What can your business learn from Cooks Illustrated?

Quite a lot according to 37signals. As a subscriber to cooksillustrated.com, I'm a little biased. But their continuing success is impressive. What's their secret?

They focus relentlessly on developing the best possible recipe and providing practical advice for the home cook. They take a scientific approach to food and test tons of recipes before anything ever hits the books. They taste test store brands of all types of foods and condiments; from orange juice to spaghetti sauce. In short, they've created a unique marketing position that's helped them grow with almost no advertising other than their public access television show.

They also do integration of multi channel content on their website better than almost any other magazine-based publication. Their TV show clips are re-purposed into short relevant segments related to the specific recipe your browsing on the site. Their explanatory illustrations from the publication work great on the web as well.

They've quietly created what's arguably the most informative cooking sit on the net. In the process they're charging almost $40 a year for access. And people are subscribing in big numbers (almost 1 million so far).

Written by Adam Harrell on January 13, 2009

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Adam Harrell
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