That’s a dramatic drop and points to the secularization of magazines in the media mix. When fewer than half of your potential customers believe that you are effective at a core proposition, then you’ve reached a tipping point where you need to acknowledge that you are providing solutions to a niche, to a sub-set of a larger whole.
That has not been the place that national magazines have occupied in the media pantheon over the past 50 years.
In the same article, Ad Age asked a few top publishers what they thought about the results. All three spoke about the changing dynamics of the media mix, and Sabine Feldman, publisher of Shape, is on point when she describes the different media assets the Shape brand brings to creating marketing solutions for its clients.
Have magazines really lost their value in building brand equity? They’ve lost their pre-eminence, for certain. Look at any research on consumer media usage and the relative impact magazines have on consumers has decline, if only because of the expansion of other forms of media consumptions.
The challenge for every media company is to re-think the ways that they organize and acquire content so that they can interact with consumers with a specific purpose and point-of-view in every media that makes sense.
The challenge for a magazine company is to open up a process culture that for years was able to create a productive tension between a sales organization, a creative organization and a manufacturing organization. The trains ran separately but ended up at the switching station right on time.
That process converted into a series of habits and customs that are deeply ingrained in the understanding of what a magazine is.
To achieve what Feldman describes, the entire process culture will need to shift. That’s going to be easier for smaller, entrepreneurial organizations that have fewer sacred cows to protect and where the consequences of failing are more dire. For large magazine companies, the challenge of change will be greater and the pace slower.