not only coupons but also information about beauty, foods, culture and health. These articles are very popular with women.
And we have developed a lot of new functions. The most representative examples are 'Cocofun cash receipts card' service and 'Woori Cocofun card.' The birth of these cards is based on the research of readers and sponsors.
The Post : Then, what do you think are your success strategies?
C : Well, we have a lot of stands on busy streets in front of subway stations, the whole Lotteira branches and major convenient stores. It is our biggest strength that we've approached readers so densely and diversely. Besides, Cocofun has a circulation of 800,000 a month, which is the greatest circulation in Korea.
Second, we have developed our web site to satisfy customers' convenience. Especially we have targeted 20-30 year women who are very active and sensible customers. We might satisfy their propensity to consume after analyzing consumer sentiment. We also have embodied the multi-channel by managing 3-way type - online, offline and mobile.
The most important strategy is, as I said before, that we have focused on local business. This strategy has effected our popularity the most.
The Post : Please give some tips to the students who are interested in starting a new enterprise.
C : First, you should spend your time selecting a good item. There are only a few people who have succeeded in starting business because people don't recognize the items which were potentially powerful in a niche market; they just followed a popular item. So you should not spare time and effort to analyze a market.
Second, find your own strength that others have not tried before. And you should think about how to appeal to customers and promote your item before starting your business. To appeal to the customers, listen to their voices. They are those who directly use the customer service and understand it well. Their opinions can develop the service and be a channel to find a new item for other business.
"I see. Those who want to start a business should be creative and prepare carefully. Then what kind of mind-set should the students have?"
Mr. Kwak, a head of division answered to this last question.
"Be strong to endure even when a storm comes. To succeed in your business, you should not be complacent nor frustrated but take a long view. Your tenacity will lead your business to success."
Cho Ryeo-jin reporter firstname.lastname@example.org
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