NEW YORK: Nearly 200,000 female students have become new subscribers to The Wall Street Journal after the business publication made a conscious decision to close the gender gap in its reader base and following a successful ad campaign.

As reported by The Drum’s Ian Burrell, the Journal’s subscriber base is currently about 80% male, prompting it – along with rival publications The Financial Times and The Economist – to seek to broaden its appeal to women.

Combined with Dow Jones, the company has set itself a target of three million subscribers and decided to focus on schools and universities in the US to help boost the numbers.

Discount subscription fees, coupled with an effective marketing campaign, have resulted in more than 350,000 student sign-ups, with more than half of these coming from young women.

The Journal’s success in attracting this important demographic was built in part on the success of its “Good Things Come to Those Who Don’t Wait” ad campaign.

This featured a proactive and ambitious young female character who was portrayed as having little time on her hands as she went about building a successful career.

According to Suzi Watford, the Journal’s chief marketing officer, the willingness of a targeted base of young people to subscribe rose by 126% after watching the ad.

“When we spoke to our student audience the biggest thing they said about The Wall Street Journal was that it helps me to be more successful, it’s going to help me get a better job [and] when I prepare for an interview I read The Wall Street Journal,” she said.

“We thought there’s a great opportunity to be there not just for when people are in their career, but to help them get that career,” she added.

Watford acknowledged that the Journal will need to adapt to its growing base of young and female readers, which will be reflected in changes to its content.

However, she was clear that students – both men and women – do not want “dumbed down” content. “They don’t want a different student experience, they want The Wall Street Journal,” she said, while adding that younger readers tend to respond better to certain services, such as newsletters and podcasts.

Sourced from The Drum; additional content by WARC staff