Make sure you have reviewed the Dr. Oz new business direct mail I gave you a copy of, and also please review the social media playbook I gave each group a copy of in anticipation of Miriam Cook’s visit on Wednesday.

For your reading this week, please read the articles your classmates shared on the #magmark hashtag over the last couple of weeks. Anna shared two, Byrana shared one, and Ellen shared three. (This was in response to a call to share articles on promotion for extra credit.) Please respond as you usually do, and also feel free to ask questions for the rest of your classmates to think about/respond to.

In addition, if you didn’t see it I have a post up on the blog about the difference between publicity and PR.

Have a great weekend!

Reading for 11/12/14

7 thoughts on “Reading for 11/12/14

  • November 9, 2014 at 8:44 pm
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    I am surprised to see that Martha Stewart’s Living is handing over its reigns to Meredith Corp., though I could think of no better conglomerate to take over the magazine. In this class, we have examined the Martha Stewart brand many times, whether it was the ancillary products or the licensure or the magazine itself. I wonder how this will affect the overall brand image and I was also surprised that the deal was in the form of licensure, though the magazine is only one part of the Martha Stewart brand, so I guess that would make sense. I do like that the magazine is maintaining the editorial staff in New York, which will uphold the content and the voice of the magazine.

    Magazine covers are a controversial subject, not only for its publishers, but also the in house staff. I was upset to the see the Vogue cover with Kim K and Kanye West as the number one pick for the Ad Age article. I could not believe that Anna Wintour sunk that low to garner newsstand sales, and then defended her choice despite the rumors that Kanye “begged” to put Kim K on the cover. More surprising was that the Ad Age article mentioned that this cover sold well, when earlier this year when we discussed covers, it was revealed that Kim K covers normally did not make or break sales. She was middle of the road.

    Wow! That’s the first thing that came to mind when I read the article about Nintendo and Playboy. It’s definitely an interesting market strategy to rope in more sales from the adult male market and what better way to appeal to that market than a recent playboy bunny in cosplay. But, as the article expresses, I think the campaign is to sexy for the normal audience for Nintendo. I am surprised that they are teaming up with a magazine like Playboy, though it is smart of Playboy, because they are capturing a younger audience that is likely to become their readers in a couple of years, if not sooner with this pairing.

    The GQ article that I posted was my favorite read for the extra credit that I found and thought to share. GQ57 is definitely an out-of-the-box marketing strategy that should help attract advertisers for digital sales, as this is a growing area to capture revenue when print ad revenue is slowly declining. At first, I was skeptical about the elite readers and how they were going to help market the content, but as I read further down into the article and saw that these were well-known people, I could see this working. I especially like that they chose someone familiar to their competitor, Esquire. However, I can see the issue that is detailed in the bottom with exclusivity. Most people prefer having one spokesperson help brand their product, not one person as the spokesperson for many.

  • November 10, 2014 at 2:08 pm
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    I was also surprised to see Martha Stewart teaming up with Meredith. I think they will be working very hard to make sure the brand image and equity stays in tact as they mentioned in the article that the change would not be apparent to readers. I certainly think that keeping the same editorial team will help with this. However, I am curious to see if problems arise with the different perspectives on budget (even though Meredith has agreed to keep the quality of the magazine as is, I am convinced they will try and lower the budget in other ways).

    I’ve got to say I totally see the correlation between fantasy video games and playboy, so was not as surprised about the Nintendo article. I do wonder, however, how parents will react to this type of promotion. Although I can see how Playboy is benefiting from it, I wonder if Nintendo will increase sales of the game. I think overall it is a smart promotion technique as now Nintendo is reaching a demographic that is older, has more spending money and that they probably had not reached before. I think this will also surprise the audience who sees video games as a nerdy thing, as sex (and playboy) is usually perceived as the opposite of that.

    For me, the most interesting article was the GQ one. As I began to read I initially thought of two problems: first, I saw GQ pairing up advertisers with their 57 unique readers as disclosing personal contact information (something every subscriber fears). Secondly, I thought of it as bribing. Eventually, my two concerns were addressed as it seems that the 57 are volunteers and technically they are not getting paid (although, receiving gifts still counts as bribing). Although this is a very creative and potentially powerful promotion technique I could see it backfiring on GQ because since the 57 readers are obviously experienced and successful in the world of advertising what would keep advertisers from working straight with them and not going through GQ (it seems in an odd way that GQ is working as the middleman here). I like that the article included the small blurb on how they came up with the GW 57 title (it seems anniversaries and holidays are very relevant for titles and upcoming publications in the world of publishing). I found it especially useful to get this inside scoop on how publishers arrive at names since School’s Out is in the middle of a name change.

  • November 10, 2014 at 4:10 pm
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    I’m completely fascinated by the article Ellen shared about GQ enlisting readers to promote brands. I think the GQ57 program, on one hand, is genius because they are only currently drawing 15% of their ad revenue from digital and digital ad spending is expected to grow by 66%(!) by 2018. The idea of certain brands working with bloggers for promotion is nothing new but I’ve never seen a magazine serve as a type of middle man in this way. I think it’s really smart but potentially risky as well. Are these 57 “elite” readers under contract with GQ? Since the bloggers aren’t being paid in any way other than with free trips or clothing items, it seems difficult to GUARANTEE advertisers that these elite will in fact promote their brand. But at the same time, the bloggers are probably looking at this as an incredible partnership opportunity for self-promotion. It’s also interesting that GQ57 bloggers will be “transparent” about collaborating with GQ and its advertiser. It seems as though the bloggers were given an option not to be forthcoming about this based on how nonchalantly it was mentioned in the article, whereas if the advertisements or promotions appeared in print, GQ would have to clearly mark them as ads.

    The article about successful loyalty programs really emphasizes focusing on the customer above all else. In class Alex mentioned that she only likes to follow companies on social media that are engaging with and responding to their followers and not just posting things to get meaningless likes—these tips for loyalty programs definitely confirm that many customers have similar sentiments. I’m interested in learning more about marketing data analytics and exactly how companies use this information. Is everything based on analytics now? Is there still room for experimenting with creative marketing strategies even if analytics don’t immediately confirm a strategy’s success?

  • November 11, 2014 at 7:49 pm
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    “she can focus on perfecting recipes like her latest pumpkin cheesecake pie with gingersnap crust.” Is that shade I read? I honestly can’t tell if Times is being serious with that statement. Also….that sounds amazing and maybe totally worth giving her magazines to Meredith.
    I also share in Anna’s fascination with the GQ57, although I hate to do that to Esquire. I want to be an “elite” reader, and I can see how this program benefits everyone involved.
    As for the Adweek, I was hoping that instead of their personal choice for “hot covers,” I was hoping maybe they could tell us if those covers made a difference, in numbers. We talked about this in class, but did having Kimye improve sales or hurt it?

  • November 11, 2014 at 10:29 pm
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    I was immediately interested in the New York Times article “Martha Stewart’s Magazines to Outsource Business Side to Meredith.” Martha Stewart’s deal with Meredith is hardly unheard of in the publishing world with many book and magazine publishers turning to larger distributors and managing companies to handle the behind the scenes (especially if they are smaller and want the negotiating force of a larger publisher.) It’s a smart business move normally. This deal, however, is brilliant. With a ten year deal Meredith will have to consistently show what they bring to the table and Martha Stewart will eventually have the choice of continuing the license or taking back control. This puts her in the driver’s seat, even in the midst of the deal. Furthermore, she got Meredith to agree that the quality of the magazine will not be altered and the editorial team will remain the same. And 100 of the 145 employees in the back of the house will continue to work with the magazine in terms of circulation, advertising, and printing. Another point in her favor. I was impressed by the prediction that Meredith will improve operating income by $10-$15 million but wanted figures that were more concrete. I found this article in the New York Post: http://nypost.com/2014/10/16/wall-street-loves-martha-stewart-meredith-deal/ and it details how when the deal was announced Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia Shares went up 21.6 percent and Meredith’s stock also closed up 3.9 percent. This is a good sign when examining market support for the deal and when you compare it to the 1.75 million Martha Stewart Living lost in the second quarter of 2014 I think the deal will only encourage the growth of Martha Stewart’s brand. Although I certainly see the concerns raised by the article and my other classmates about the “at-odds” nature of Meredith and Martha Stewart Living when it comes to money I think this is a small issue when examined against the prospective growth and profits of this deal.
    Although short, I found the article “5 Keys to Successful Loyalty Programs” to be really useful and it furthered our conversations in class about getting an engaged audience versus a large audience. And to do this you give them the same level of engagement and personalization. My favorite point was on social media: “Use social media to support customer relationships: Organizations with highly effective loyalty programs are social media savvy. They follow up with individual customers who post complaints and respond publicly to customer posts on social media. This demonstrates that the company is focusing on the customer first, versus just pushing promotions or seeking competitive intelligence.” I think it’s really important that they describe social media as a support to customer relationships as it can be a great tool for interacting with readers but I think it is sometimes relied on too heavily in creating customer engagement and furthering a brand. I think it’s an important piece of the puzzle but maybe not the whole puzzle. One comment in the article did hold me up though. Actually it scared the crap out of me. . . “Strikingly, they tend to overlook such important sources of data for understanding customers as web traffic, mobile device data, social media data or consumer lifestyle information, relying instead on customer transaction data.” As a consumer, this is terrifying! It seems like such an infringement and is very unpopular right now. So how do we continue to market effectively (with personalization!) while staying on the right side of the angry populace that hates sharing all of its data.

  • November 11, 2014 at 11:47 pm
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    I might be the only one, but I’m not super surprised at Martha joining forces with Meredith. It makes sense with the advertisers that Meredith is partnered with, especially Bed, Bath, & Beyond, which carries Martha Stewart products anyway. Especially seeing as it’s only the business side –- Martha is a shrewd business woman herself and knows where her (and her company’s) own business efforts are best spent, such as in marketing her own products and other media branches.

    I love the idea of GQ’s “elite” readers. It reminds me of the idea that ‘who’ a celebrity is wearing is a normal question for any red carpet event. This is taking that idea digital and scaling it down. I went to the ‘i wear cool socks’ tumblr and there is a ‘GQ insider’ badge beneath the sidebar. Men’s Style Pro has the same badge at the bottom of their site. It wasn’t quite as obvious as the other badge, but it was still a large badge and easy to find for anybody looking for it. It seems to me that the GQ57 are being pretty up-front about their association with GQ. I don’t think it would be as good of an idea if the GQ57 kept their association with GQ a secret; being associated with GQ gives the bloggers points with their readers, potentially making them even more popular, which in turn gives the products a larger audience.

  • November 12, 2014 at 2:28 pm
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    I definitely agree that the GQ57 idea is innovative and represents a collaborative marketing spirit with a yet untapped resource for ad revenue from digital. GQ has essentially taken on the role of a talent agency by cultivating an exclusive group of highly recognizable consumer consultants to harness marketing initiatives for the magazine. It’s genius; get popular social media hounds with tons of followers to pump up and talk about your product. I know for a fact that this works for brand awareness if not for anything else. The magazine I run, Amadeus, just came out with it’s third issue last Friday. With this third issue we really tried to get the eleven artists featured within it’s pages to promote the issue before it was out, and make specific posts on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter regarding the issue’s release. Almost every single artist (most of them with thousands of followers on all forms of social media) made several posts in anticipation of the issue and have continued to do so since last Friday. In the past five days we’ve gained over a hundred followers on some social media outlets, with most comping directly after the artists make posts about the new issue. These 11 artists are like our issue 03 spokespeople. This is undoubtedly a very small scale example of what the GQ article is talking about, but it’s generally the same idea. Get people with large social media followings and who have a large amount of credibility among their followers and audience to promote your product and you will in turn garner attention from a new audience (their audience).

    Also, getting readers involved in the marketing process can give those fans a real sense of ownership over a publication, and might become a building block to reach out to both advertisers and new readers. The GQ57 program can also be a nice perk for advertisers already looking to spend with GQ — they will get more bang for their buck.

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