"When I look back over twenty-five years, I think the biggest change has been competition, at the risk of sounding chauvinistic the publishing business is a gentlemen's business, what's happened now is the media has become very personal."
Tom Hickey is the marketing director and publisher for Hometown Marketing, a close-knit, family run publishing, advertising, and communications business that markets four magazines, including Living in West Hartford, Living in the Valley, Living on the Shoreline, and Star View.
Located in the suburbs of West Hartford, Connecticut, Hometown Marketing is a small establishment dedicated to providing the community of West Hartford and surrounding towns with feature stories involving their community.
Hickey has a corporate communications bachelor arts degree from Central Connecticut State University. He explained that his interest in the world of marketing and publishing did not really spark until his junior year of college when he realized that his curiosity of commercials and billboards had a career behind it. An advertising and promotions class at his college allowed him to realize his dream of entering the marketing business.
Tom Hickey was working for ABC when he began a conversation with a group of people about the marketing business. Until this point this group of individuals had basically been running the New England newspaper group and they were intrigued by the idea of starting something on their own.
The only challenge was the timing of their plans; all of the interested individuals were young and had just begun to settle down their lives. They were hesitant to constantly move around - which is one of the requirements of the business. Therefore, they focused on their love of publishing and since Connecticut was very concentrated in the area of print media, they brainstormed the idea of publishing four up-scale glossy magazines to the community. These chic magazines were something the state had never experienced before.
The magazines were first published during the summer of 2001 right when the tragedy of 9/11 struck the United States. Hickey explained that this served as a great discouragement to him; he was hesitant to continue his publication during the dire state of the nation. Hickey turned to one of his respected advisors whom he had worked with for many years and learned that his father had been the founder of Time magazine during the tumultuous time of the Depression. He further explained that the nation looks for somewhere to turn to for uplifting news rather than the gloom that the state of the nation was facing at the time.
Hometown Marketing had decided to gear the magazines and publish them towards a target audience; those town individuals who earn $100,000 in income. Today, they gear the magazine towards $250,000 household income and it continues to become more targeted. Furthermore, on top of the four glossy magazines that Hometown Marketing publishes, they also administer a hometown marketing website, hometownmarketing.com.
The website was started to attract potential advertisers by allowing them to look up the rates of the company, as well as, from the marketing aspect to allow for the community to view the various projects in which hometown marketing was involved in.
"The challenge in this day and age is to put up a web page that is both informative but not too informative because of the competition today," Hickey explained one of the website's setbacks.
Hickey believes competition to be one of the greatest influences on the media today in that it is essential to not share too much information of your establishment, so that competitors don't have the ability to know every single thing your company is involved with and can't steal ideas. He is disappointed that this is one of the most apparent changes in the business today and wishes that he could openly converse with his competitors today like he once had.
Overall, Tom Hickey's main objective is to successfully market these magazines through original advertisements and graphic design. Although Hickey is well-established in the marketing and publishing business, he has a strong love for writing and feels it is essential to enlighten the community with feature stories that his readers can directly relate to. The publication of these four glossy, up-scale magazines has allowed for a reliable news source for people in the Connecticut community to turn to for their information.