A relationship?

Financing publications with advertising can have many advantages, so the temptation to reach for them is big. On the other hand, many publishers fear that they will have to make many compromises to the advantage of advertisers, that could weaken the message directed to “their own” audience. How do you build a satisfying cooperation model with advertisers?

Mariusz Czykier

★ 6 minutes czytania

1. The number of niches and ways of acting in the publisher – advertiser – customer triangle is infinite, and whether you use them efficiently depends primarily on creativity and openness of the editorial teams developing a particular publishing project. One seemingly simple thing, which in practice turns out to be the greatest obstacle in starting an effective relation with an advertiser, is to answer the question: what do you actually offer? Tens of advertising presentations claim one and the same thing: “we know how to reach a unique group of consumers.” This short sentence hides two traps that we usually are not aware of. First: reaching a given group of customers is not by itself a value an advertiser would be interested in. We often forget our customers are bombed with advertising messages almost all the time. In newspapers, on television, browsing the Internet, listening to the radio or looking through the car window – in all these places the customer has a chance to pop into a message of our advertiser. Thus, offering “reaching the customers,” we probably offer to the advertiser what he is probably already getting in many other ways.

Another trap is the “uniqueness” of the group of customers. Saying that a group is unique because it uses my offer is a weak argument when we want to talk a customer into investing in an advertising in our project. Any group of customers, described with certain criteria, is unique within those criteria. If we want to persuade an advertiser there are values generated by our group of customers, we want to define its “unniqueness” precisely. For instance: telecom operators use in communication with their customers publications which reach the readers in a precisely defined moment – when they make a shopping decision (choosing or extending a TV package). It’s hard imagine a better moment for making an impact on the customer than the very minute he or she is making the choice. In that case the key value that we offer to the advertiser is this very moment when the customer is clashed with our message. That moment of reaching the customer is unique and most valuable from the point of view of advertising – and not the group of customers, which in this case could be defined very broadly. In the T-Mobile-Trendy.pl project, the foundation of the advertising offer was based on a precise definition of customers’ needs and the moment they search for information. The user’s goal is to obtain information about different mobile phone models, in order to choose one that is best for them. Providing that information in an adequate form and with strong support of particular mobile phone brands (advertising) has more than doubled the time a user devotes to consume brand content, as compared to content of general character.

2. If you know what makes customers decide to buy your offer, it is likely the same element will be equally important for an advertiser considering whether to pay for an advertisement in your publication. If your magazine’s job is to suggest the most enjoyable ways of spending money via a bank account found in your offer – share your recipe for success with the advertiser: let him tell your customers about the joy of spending money on his products using a bank account in your bank. One of the most frequent mistakes made by publishers is that they try to limit the role of an advertiser to a quiet sponsor, who does not take part in the event, but stays in the corner and observes other people at the party. Such an attitude, most frequently reflected in selling standard space and locating the advert in places not used for content usually

discourages advertisers from taking up cooperation with you. Which is quite understandable.
Advertisers want interaction between the user and the message. If that message is not closely linked to the context of the publication, if it does not relate to similar values and does not speak a similar language with the customer – it will be difficult to interact with the customer. The message will only be an advertising picture, and will most likely get omitted by the reader. It is good to take up the effort of sharing detailed presentations of your ideas with the advertiser, because a creative use of the context often results in multiplied effects both for the advertiser and for the publication: starting with bigger engagement of the reader, up to regular advertising cooperation, following the principle that a satisfied customer comes back.

An example of this kind of cooperation is the advertising action of Ceneo.pl (Allegro Group) in the  Expert Play (P4) project. The description of Ceneo solution allowing to compare prices via a mobile app was expanded by placing bar codes next to chosen products found in other editorial materials. This allowed the readers of the magazine to test the application instantly, at the same time devoting more time to reading the magazine.

3. We need to be frank about this: the model of advertising based on press layouts or advertising forms on the Internet or television is slowly – but surely – dying. In the nearest future the key words in the advertising world will be ‘interaction’ and ‘engagement.’ The effectiveness of advertisements will be decreasing gradually, due to the growing number of incentives reaching the customers. Does this mean we should give up business models based on advertising? Quite the contrary! The sector of consumer communication has a strong asset: a great knowledge about its consumers. It is not based on research or declarations, but on real shopping decisions and the use of services. What’s more, we have within our reach consumers that we have regular and direct contact with. Nothing cumbers engaging those consumers in more active behaviors: product tests, shopping recommendations, assessment.

There are gradually more examples of such solutions, because even today advertisers generally tend to prefer solutions that drift away from traditional models of ‘presenting’ an ad, towards ‘participating’ in an ad. This is visible for instance in Heineken campaign inviting consumers to design their own beer bottle (in Poland the project was carried out on Futu platform, among others). This kind of actions involving consumers in defined activities, should be inspired and animated by consumer publications, as it is the publishers who best know and understand the needs of their customers.

Mariusz Czykier is the president of  Content Media. The text appeared in the magazine Content Marketing Polska 2013.

Forget about unique recipient, define clearly the values offered by your message. When preparing an offer for advertisers, give them the same you would give to your customers. Be the animator of relations between advertisers and their target groups.

Kategorie: school of contentic, B2C, B2B


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