News Exchange: Changing channels
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News Exchange: Changing channels

A weekly update on the latest headlines and highlights from the marketing sector

From mags to riches?

The magazine industry has decided enough is enough and launched a campaign to show potential clients that they underestimate the power of magazine advertising. Will it work?

Last week, the magazine sector’s own marketing agency, Magnetic, published a report claiming mag ads are a source of “high-quality attention for exceptional value”. As if to make its point self-evident, it also took out cover-wraps on titles including Cosmopolitan, Empire, Grazia and Time Out to publicise its findings.

CIM marketing director Gemma Butler agrees that, at a time when print media as a whole is perceived to be in a downward spiral, it is easy to assume the effectiveness of magazine advertising is also in decline. Backing this up, the latest Advertising Association figures forecast a 6.2% decline in mag ad revenues for 2019. Dig a little deeper, however, and a number of factors might actually make now a good time for brands to broaden their marketing mix. “There is so much noise in the digital space. The ‘spray and pray’ approach is certainly not working, and there are also concerns about brand safety in that environment.”

In contrast, a carefully chosen mag ad enjoys much calmer surroundings and is more likely to garner undivided attention. Magnetic’s research showed 58% of magazine readers do not do anything else at the same time as reading; for websites, that figure was 52%, with social media down at 35%. Moreover, says Butler, “Magazines can also be collectable, and they tend to hang around for a long time, so their ads have a much longer lifespan.”

The relationship between magazine and reader can also be a powerful differentiator. A net 57% of those surveyed by Magnetic positively described mag ads as part of the reading experience – the highest figure for any channel. “In short,” says Butler, “you might think digital has completely taken over, but there are reasons why magazines should still be an important part of the marketing mix – especially for smaller businesses who are looking to pay less for a higher level of attention.”

Mastercard prepares for a sonic boom

Financial services giant Mastercard has launched a sonic brand identity that it hopes will resonate far and wide. At the very least, its timing is good.

One month after dropping its name from its visual logo, Mastercard has revealed a sound logo designed to reinforce its brand presence around the world. The melody it has chosen can be adapted to suit different musical tastes and even sped up or slowed down, depending on the occasion. Appropriately enough, the sound logo debuted as part of a multichannel campaign running up to the weekend’s Grammy Awards ceremony in LA.

As well as advertising, the melody will initially be heard at touchpoints in shops and sponsorship events. For CIM’s Ally Lee-Boone, the news is confirmation that sonic identities are moving from ‘nice to have’ to necessity. “Visa has already done this – and with real results. Mastercard is now stepping up with a multichannel campaign and sophisticated execution.”

The sophistication of the execution is key, she believes. “Poorly executed sound logos will, quite literally, just be more noise in an already noisy market. Done right, and with the attention to detail shown by Mastercard, they can make a big impact.”

From here on out, the impact of any sound logo will be amplified by the widely anticipated surge in voice search. As more households and phone owners start to chat more frequently with AI-driven devices, the brands that have established an audio identity early are likely to be at a significant advantage. “Because of these smart devices and the conversational commerce they enable, audio identities will become as important as visual ones,” predicts Lee-Boone.

Brands tune into commercial radio

Industry body Radiocentre has reported record commercial radio ad sales of £713.3m for 2018. The news might come as a surprise to some, but there are some rock-solid reasons for its success.

It was an uplifting week for commercial radio just gone. While Radiocentre confirmed a £34m leap in annual ad sales, Rajar reported that 2018 also gave the sector its highest share of listening figures since 2001 (46.5%).

The UK’s biggest investor in radio advertising is still Sky, but industries from insurance to tech and beauty all significantly increased their spend. “Confidence in the power of radio is continuing to grow among a wide range of sectors, including those that have previously been reluctant to use a non-visual channel such as clothing and cosmetics,” said Radiocentre boss Siobhan Kenny.

For CIM marketing director Gemma Butler, radio’s success should not come as a shock. “Such is the high value now put on visual channels that companies really need to explore non-visual options. As ever, radio offers a captive audience that accepts advertising as part of the content.”

Other contributing factors have emerged more recently. “Radio has caught up with digital and can now offer geotargeted content,” says Butler. “TSB’s just launched its first ever radio campaign and that’s no doubt in part due to the fact that it can now use radio to direct individual listeners to local branches.”

With Rajar and Radiocentre offering snapshots of a healthy present for commercial radio, Butler believes it has a bright future and will continue to do well “for some time yet”. Although podcasting appears to offer a growing threat, “It’s nowhere near as established as commercial radio and neither are its revenues.”

There’s still time to light up your marketing career and kick off 2019 right. Find membership, training and qualification options to suit your individual needs here.

If you’re looking to change channels, discover your next opportunity on the CIM Marketing Jobs board.

Tobias Gourlay Journalist
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