6 New Tools for Audience Development
When I was in high school, I cleaned and maintained a health-care facility. I was a janitor. But I called myself a “maintenance engineer,” because it sounded a lot better when I talked to girls. You’ve probably noticed that circulation people throughout the publishing industry are now all referring to their positions as “audience development.” Are they just trying to sweeten vinegar, or does this signify some larger change in the industry?
Probably a little of both, but there is no denying that some big changes are happening in the circulation … um … audience-development world. In fact, no other area of strategic media operations is experiencing the same kind of important and sustained change. This is especially true for business-to-business, controlled-circulation companies.
Once merely a direct-marketing operation pushing out cover wraps, e-mail blasts and direct mail, audience development now encompasses webcast recruitment, online-traffic generation, co-registration, lead generation, conference and trade-show recruitment, as well as managing integrated audience databases. It used to be that a decent audit statement was good enough, but now the audience-development group must juggle their efforts between multitudes of distinctive products.
The changes are even more profound than that because marketing has changed. Now, the quality and quantity of their audience are the crucial elements of success for every media company.
Changes in the Market
The Internet is spoiling marketers. The performance metrics for online campaigns are available almost instantaneously. I can buy a half-dozen keywords on a search engine this morning, and by this afternoon, I’ll know which performed the best and how many sales I’ve made. Based on the cost of the words and number of clicks, I can calculate a return on my marketing investment. Similar instantaneous results are available from online banner campaigns as well.
Marketers want these kinds of ROI metrics from all media products. They want to know how many products they have sold because of the ad they ran in your magazine or the booth they bought at your conference. They want you to tell them who is ready to buy their products, so they can present them with an offer. They want sales leads.