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Marketing dollars continue to move toward "anything and everything digital," Hroncich notes, though print and event sponsorships are creeping upward as the economy continues to recover. The good news for publishers is that this is not a case of new platforms simply supplanting the old, and it is up to publishers to help advertisers understand where best to place their finite ad dollars. This involves publishers' going to marketers with information showing they've listened to their audiences, and demonstrating that they themselves will listen to what marketers have to say.
"It's the same thing that's been going on for years and years," Gardiner says. "You see strengths and weaknesses in different media as new media comes along. Magazines got hurt quite a bit when TV came along, and those vehicles that used to be more TV-like, the Lifes and Looks, disappeared. The big question—and a lot of magazines have been really good about [addressing] it—is how to have an editorial strategy that spans platforms, and how to assess the consumer use of those different platforms."
Magazines' general proposition has not changed, Gardiner notes, referencing a trade promotion he's kept on his desk for 25 years outlining the "five basic reasons to buy magazines": Coverage, Circulation, Editorial, Readership, and Do Its Readers Buy My Product?
"Bottom line," Smith says, "is that compelling brands mobilize consistent messaging across multiple platforms—that, in aggregate, delivers engaged consumers. Not dead is the 'big idea' promotion. More platforms allow publishers to mobilize 'big idea' campaigns that are optimized to the nature of each platform, increasing engagement and ROI. Advertisers still buy great ideas that deliver eyeballs." PE