Do people still read magazines?
I doubt it.
And yet the group sales manager of a trade magazine publishing company recently told me proudly, when I challenged their readership numbers, that one of their mags is sitting in Qantas Club lounges. I told her I think there’s a big difference between sitting in a lounge and being read in a lounge. Whenever I’m in Qantas Club, I see people mostly on their laptops, phones and iPads, not reading a magazine that just happens to by lying around. The same goes for reception areas. If I have a few minute spare while waiting in reception, I’m going to be too busy catching up on emails and voicemails than just lazily browsing through a magazine. This isn’t 1990.
Our recommendation to clients is usually that advertising should be the lowest priority on the list of marketing tactics they should be investing in. If you’re doing everything else well – that is, direct marketing, SEO, CPC, content marketing, events, social media, etc – and you still have budget left over, then sure, let’s spend some of it on advertising. It might pick up some strays that our other tactics have missed or it might just act as brand reminders which trigger someone to think of your product when they have a new business problem. But, even then, why would you spend much of it on print which can’t be accurately tracked?
I think the publishing industry is missing the boat. They should be pivoting themselves to act as industry research firms instead of straight-up publishers. If you’ve been publishing a magazine for the logistics sector for 15 years, you should have developed some expertise in who’s who in the sector and what motivates them. Why aren’t you helping us develop innovative new ways to market to them, rather than stick to the same old models?