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From Print to Pioneering: How TheHomeMag™ Leads with Data-Driven Innovation

Heather Holst-Knudsen
July 1, 2024

Under the visionary leadership of Thomas Bohn, TheHomeMag™ has transformed from a traditional print publication into a dynamic, multi-platform powerhouse. Founded over two decades ago by Sean and Debbie Campbell, TheHomeMag™ now operates in 68 markets, blending data-driven strategies with cutting-edge AI technology.

“You find your target, you find your niche, and that's what you obsess with. And that's what we do. We are obsessed with people who want to spend money on their home.”

Thomas Bohn, President and COO, Advanced Home Improvement Media

In the rapidly changing landscape of media and advertising, TheHomeMag™ stands out as a pioneer in transforming traditional print media into a dynamic, multi-platform powerhouse. Under the leadership of Thomas Bohn, President and COO, TheHomeMag™ has undergone significant rebranding and restructuring, now operating under Advanced Home Improvement Media. This transformation reflects the company’s broader vision to encompass a variety of brands and expand its influence beyond traditional print.

Founded over two decades ago by Sean and Debbie Campbell, TheHomeMag™ began as a modest publication in Fort Myers and Cape Coral, Florida. Inspired by a similar business in South Africa, the Campbells sailed to the U.S. and started what would become a media sensation in the home improvement industry. Their vision was clear: to create a lasting and profitable business. Today, TheHomeMag™ operates in 68 markets, with a balanced mix of franchise and corporate-owned entities, demonstrating the resilience and scalability of their business model.

Under Tom’s leadership, TheHomeMag™ has undergone a significant transformation, evolving from a primarily print-focused publication to a cutting-edge, multimedia, tech-enabled powerhouse in the home improvement industry. His leadership philosophy at TheHomeMag™ is profoundly captured in a statement from his biography: "Tom envisions what he wants to accomplish and then finds the means to attain it." This approach is evident in how he has steered the company through significant transformations. Upon joining the company, Tom embraced the foundational visions of founder Sean Campbell and immediately set about crafting a detailed and actionable roadmap for the future. He set a new narrative focusing on expansive capabilities beyond traditional print, emphasizing the critical role of data and artificial intelligence. These tools not only enhance the company's offerings but also redefine how they engage with customers and advertisers.

Tom’s strategy centers on mobilizing a talented team, empowering them with the autonomy and tools necessary to innovate and execute effectively. This commitment to vision and practical implementation has led to impressive results, including a dramatic transition to a robust multimedia enterprise. Under his visionary yet pragmatic approach, TheHomeMag™ has not only enhanced its market position but also fostered a positive corporate culture, significantly boosting employee motivation and satisfaction. This was recently highlighted when TheHomeMag™ scored exceptionally high in an Inc 500 survey, ranking it among the best places to work—a direct reflection of Tom’s ethos of "clearing the path" —a philosophy rooted in making the connection between homeowners and service providers seamless and effective, leveraging both quality content and innovative technology. This strategy has enabled TheHomeMag™ to leapfrog competitors and position itself as a leader in a highly competitive market.


Data-Driven Success

TheHomeMag’s™ data-centric approach is reshaping the way it connects with its audience and drives business innovation. By leveraging comprehensive data analysis and partnerships with market research firms like MRI, TheHomeMag™ has gained profound insights into its readership’s behavior and preferences. This strategic emphasis on data not only enhances content relevancy but also boosts reader engagement significantly, as evidenced by the fact that their readers are far more likely to undertake home improvement projects shortly after engaging with the magazine.

This deep understanding of their audience enables TheHomeMag™ to tailor its offerings precisely to meet their needs while also creating targeted advertising opportunities that benefit advertisers. By maintaining a firm commitment to ethical data use, TheHomeMag™ builds trust and reliability among its customers, distinguishing itself in a market where consumer data handling is often a contentious issue.

Moreover, this data-driven strategy supports Tom’s exploration of new business avenues, such as fintech solutions that facilitate easier project financing for homeowners. Initiatives like the proposed HomeMag DreamCard illustrate how TheHomeMag™ uses data not only to inform content and marketing strategies but also to enhance the practical aspects of customer project implementation, enriching the overall customer experience and ensuring that TheHomeMag™ remains at the forefront of the home improvement media industry.


Executing on Strategic Vision

At TheHomeMag™, the strategic vision for an integrated media portfolio that caters effectively to both audiences and advertisers has led to the development of innovative digital solutions, notably the introduction of a robust email marketing platform. Under Tom’s leadership, the company has achieved impressive penetration and open rates for its email campaigns, significantly outperforming industry averages. This success is a testament to the quality and efficacy of their digital strategies, which focus on delivering premium content directly relevant to their users' interests.

Building on this success, TheHomeMag™ is pushing the boundaries further by integrating artificial intelligence into their services. A prime example is "Ask Home-y™," an AI-driven platform designed to enhance the home improvement experience for homeowners. Unlike conventional directories, Ask Home-y™ offers a dynamic, interactive experience, allowing users to engage in conversations about their home improvement needs and receive personalized suggestions. This AI initiative is not just about technological innovation; it’s about creating meaningful connections without compromising customer privacy, ensuring that interactions remain beneficial to both homeowners and advertisers alike. By focusing on connectivity over commodification, TheHomeMag™ is setting new standards in how media companies engage with their constituencies.


Experience to Evolution

Before taking the helm at TheHomeMag™, Thomas amassed a rich history of leadership across various sectors, particularly in association and media management. His early career highlights include revitalizing the Oldsmar Chamber of Commerce, where he dramatically increased its scale and impact as its CEO right out of business school. Thomas’s adeptness at strategic disruption and transformation continued as he led multiple organizations through significant growth phases, skillfully navigating mergers and acquisitions and pioneering digital transitions. Notably, his tenure at the North American Veterinary Community (NAVC) saw him transforming the organization by expanding its media properties and digital training platforms, significantly increasing its reach and revenue. This blend of experiences crafted a solid foundation for his visionary work at TheHomeMag™, where he continues to drive innovation and growth.

TheHomeMag’s™ evolution from a traditional print publication to a leading multimedia company in the home improvement sector illustrates the power of visionary leadership combined with strategic innovation. As the company continues to grow and adapt, it remains committed to its roots of quality, community, and service, setting a benchmark for the industry and offering valuable insights into the future of media and home improvement.

About The Author

Heather Holst-Knudsen has deep roots in the B2B world, growing up in the renowned Thomas Publishing Company. With years of experience and a passion for the industry, she has significantly contributed to digital innovation and monetizing audience engagement. Holst-Knudsen's expertise led her to found H2K Labs, specializing in generating financial returns from data and driving revenue and profitability.

Have a question or want to share your perspective? Want me to answer your data challenge in my next "Dear Heather" column? Email me and let’s set up a time to speak.  

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