||The Future of Magazines and What It Means for Aviation Marketing

The Future of Magazines and What It Means for Aviation Marketing

Are ads in aviation magazines still a good value?

Are ads in aviation magazines still a good value?

On a recent Diane Rehm show on NPR, Diane and guests lamented the fact that hundreds of periodicals folded this year, bastion Newsweek was sold for one dollar in exchange for millions in debt.

If you haven’t heard the news, Newsweek’s owner, The Washington Post Company, agreed to sell the magazine to Sidney Harman, the billionaire founder of audio equipment maker Harman International Industries.

Diane’s guests, Cathie Black of Hearst and Justin Smith of Atlantic Media (together with Harman) all indicated that all the magazines that are remaining successful were adapting by changing to a hybrid of print and online content . They marry the credibility and cachet of a magazine “brand” with the immediacy and rich media of the Internet. And to many, that means a blog.

In the aviation industry, we’ve seen the best magazines in the business going this direction for quite some time. Benét Wilson of Aviation Week is well-known for her tweets and blog posts on Business Aviation News and Notes. and Brad McAllister of Airport Business is also an avid blogger and social media participant in the Airport Business Interactive Blogs. And of course, there’s Forbes Magazine’s Business Aviation Blog Wheels Up.

So what does this mean to an industry that has traditionally relied on printed publications for marketing?

  1. There are fewer magazines. Periodicals are fighting for fewer subscribers as many readers cut back, read the online version.
  2. Magazines are getting smaller and putting more content online. Advertising in the printed magazine costs the same or more than it always has, because some magazines are using the supply/demand rule to keep prices up, and keep their printing costs down.
  3. Many are “bundling” their printed advertising rates with an online rate. Many media kits and rate cards include quotes for one or the other or both.

So, what’s an aviation company to do?

There are still two very good reasons to advertise in publications.

First is associating your brand or product with the reputation of the magazine. The second is to reach their list.

  • Test your results.  If your advertisement is giving you good return on investment, by all means keep doing what works!  As your business expands, consider investing in alternate media to find new customers for your product.
  • If it’s not working, consider the reasons. Consider the quality of their content – is it still up to par?  Do you still read, enjoy and respect the magazine?  Is their list reaching the same number of subscribers or has readership fallen off? (You can determine this from the circulation department.)  Also consider competition from other venues. If you’ve never had a competitive analysis done of the online media your competitors might be using, now’s a good time!
  • Try something different. Based on what you found out in your research, divert some of the money your spending on marketing to another channel.  If you’re trying an online campaign, such as a blog,  give that at least three months to get fully up to speed.  You may decide to run concurrently with your publication campaign and compare the two over the same amount of time.  You may try dividing your marketing budget into several channels in a coordinated campaign, such as using a smaller printed ad and direct mail to get prospects to your website, where you have the opportunity to publish more information (plus photos, video, and other features) less expensively.
  • Test your results. Again.

We love magazines.  I enjoy the variety at airport newsstands, I love the experience of curling up on the couch with a magazine (I know they say you can curl up with a Kindle or an iPad but I’m just not there yet!) and of course, I love carrying printed magazines on airplanes.  I hope they stay as vital as they’ve always been.

That said, when it comes to spending marketing money, we can’t afford emotional decisions!

Do you feel that magazines are evolving? Do you still advertise in them? Leave a comment and let us know!

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10 Comments

  1. Avatar
    Darian August 18, 2010 at 1:20 pm - Reply

    I have been in the publishing industry for 19 years and have seen a turn in the market towards internet advertising. This is been a much slower process in the helicopter market than general aviation. Times of a salesman being able to smooze a client are over. The ability to visit Quant cast or Alexia and see true internet numbers is here, there can be no more smoke and mirrors. An advertiser now has to do the most with the least amount, and the ability to get sold numbers on your efforts makes the internet hot. Magazines are evolving into multi media buys, based on the reach available through an online presence. We can only hope the buyers step outside their comfort zone, and analyze their media buy. The buy should not be based on emotion or a business friendship, but based upon audited third party circulation facts, Google Analytics, and Third party web site auditing numbers. These facts will always assure that you take care of the two biggest things in marketing, Reach, and Frequency!

  2. Avatar
    Paula Williams August 19, 2010 at 9:18 am - Reply

    Excellent points, Darian!

    I think people were getting pretty frustrated with the “mystery” of advertising – using brand marketing rather than direct response, and using printed media where you really have no idea how many people have seen your advertisement. Online marketing solves that, although I’ve found that it still lacks the credibility and cachet of print media. So I recommend both whenever possible.

  3. Avatar
    Adam Mesinger August 19, 2010 at 1:10 pm - Reply

    What is an aviation company to do these days? At J. Mesinger Corporate Jet Sales, we are strong believers in print advertising, but in today’s internet age we have to always evaluate the effectiveness of those marketing efforts and combine them with online opportunities to reach the largest audience possible. Like the article by ABCI mentioned, we have to see where print circulation is still worth our effort and where it is not. And when we find it is not, we are moving our ad dollars elsewhere. Our company’s blog at http://www.jetsales.com/blog is paying off for us with new subscribers and hits to our website. We still, however, see great value in print, both domestically and internationally. Lately we have been fortunate to be a part of many international publications, such as Global Flying in China and Top Flight in Russia and the premiere edition of Jet Gala out of Singapore. These are all beautiful publications that expand our recognition to the farthest points of the globe, and also give us the opportunity to market our client’s aircrafts all around the world. All of the content in these magazines are either online now, or the publications are investing in building up their online content going forward, but for us to leave print all together at this point would be to miss out on many opportunities of exposure to our market. One good example of the niche magazines still have a hold on is when a pilot sees an industry magazine at an FBO and puts it on a plane for an owner or passenger to read. It would be a shame to miss out on that kind of exposure, because we make it a priority to use ads in magazines for corporate branding and inventory listings, and we receive great response from those efforts. In addition, my father, Jay is often asked to write articles for the industry magazines worldwide. I believe that with the iPad and other ebook readers, however, industry magazines have the opportunity now to offer their content in far more dynamic and interactive ways, and I am excited to see how things evolve with the times!

  4. Avatar
    Miquel February 15, 2011 at 4:52 pm - Reply

    Interesting thoughts. I am also thinking about the implications for on-board magazines and how much time they have left before being replaced by tablets and other “content” gateways provided by airlines, I touched some of this points and whether there is also a opportunity for airlines to monetize content http://allplane.blogspot.com/2010/12/airlines-soon-to-become-more-like-media.html
    Just like media companies do…

  5. Avatar
    Michael Robinson April 4, 2011 at 3:22 pm - Reply

    Say what you will about tradition, the fact of the matter is that due to “going green” and the instant, cost-effective nature of the internet, magazines are going away – or at the very least whittling down to only 1-2 niche publications. Unless your REALLY know what you’re doing, spending money in print advertising is akin to throwing it away.

  6. Avatar
    Taunya Renson-Martin August 25, 2011 at 7:12 am - Reply

    An interesting article and list of comments. When I created the business aviation publication FlyCorporate EMEA & Asia Magazine and flycorporate.com four years ago, some people actually laughed at me. I was told that the aviation business was strictly an offline thing… My how times have changed. We created our publication with a view to reach readers wherever and whenever THEY wanted, through a combination of events, print, website, weekly and monthly newsletters and newsfeeds, rss, twitter and LinkedIn communities, YouTube, etc… What was seen as a risky business model pre-Great Recession is being widely repeated now by publishers and advertisers alike. We’ve always felt that marketing content and giving customers the information they want to know (two-way dialogue) rather than only pushing straightforward brand messages is more effective in achieving loyalty and creating interest around a product. It’s the longtail. And indeed more measurable. They key is the mix!

  7. Avatar
    Paula Williams August 25, 2011 at 11:17 am - Reply

    Excellent point, Michael, but if the decision-makers you’re targeting are old-school, then magazines may still be the way to go. Newer companies that haven’t established their credentials in a field get more credibility from being associated with an old and respected magazine.

    Taunya – I wholeheartedly agree, and congratulations on your success. There are reasons to use magazines, but again, it’s important to keep your eyes on the numbers and to keep a good mix of marketing channels. We advertise in magazines because our target market still reads them, and because we’re a new company that can benefit from association with old and respected brands. We don’t get nearly the volume of response from them than we get from our online marketing, but when people buy from us they do mention the magazine.

  8. Avatar
    estrategias marketing November 2, 2011 at 1:25 am - Reply

    excellent put up, very informative. I’m wondering why the other specialists of this sector do not notice this. You must proceed your writing. I am sure, you’ve a great readers’ base already!

  9. Avatar
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  10. […] Williams: So somebody calls your office and says I have a really great deal on magazine space. Or I can do an e-mail broadcast for you for a great price or whatever the situation […]

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