Following Spark 2015, Abby Carvosso, Group Managing Director, Bauer Advertising, looks at the key challenges the event raised for brands and advertisers.
The marketing industry is in the middle of its biggest ever challenge – what Bob Wootton, Director of Media & Advertising at ISBA, called ‘an extinction moment’ at Magnetic’s recent SPARK event.
A growing number of brands are shouting at consumers for attention, whilst ad blocking is on the rise, and industry experts, including Millward Brown, are increasingly concerned about the long term damage to brand marketing this environment is causing.
Bob Wootton laid down a challenge on behalf of clients to the magazine media industry to lead the way, describing it as a significant opportunity for publishers.
I agree – my experiences of working with magazine media brands including Grazia, heat and Q, has shown me that they have always led the way when building a truly loyal audience.
After all, the single most important commercial asset a magazine media brand has is its audience – without that, it is nothing. The first change is to address the way technology companies dominate the content delivery and distribution debate. We know best how to get content to an audience in the right place at the right time, because we understand and respect what they want.
Media Owner Expertise
For too long now we have let technology specialists lead. The time has come for media owners to truly demonstrate our expertise. We need to remember what makes magazine media brands so influential – the talent. It is the teams of brilliant experts that nurture and manage audiences day in day out, who should be front and centre.
Editorial teams have an instinctive creative skill of finding what is genuinely interesting. Let’s take Grazia, for example. The team worked tirelessly on their Equal Pay campaign, changing the law to introduce mandatory pay audits. This all started with a focus on what is meaningful to the audience and demonstrates the effect on popular culture media brands, in particular magazine media brands, can have.
Collaboration with Brands
Empire Editor-In-Chief Terri White summed this up nicely when talking about the passion of her team – who else would obsessively debate and investigate every single aspect of the film industry day in, day out? The Empire team do and that is why 3.5 million consumers value the content they create so highly.
We need to help brands produce the very best content for their audiences and be open to collaboration with partners across the marketing industry. I would argue we have been through a period of marketing where commercial partners themselves have acted as publishers, sometimes to good effect, but not always. Brands need to ask themselves why they are creating content and if this is the correct approach, then publishers are perfectly placed to help them do that.
Mark Creighton of Dentsu Aegis said publishers collaborating in this way is a must-do. ASDA’s decision to partner with a magazine media publisher for the creation, production and distribution of its magazine is a good example of this in effect.
The very best magazine media brands are built on leading audience insight. We are well placed to share and inform these insights with brands that wish to engage with the audiences we represent. We have a responsibility to continuously demonstrate to the industry that we understand audiences of all kinds, and are ready to share this information with commercial partners who are looking for collaborations.
We launched The Debrief, for example, after travelling up and down the country speaking to twenty-something women about what they wanted from a new magazine media brand. It was this insight that allowed us to create an engaged community of over 960,000 consumers across a range of platforms – an audience that has attracted collaborations from brands such as Bacardi, H&M and River Island.
As first party data becomes a growing part of our business, our understanding of audiences will only deepen, enabling us to further our own brands’ engagement with audiences as well as those of our customers’ brands. Finally, we need to be able to demonstrate the influence of a fully multiplatform magazine media brand.
The magazine media industry is working hard on a new set of metrics that will do precisely this. We know magazine media brands are the best at grabbing and holding consumer attention. My belief is that we will see new metrics reinforcing this strength during the course of 2016 through the work of PAMCo, another important partner in the audience measurement industry.
Bob Wootton has asked us to help clients in a time of crisis for brand marketing. We are experts in audience receptivity. It is time to come together as an industry and for all publishers to answer this call.
*This article first appeared on Mediatel.