John and I have been known to talk clients OUT of buying big glossy ads in the shiny beautiful magazines. We have several reasons for this

  • The number of magazines has proliferated, diluting the readership of many of the “old standbys.”
  • The number of paid subscribers has dropped over the past decade, while ad rates have not decreased proportionally – some have increased.
  • Results from magazine ads are often not tracked, some are not even designed to be track able.
Aviation magazines

Part of our aviation magazine collection! Click to enlarge.

We love magazines for lots of reasons. We read them with great interest and keep way too many of them around the office, dog-eared and flagged with sticky notes.

So, how do we get great results from them? The following might seem elementary, but you’d be surprised how few companies have the discipline to actually DO any of these things.

You’ve heard the phrase “Dig your well before you’re thirsty,” possibly from Harvey Mackay’s book on networking. How can aviation magazines help you “dig this well?”

  1. Research reporters. We keep a spreadsheet of reporters and the topic of interest to them. This is helpful when we have a news item they might have an interest in reporting. We recommend our clients make note of the names of reporters and writers who write articles their customers would be interested in. Connect with them on social media. Comment on their articles when appropriate.
  2. Research thought leaders. Make note of association and organization officers, as well as legal representatives who impact your business. Again, connect on social media, comment when appropriate, correspond when the situation calls for it.
  3. Research your competitors. What is the key point they emphasize about their product?  You should be prepared to counter it, even if you’re not advertising.  People who contact you are likely to research your competitors ads.   You may want to emphasize the differences and how YOUR product is superior, and under what circumstances.  Also, note whether your competitors are advertising more or less than last year.
  4. Request a media kit. You may just discover the demographics of the magazine you’re researching matches perfectly with your ideal customer profile, and you may find that an advertisement can be a cost-effective component of your marketing system.

It’s been our experience that every advertising channel (including magazines, social media, et cetera) are either vastly overestimated or underestimated, depending on the situation.

We have NOT advised against magazine ads (or any other channel in general) – only against reliance on ANY “random act of marketing” that is not carefully researched, considered and used as part of a complete performance-based, measured system..