Why does it seem so hard for some publishers to understand the concept
of magazine media as a brand-based business? Where print is a strong
component, but only one of several.
At the Western Publications Association Conference last month, I sat in
on the half-day Executive Management Workshop (which FOLIO: sponsored).
One of the attendees challenged a speaker, saying that the additional
work of an e-mail newsletter, or a Web site, means in effect, that
you’re the publisher of not one but two magazines, or three;with all
the production, marketing and staffing implications.
The next day, I was involved in a discussion with my luncheon
tablemates about selling e-media. What struck me is that there is still
a view that separate sales staffs ought to exist for print and e-media
Later that evening, at the Maggie Awards reception, a publisher was
describing his very successful e-media initiatives, but said at a prior
company, the rep firm he was using complained that the publisher was
"giving him too much stuff to sell." To which the publisher artfully
replied, "But you haven’t even made budget."
People, this is really straightforward: Your readers are seeking and
receiving information in many channels. You marginalize yourself if you
think your business is print publishing.
And doesn’t it make sense that one salesperson should represent your
brand in all media? The salesperson can have more conversations (and
more substantive ones) with customers and offer a broader array of
marketing solutions. Hey, if you don’t think print works, let me
suggest some lead gen via a White Paper. Or if you want more bang for
your buck, try a newsletter schedule mixed with a select number of
print insertions. (I’ll make an exception here for events and
In "The Right Way To Do Brand Extensions",
publishing analyst Dan Aks argues for a rigorous model for developing
brand extensions. He says, in part: "The goal is a shift from a
magazine orientation into a ubiquitous, targeted, reader and
advertiser-centric media enterprise. Why? First you have to accept
there’s a problem. In the case of magazine publishers, the problem is
we’re in a declining business."
Those are pretty strong words. So why is it that in a survey of b-to-b
publishing executives, 42 percent of our respondents receive
no revenue from online media and 53 percent receive no revenue from
events? Why is this so hard?