Memo to publishers: It’s all about controlling the outcome

The death of print has become such a cliché Paul Dailing recently penned an instruction manual on How to Become a “Death of Newspapers” Blogger. Magazine ad pages are off 26%, ad revenue at many larger newspapers is down 30%, NYT is chopping sections and the Chicago Tribune is cutting one-fifth of its editorial staff.

Why are newspapers dying and magazines gasping with asthma? It’s not just about lost readers — publishers have failed to help advertisers predict results, sort of like this card trick.

Advertisers provide magazines and newspapers more than 90% of their revenue, yet it is astounding how little publishers have done to help advertisers get more return from their dollars. Imagine if publications offered advertisers measurement systems to monitor the cost-per-response from every ad format. Imagine if publishers gave advertisers a host of case studies, results forecasts, planning tools, ad formats, tracking phone numbers, and testing schedules to make advertising work better over time. Imagine a print sales rep going over an advertising results report, showing a 20% improvement in marketing ROI and a series of specific steps for boosting ROI another 20% from the print ads in the next quarter.

You haven’t heard of these solutions from your newspaper or magazine sales reps? Funny. Neither have we. Until publications help advertisers control the outcome, expect the death watch to continue.

One thought on “Memo to publishers: It’s all about controlling the outcome

  1. There’s a strong similarity between gambling on cards and spending hard advertiser dollars in a metrics-poor medium such as printed newspaper. When I advise an advertiser’s media buyer, I tell them to shift dollars from newspaper hardcopy ad insertion toward the online editions, and replacing static ads with video. Similarly, I’ve been redirecting radio and television copy from the RF spectrum to IP.

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