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The future of media: partnerships, not real estate

Prime Creative Media COO Zelda Tupicoff outlines the difference between partnering with your clients to grow their company vs transactional media sales.

There was a time when buying an ad in a magazine was like buying real estate. It was a numbers game: you would compare prices and locations, then go with the cheapest deal that would give you the largest audience.

Prime Creative Media COO Zelda Tupicoff.
Prime Creative Media COO Zelda Tupicoff.

It was a cold transaction, often managed by agencies, with the contact between the magazine’s production team and client kept to a minimum.

The days of this type of transaction between advertiser and media are numbered. Magazines and newspapers across Australia, who used this traditional model, have sadly been closing their doors.

The closure of these titles is not a reflection on the demise of the relevance of print media, but the failure of this old form of advertiser/media relationship to provide real value.

In the B2B space, the magazines that are surviving are the ones that work with their advertisers as true partners. Advertising is booked a year at a time, so that the editorial, design and business development teams can get to know their clients, and vice versa.

In the best cases, they become an extension of the client’s marketing department. The content supports the growth of the client and the growth of the industry, increasing the size of the pie and the client’s share of it.

Working with experienced journalists on content is an important part of this partnership. There are many publications that simply ask clients to provide their own content. They discount their ads heavily, and need clients to supply content because they don’t invest in their editorial teams. The result is a race to the bottom, cheaper and cheaper ads in a poorly produced magazine, that does little to grow the industry or their clients. These are the magazines that we are seeing disappear.

The magazines, however, that invest in editorial teams and content creation, and have a strong list of partners, are continuing to thrive. They gain better insights into the market by working closely with their advertisers. Advertisers are well recognised in the industry and seen as true thought leaders. They grow their businesses as a result.

The win-win relationship means that even during a crisis, both the magazine and the advertiser are well placed to pull through a downturn, having built their shared success on the foundation of a true partnership.

We offer this checklist below to distinguish between a partnership and real estate approach to advertising.

A magazine with a partnership approach will:

  • Discuss a partnership from the beginning and encourage a minimum 12-month campaign
  • Include content in all proposals
  • Provide advice on how to get the best campaign results
  • Encourage clients to have the magazine’s editorial team draft content, rather than provide their own
  • Be knowledgeable about the industry, and will propose content ideas from the outset
  • Make life easier for clients by coordinating approvals and chasing advertisers on deadlines for both content and advertising
  • Provide advice and assistance with artwork
  • Encourage a print-first multi-platform approach, which distributes your content through websites, e-newsletters, and social media after publication in the printed magazine.

A magazine with a real estate approach will:

  • Sell heavily discounted advertising
  • Only vaguely discuss content opportunities, if at all
  • Ask clients to write content themselves
  • Focus the discussion around the price of the advertising
  • Base digital advertising prices around impressions, rather than positions.

Prime Creative Media has focused on a partnership approach to its publications for the past two decades, helping grow clients across 15 industries and 27 publications. The team’s multiple-platform, content-rich publishing model has helped it continue to thrive, by growing only through the growth of our clients.

This article has been republished with permission from Prime Creative Media’s website.

Written by Zelda Tupicoff, COO, Prime Creative Media

Zelda Tupicoff is an experienced publishing industry executive who manages a growing team of business development managers to achieve outstanding marketing outcomes for clients across a range of Prime Creative Media titles in Melbourne. She is the former CEO of an international niche publishing and event company, was on the Victorian committee of Publishers Australia, and has been a guest lecturer on B2B publishing at RMIT University.

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