Wednesday, May 27, 2009

When it comes to purchase intent, magazines play the starring role

Thoughtful publishers and marketers are concentrating more and more on accountability; how to track it, how to make the most of it. And we can all hope that the current trend towards "effectiveness planning" prevails over "reach-based planning" because that is very good news for this medium.

In a guest column in Publishing Executive, Ellen Oppenheim, executive vice-president* of Magazine Publishers of America (MPA) writes about how, from the perspective of marketers, magazines provide better return on investment than other media. And she illustrates it with specifics.

Reach-based marketers only care about the maximum number of eyeballs at the lowest cost, she says, which is classic "old thinking". Effectiveness-based marketers are more concerned with outcomes, based on their objectives and the cost to achieve them. Another way to put it is how the medium drives purchase intent.
When leading accountability researcher Marketing Evolution looked at the cost for marketers to drive brand awareness, it found that magazines play well in the sandbox. TV drives awareness most efficiently, and magazines contribute as well. On average, it cost 98 cents for TV and $1.08 for magazines for every person whose “awareness of a brand increased”—roughly a 10-percent difference. (Note: Online contributes to awareness, too, but at a more distant $1.97.)

If awareness is the marketing objective, marketers would be well-served to have TV as the lynchpin of their plans and to have magazines play an important supporting role.

But when purchase intent becomes the marketing objective, the roles reverse. Magazines play a starring role, with TV in the background. On average, it costs just $1.23 per person whose purchase intent shifted due to magazine ads, compared to $1.77 for TV (44 percent more) and $2.61 for online (112 percent more). In fact, the cost to get one person to want to buy your brand via magazine advertising is not that much more than it is to get that person to be aware of your brand.
Her column points out that every magazine marketer and seller should understand and deploy this kind of intelligence, thereby positioning their magazines as a "medium of action".

*She was, previous to joining MPA in 2001, the senior vice president, media director for Foote, Cone & Belding, New York.

[Thanks to Peter Lebensold for alterting me to this article.]



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