Cutting through the clutter
In an effort spearheaded by MPA, the Association of Magazine Media, nearly 140 magazine brands from 37 companies have joined forces in an industry-wide marketing campaign to share the message that magazine media delivers the most credible, trusted and engaging content over any other form of media. The central theme, “Magazine Media. Better. Believe It.” addresses magazine media’s ability to produce professional, brand-safe content across platforms. Launched in October and running through spring 2018 in both print and digital properties, the campaign is expected to reach 75% of U.S. adults. Drug Store News spoke with MPA, the Association of Magazine Media president and CEO Linda Thomas Brooks about the impact of magazines in retail.
Drug Store News: Why are you doing this campaign?
Linda Thomas Brooks: In a media world where 3-out-of-4 Americans say they have fallen for a fake headline and marketers’ ads are showing up in unsafe digital environments, we felt it was important to remind both consumers and marketers that magazine media communicate with an authority that people trust.
DSN: How does it benefit the retail trade?
LTB: Beyond “fake news,” information on everything from health care to beauty advice is getting more convoluted every day. Magazine brands help consumers cut through the clutter by serving up content they can trust and recommending products with authority, extending that same trust to advertisers.
Retailers will benefit in two ways: reminding consumers that magazines are a shortcut to quality information will increase newsstand sales, and more advertising in magazines will drive product sales at retail.
DSN: What is the current landscape of magazines at retail?
LTB: Retailers face challenges that range from the number of trips customers make to a store and how much they put in their basket, to maintaining loyalty and engagement. Magazine advertising can address all of these hurdles.
Marketers are realizing that context matters and beginning to change their advertising strategies. Magazine media builds brands and sells products in a safe and transparent environment, with demonstrable results. Consumers believe in magazine brands, and they transfer that belief to the advertising.
DSN: In addition to the campaign, how are you addressing retail challenges for magazines?
LTB: The campaign is just one of the ways we are addressing retail challenges.
We also have been meeting individually with retailers, advertisers and agencies. Magazines have long been known as the most influential of all media, and now, reliable third-party research proves that they also are the best place to drive sales. Nielsen Catalina Solutions analyzed 1,400 campaigns across media types, and magazines came out on top with an average return on advertising spend of $3.94 per dollar spent. No other media even comes close.
And we have the Print Magazine Sales Guarantee, which promises a refund if advertisements don’t boost sales. The industry has done more than 80 of these guarantees and has not had to give a penny back.
DSN: What do retailers and manufacturers need to do?
LTB: We believe the magazine media industry has a moment in time to seize the conversation and make a meaningful statement. Retailers and manufacturers should also feel there is opportunity.
While selling magazines at retail is very important to us, retailers should view their relationship with these brands as an important, trusted connection for them with the consumers and the products in their store.
DSN: What can the retailer expect from the campaign and the industry in the year ahead? How will it be measured?
LTB: It is early, but the campaign has already received positive feedback, social media engagement and considerable press attention. A Coastal Living reader wrote the magazine applauding the campaign, saying, “Since I have long ago given up on television’s selective news and prefer to read my news, it was good to see this in your magazine.” It’s rare for a reader to take action on praising an advertisement, and it reflects on how this campaign is resonating with consumers.
CPG clients have been receptive to the messages, as well, and agree with the messaging. Ultimately, we will know it succeeded when we see magazine media advertising budgets increase, leading to more retail sales.