How It Started

Published in the July 2012 Issue July 2012 Build Ryan Harris

Diesel Tech magazine has established itself as a core industry publication. That's a crowning achievement in our books considering the mag has just over five years under its belt.

So where were we six years ago? We were wondering this: if pickup trucks-both gas and diesel-are the best-selling and most popular vehicles in America, why wasn't there a magazine for the people who use these trucks on a daily basis? There were several titles covering show trucks, big lifts, lots of chrome, insane sound systems and custom paint jobs. But we didn't relate to that, and we figured that a large portion of daily-driver truck owners didn't either.

Diesel Tech's staff has always relied on pickup trucks. Its parent company publishes magazines for boating (the kind that get towed to and from the lake), snowmobiles (which get towed to every ride they go on), all-terrain vehicles (also towed everywhere) and agriculture (do we need to point out the use of pickups in that one?). As truck owners who use trucks on a daily basis, we had often wondered where the coverage was for that market segment.

From a business standpoint, it's easy to see why: There's a ton of money in aftermarket lifts, chrome wheels, big tires, paint jobs, audio systems.the list goes on. It's easier to carve out a small section of the market that spends big money on that sort of product and cater to them than to deliver an advertiser's message to a broad audience that doesn't have such a defined interest.

But what we felt was being overlooked was how pickup truck owners-particularly diesels-were very interested in aftermarket performance products that more enhanced their truck as a tool than made it look cool. In fact, after a few visits to the Corn Belt region, it was easy to see that function was way more important than fashion.

It would be a risk to jump into the media truck market with a focus that went against the grain compared to what other automotive mags were on the newsstand. But we did, and the results from the first year showed that our newsstand sell-through rates were higher than industry standards.

So back to the present, how has it all worked out so far? Well, it seems to us that most other mags have shifted their focus away from the trailer queen show truck crowd and is devoting more coverage to the daily driver segment. I'm not saying we deserve any credit for that shift. All I'm saying is that the group of truck owners nobody seemed to think existed turned out to be bigger than the group that was garnering all the attention five years ago. It's just easier to notice those things when you come from that very group.

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