At ABM Forum, Publishers Wonder If Marketers Have Lost Touch With Branding
Direct response has gone from "the gutter of marketing to the nirvana."
During the American Business Media Executive Forum in New York yesterday, BusinessWeek chief economist Michael Mandel gave long suffering publishers some hope by saying he believes there is a "media boom" coming in which marketers will reinvest in many of the traditional channels they’ve cut back.
The ABM Executive Forum was held in place of ABM’s usual Chicago-based Top Management Meeting, and drew around 200 attendees.
Other speakers weren’t so sure about Mandel’s forecast. "I don’t think print will ever come back, it will probably stay at the current level," said Anthea Stratigos, co-founder and CEO of Outsell Inc.
Stratigos also threw cold water on paid content. "Paid content could be more challenged in 2010 than 2009," she added. "Spending by the end-user is decreasing and there is no automatic leverage from ad-based assets to paid content. Media companies come in at the lowest price point."
However, one speaker wondered about the marketer backlash against branding. ‘I’m concerned that marketers have lost touch with branding," said Jeff DeBalko, president and CIO of Reed Business Information. "We can show them research where at least 30 percent of the audience wants to read print in favor of any other medium and marketers don’t get it. Direct response used to be the gutter of marketing, now it’s the nirvana."
That’s not to say Reed is ignoring it. In recent years, lead generation has gone from zero to one-third of Reed’s overall online revenue and is a component of 80 percent to 90 percent of Reed’s online products, DeBalko added.
Still, DeBalko is worried about advertiser mindset. "We spoke with one agency guy who just talked about how he could cut the budget by 30 percent. A couple years ago advertisers would pay us $1 million for something with a lot of neat features. Now they’ll pay one-third of that and everything has to be measured and provide leads. If we as an industry continue to offer the same thing but for 30 percent less, we’re out of business."