Guest Column: Are You Providing What Media Buyers Need?
As the head of an organization that counts both media owners and media buyers as members, I find myself in an interesting position to witness the mind-sets at both ends of the marketplace. For years, media buyers have been clamoring for access to standardized circulation data via an easy-to-use online tool. If the old "customer is always right" adage holds true, why not give customers what they are asking for?
A number of years ago, I wrote in an article that "… advertisers cannot tolerate obstacles to intelligent and efficient media decision-making." Now with a real spendthrift mentality taking root—in the recent past and for the foreseeable future—I believe more strongly than ever that the print-media industry must focus on providing advertisers with the information and metrics they need, when they need them. Accurate, quality data is print's best antidote to the migration of ad revenue to interactive and its best bet for capturing elusive ad dollars when pressure to maximize investment is at an all-time high.
Plus, as our industry continues to press forward onto new, more sophisticated marketing platforms, print-media owners have far greater opportunities to reach their target buyers.
However, it seems ironic that some publishers are not taking advantage of the myriad of opportunities by providing the type of data marketers need to perform their jobs effectively and efficiently. Media owners would benefit, as reliable, credible data—which is needed for truly accurate and efficient planning processes—could be what seals the deal for media buyers.
Stepping Out of the Unknown
While media owners have long contemplated the move to standardize circulation reporting, reticence looms.
I understand that clarifying the existing shades of gray with truly comparable data is a scary proposition. But media owners should take it upon themselves to walk in their buyers' shoes.