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Commentary & Analysis

Printing Irony

By Frank J.

By WhatTheyThink Staff
Published: February 3, 2005

By Frank J. Romano There is a sublime irony in using the Web to promote print. It's like using radio ads for Miracle Ear. February 3, 2005 -- Trying to demonstrate that the medium really is the message, the magazine industry has launched a promotional effort that features its own content. Instead of emphasizing readership research, circulation figures, or the medium's high level of involvement with consumers (all very good ideas), the Magazine Publishers of America (MPA) and the American Society of Magazine Editors have launched a website to display the best examples of editorial content. The trade groups' magazine.org website will display a new section, "Magazine Article Links of the Week," featuring the best articles and stories from member publishers. MPA will add a new group of articles weekly, and publishers will provide access to their full text (no registration or subscription required). The program lets the magazine industry remind advertisers and readers of what it does best--publish informative and interesting content. But wait, they are going to promote print online. There is a sublime irony in using the Web to promote print. It's like using radio ads for Miracle Ear. Fortunately, they will also advertise, tapping Publicis Groupe's Fallon New York to develop a multimedia campaign directed at consumers, advertisers, and ad agencies. The Magazine Publishers of America is the industry's trade group, and it will spend more than $40 million over three years to promote the value of the printed publication. "When it comes to promoting ourselves, we are doing a lousy job," he said. "We have to understand we are an industry, and we have to act like an industry." -- Jack Kliger, Hachette Publishing Jack Kliger, president and CEO of Hachette Publishing, is a vocal proponent of the industry's need to sell itself and has been instrumental in developing the MPA's multimillion-dollar advertising campaign. "When it comes to promoting ourselves, we are doing a lousy job," he said. "We have to understand we are an industry, and we have to act like an industry." Starcom Worldwide asked a group of magazine readers to clip out pages of magazines which they thought were a defining part of that magazine's reading experience. One-third of those readers selected ads--which speaks to magazines' unique relationship with advertising (as opposed to TV). Publishers are instructing ad salespeople to spend more sales call time promoting the magazine category overall, rather than just pushing the titles for which they are working. The move is part of an industry effort that duplicates collective marketing initiatives, such as the "Got Milk?" promotions. Key to the campaign is the concept of "engagement" or the idea that consumers spend more time intimately involved with magazines than with other types of media. Ninety percent of magazine readers pay full and complete attention. In an era of multi-tasking, this notion could be a key to all print promotion. At first I thought that using the Web to promote print was too contradictory, but then I realized that we live and work in a multimedia world and that print must coexist with the Web and other electronic media. Just as marketers must use every approach to reach and engage their audience, so we as the printing industry must use every approach to reach our audience--who just happen to be those same marketers.

 

 

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