The clip below links to an Ad Age article reporting on research from the Association of National Advertisers saying that the number of marketers ranking magazines as being highly effective for building brand equity has declined from 67% to 51% over the past three years.

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.

clipped from

Marketers Losing Respect for Magazines?

Only 51% of marketers rated magazines as highly effective for building brand equity, according to research fielded this April for the Association of National Advertisers. That’s down sharply from 67% in February 2007. Online and social media, on the other hand, got high marks this spring, their first time on the questionnaire.

“The lines of the different channels are getting much more blurred. I think the title of publisher is completely outdated because it implies that one-dimensional-ness. I’ve thought of myself as a brand builder, as a chief brand officer. Online and social media have to be a part of a magazine’s DNA to be successful. just relaunched. If you look at our site, which was N/A in this research just two years ago, it is a huge part of the growth strategy for the brand. And social media is one component of online.”