Matthew Valentine writes for Marketing Week about the climate of gloom surrounding traditional print media. He argues that this climate is not shared by its digital and customer publishing counterparts which are embracing creativity to drive change.
“Creativity has always driven the growth of media brands, but the speed of change in recent years has left some familiar names reeling in shock. As nimble new players accelerate away from the pack, there is evidence that lumbering old timers are spluttering on their dust.
Many media brands are suffering; earlier this month, 22-year-old men’s title Arena announced its closure. Figures from the Audit Bureau of Circulations (ABCs) show that traditional magazines are no longer those filling the spots at the top of the most-popular lists. The top 20 is now dominated by Sky’s TV guide magazine and supermarket publications such as those from Asda or Tesco.
In specialist publishing sectors, such as magazines for car enthusiasts, it is easy to find former readers lurking on web forums, bemoaning the fall in quality of automotive titles. While general motoring titles have seen a 0.3% year-on-year fall in circulation in the 12 months to the end of December 2008, niche titles that deal with high performance cars and motorcycles have seen a 29.7% fall.
These figures can make uncomfortable reading for media owners and begs the question: how can they become more creative?The team behind the online publication Drivers Republic claims it is about being more interactive. This not only gives consumers a voice but helps advertisers better target people as a result. More targeted advertising leads to better return on investment for brands and ultimately, a healthier media sector.”
“…Drivers Republic is inviting readers to attend integration or brand immersion events supported by manufacturers. These will see between 30 and 50 readers invited to a race track to enjoy a range of cars, with demonstrations by professional drivers, filmed laps and direct experience of the manufacturer’s brand values.
“Digital is not a cheaper route to market; it can even be more expensive. It’s about interactivity.”
These events don’t just target those consumers immediately in brands’ headlights either; an event for the forthcoming Porsche GT3 – a high-powered specialist variant of the classic 911 model – would aim to appeal to a wider group than those who could buy one at the list price of 81,914. It might also try to keep those motorists who might buy a more junior Porsche model in a few years’ time interested in the German marque.
As well as giving car enthusiast readers a genuinely appealing day out, such activities give consumers direct influence over manufacturers, and that makes Drivers Republic a far “stickier” proposition for its fans, says Davies.”