Thursday, February 12, 2009

Like a Rolling Stone

I love magazines - the feel of the pages, the drama, the design, the imagery, the surprise … and the ads. Even more than magazines, I love music. My Ipod is filled with sound that inspires me. Last week, I put these Lovemark elements together on a visit to Jann Wenner’s iconic Rolling Stone magazine in New York. It was fun to meet publisher Will Schenck and his team, right opposite Radio City Music Hall.

I’ve had a 40 year love affair with Rolling Stone – going right back to the first issue in November 9 1967. The magazine is a great mix of Mystery – think of the iconic covers (their offices have every cover there has ever been on the walls). Then there’s the place it has had in quality pop culture throughout the years; Sensuality – the design, the legendary inspired photo shoots; and Intimacy – the new, smaller, format; that sense of familiarity between reader and magazine.

But it’s tough times in the magazine business. Advertising revenues are down, audiences are fragmenting, and the magazine glut grows even as titles close. On the way up is digital, interactive, user driven, new providers. Those advertising revenues need to be attracted back.

I’ve been involved with advertising all my life. And there are five truths about advertisers that I know you need to remember if you’re serious about sending advertising revenue North:

1. Advertisers talk metrics, but need Purpose.
Advertisers don’t like to be confused. They like to know who they’re talking to and where they are going. The desire for Purpose has only grown stronger in these turbulent times.

2. Advertisers talk presence, but need Creativity.
It’s not just about showing up in the media. And it’s not about recall. It’s about placing a brilliant idea in the perfect media so it connects. Advertisers need your creativity, not just your space.

3. Advertisers demand sales, but need Partners.
Partners who appreciate the complexity of their business. Partners who can help them sell and connect. Lovemarks research has shown that purchasing decisions are overwhelmingly emotional. For cars, it’s 63% emotional. Food - 75% emotional. And magazines? 85% emotional!

4. Advertisers cry out for digital, but need sisomo.
Sight, Sound and Motion. The digital revolution is transforming marketing, entertainment, communications, technology. But this is not about tools and technologies. It’s about the fastest, most exciting way to get emotional connectivity. Sisomo is the way to attract friends, fans and followers.

5. Advertisers want to be liked …. and hope they can be Loved.
Francis Ford Coppola said: When I review a new wine, a new gourmet food product, I ask only one question… Will people love it?

Visiting Rolling Stone was a great day, but I’ve just got one question. The location, the people, the titles were great - and next time I visit I’d love to be blasted with full on Rock and Roll!


Paulo A. Pereira said...

I agree with all 5 points you made, but I think magazines have to think about how they do business and rethink how they sell their magazine to advertisers. Magazines need to step it up period! In this tough economy they need to get their act together and know their advertisers inside and out. Magazine sales staff need to read, inform themselves about their advertisers new campaigns, promotions, and products. They can’t just sell like they have in the past they need to change their thought process and be an asset to their advertisers. You want to become a source of information for your advertisers. Create a better connection with them so it becomes a two way street.

1. Advertisers talk metrics, but need Purpose – There are metrics that measure a lot of things now-a-days. Advertisers seem to focus on metrics that really mean nothing to their business. This is a chance for a magazine to step up and really explain to them what metrics they should be focusing on and not just the ones that make their magazine look good.

2. Advertisers talk presence, but need Creativity– Magazines need to be more open with their advertisers and speak up, when they see that their current ads do not reflect the current market place. Don’t be afraid to go directly to the advertiser talk to them about it. Open communication is very important.

3. Advertisers demand sales, but need Partners.– totally agree - it is a partnership and the sales people on the magazines staff have to become their advertisers partner. Sales people have a tendency to just sell their magazine no matter what-they are in it for themselves. And guess what every advertiser knows it - but if you become a partner to the advertiser sometimes you can tell them, look I would love to get you business but your new campaign doesn’t really fit in with our magazines target audience. (I know shocking a sales person telling the truth) Being truthful with your advertiser will create a bond -that’s what you want right now. Next time they will take your opinion more seriously, ask for your advise and will understand your magazine better. So if their new campaign targets your magazines audience you won’t have to sell them they know this already and just give you the business.

4. Advertisers cry out for digital, but need sisomo. - Advertisers seem to always cry we need to be digital but don’t really know what they need. What they do need is guidance. They don’t know what direction they should go digitally but magazines can get their act together have a perfect marriage between their print and online media. Know and have the research to guide the advertiser to the best digital solution. Don’t just sell them anything to get the business- know if it works for them and have the research to back it up.

5. Advertisers want to be liked …. and hope they can be Loved. - Agreed and now is the time for advertisers to connect to their audience so then when this economy bounces back consumers will remember them and advertisers will then reap the benefits of their advertising.

Barry said...

Having a lifetime sub to RS (yes, a labeled expiration date of Feb55), your visit resonated with me. So, too, your succinct, clear, and understandable keys to effective mag (et al) advertising. Good stuff - thanks! (I understand the no R & R, though - we are a triathlon company; but, aren't swimming, biking and running all day :))