by Chris Meyer

In case you’ve been sleeping for a few years, here’s your wake-up call: Every company is a media company. That’s right. You and the rest of the usual suspects no longer have a monopoly on “media.” Every company with a message has either decided or is in the process of deciding they can produce print, online and even events at least as well as you.

Remember this the next time an advertiser asks, “Do you understand our media strategy? Can you help us win?” More than ever, how you answer will determine whether they spend more or less of their media budgets with you;or bypass you altogether as an irrelevant middleman.

The good news is there is more media marketing money than ever out there. As you approach 2007 budgets, what’s your plan to earn more than your fair share?

First of all, have confidence that no matter how much money advertisers have to spend on media, very few care to invest in building their own media enterprises. It’s not what they do; that’s why they have you. They understand the influence of your content, and they respect your loyal audience. But do they value your brands? And are you clearly communicating the unique marketing power behind your brands?

Consider this metric for helping publishers and advertisers qualify the return on a media marketing investment;the IAR Index. IAR accounts for the core media benefits advertisers are buying with their media dollars: Innovation, Access and Relationships. These critical measures of media marketing productivity can be defined in simple terms everyone should understand.

  • Innovation: What are publishers inventing to redefine the marketplace? How can advertisers take advantage of it?
  • Access: Who do publishers know? Can they target innovation to identify new channels to the market that generate qualified leads and contacts for advertisers?
  • Relationships: Can publishers leverage that access to open doors and seat advertisers at the table with leaders who buy, sell or influence decisions about their products or services?

On any scale in every market, IAR is the ROI advertisers expect from their media partners. In terms of helping advertisers account for the performance of their marketing plans, IAR is practical, measurable, and accountable to their business. At the end of the day, IAR measures how many doors marketing opened for sales.

Consider the IAR strategy Aviation Week launched to capitalize on the 2003 Centennial of the Wright Brothers’ first flight. In 2001, the publisher recognized this upcoming milestone as a platform for asserting the company’s new multimedia leadership brand. Instead of just waving the company flag in house ads, AvWeek invented an advocacy campaign called “The Next Century of Flight” to address an industry brain drain and promote careers in aerospace.

With a menu of NCF-branded multimedia opportunities, AvWeek sales managers engaged prospects, not to buy ads but to buy into a broad-based coalition of industry, government and academia leaders dedicated to encouraging future innovators. The effort was supported by a sustained multimedia campaign that introduced participating companies to new business partners and prospects, and netted the publisher more than $2 million in direct and indirect revenue over the next two years.

Beyond Passive Delivery
Another example of IAR at work is emerging in construction media. Companies that publish project data, product information and trade magazines are breaking down the walls between these services to connect advertisers to pipelines of real-time construction project leads, building product specification requirements and multimedia marketing channels. The result is a new media model that leaps beyond the passive delivery of information to actively facilitate relationships and enable commerce around dynamic, branded intelligence.

Trade show producers are among the best at delivering IAR. From badge holders and booth upgrades to signage and hospitality, the menu of event marketing options is vast, and results can be measured directly by the number of leads an exhibitor walks out with at the end of the week.
As you approach 2007 budgets, turn up the volume on your own brand of IAR. Advertisers will spend more of their total marketing budgets with you. And you’ll thank each other for the results.

Chris Meyer has worked for more than 20 years building brands and marketing capabilities for such media leaders as The McGraw-Hill Companies, Saatchi & Saatchi Business Communications and Edelman Public Relations Worldwide. He founded IAR Marketing to help advertisers and media companies work smarter together. E-mail questions or comments to

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