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National Communications & Marketing Strategy  for the

Women’s Subscription Enterprise: 2009

The Big Issue’s Women’s Subscription Enterprise was a social enterprise developed in 2007 and designed to provide job opportunities for homeless, marginalised and disadvantaged women through subscription sales of the magazine. 

To establish the enterprise, The Big Issue required seed funding.  After unsuccessful submissions to the Federal government, The Big Issue needed to demonstrate sustainability of their innovative program that would allow women to work in safe environments.

In 2009, The Big Issue Australia retained Insight to develop a communication strategy that would demonstrate the sustainable acquisition of subscriptions.  Insight researched and developed an extensive 80 page strategy document determining multiple target audiences, outlets and incorporating public relations, marketing and advertising to reach them.

On March 25 2010, The Big Issue received a grant for $1.25Million.  Importantly, the program now runs in Melbourne, Sydney, Adelaide and Perth providing safe and reliable job opportunities, support and income for marginalised and disadvantaged women.



  • In 2007, The Big Issue Australia developed The Big Issue Women’s Subscription Enterprise and had been seeking Federal Government seed funding to establish the social enterprise. They were unsuccessful. They reapplied in 2009 and were again unsuccessful. The Big Issue needed to demonstrate the initiative was sustainable to gain seed funding.
  • Insight was retained to create an overarching communication and marketing strategy to be included with the next submission for funding.
  • Create public relations, marketing, advertising, subscription targets and potential patrons/ambassadors to demonstrate the social enterprise was sustainable.
  • The strategy was to be rolled out by the Big Issue internal communications team.


  • Limited timeline – 4 weeks to research, develop and  write a detailed strategy including key messages, target publics and the strategic methods and techniques to reach and influence them.

Successful Outcomes

  • In December 2009, The Big Issue incorporated Insight’s detailed communication and marketing strategy into their funding submission to demonstrate sustainability.
  • On 25 March 2010, The Big Issue received a grant of $1.2Million
  • Launched in 2010, today The Big Issue Women’s Subscription Enterprise operates in Melbourne, Sydney, Adelaide and Perth


Clare and Alice are a enthusiastic team, who were not only professional about our project but also took ownership of it as if it is their own. The personalised service we received from Insight went beyond the call of duty and the tremendous support we have continued to receive by Clare and Alice has been encouraging.

Natalie Susman – Head of Corporate Affairs, The Big Issue.