The most dominant story in magazine media over the last decade-the decline in print as digital media surges-may be changing, according to an all-star panel of ad agency executives at a min breakfast Thursday. There was general consensus on the panel of four that the decline has stopped and buying into print media has stabilized-and may last for several years.
If true—and it’s coming from the front lines of marketing—that’s great news for magazine publishers, especially the ones who sell via ad agencies. The panel, including Allison Howald from PHD Worldwide, Rachel Pasqua of MEC Global, MRY’s Christine Peterson and Ginger Taylor White with Amplifi US, cautioned that even if print buying has stabilized, the evolving media landscape means legacy print brands face a tough challenge to capture marketers’ attention and budgets. The panel covered a wide range of topics at the event, ranging from the broken RFP process to what buyers are looking for in media, plus automated buying and ROI. The event was held at the Yale Club in New York City.
What’s key in the advertiser-agency-publisher dynamic? Strong relationships and people who are "willing to listen, but be nimble and a little bit scrappy sometimes," Howald said.
But the word that seemed to reverberate throughout the breakfast was change. "We have to all behave differently to get the dollars that are migrating to other places," White advised the audience. This shift requires a break in the mindset that ‘we’ve always kind of done it this way before.’"
Panelists agreed that this change in thinking has to start from the very beginning—if you’ve already laid out the media plan, it’s too late. All it takes is getting one client on board and then "all of the sudden we can show them," Howald said. She emphasized this point by saying her company has an internal hashtag: #iwishiwouldofthoughtofthat. This gets used after someone sees something in the news that they wished they had thought of.
A big part of this change is the rise of programmatic and marketing automation, but the "relationship with the middle man, the agency, hasn’t changed at all," Pasqua said. "It’s still that human element." Other panelists agreed that clients need "people like us" more than ever, because the landscape is evolving so quickly. While advertising dollars are shifting, they’re going towards mobile and video which means there’s "still money to be had, you just have to build the right programs with the right audience that include all the touch points," White said.