Finding the One: How to Choose the Right Publication for Your Marketing Goals
Choosing publications to advertise in can be challenging. Every industry has more than one option available. Even with an aggressive marketing budget, advertising in all of the available magazines is neither feasible nor wise. So how do you choose the right one? By evaluating several factors – cost, circulation, editorial content, and market research – you can determine the publication that fits best with your marketing goals.
CPM: Where is the value?
CPM or “cost per thousand” refers to the cost of reaching 1,000 potential customers. By comparing the value of magazines with different circulations and ad rates, CPM is a good tool in determining the most efficient use of your advertising dollars. For example, if a one-page ad costs $4,000 and the magazine has a circulation of 80,000, the CPM is $50. If the same placement in a different magazine costs $5,000 with a circulation of 125,000, the CPM is $40. While the first magazine has a lower sticker price, the other magazine is less expensive per reader.
Circulation: Who are the readers?
Circulation can be very different from “readership.” For example, a magazine might print extra copies for a trade show. This can be a good value to an advertiser, within reason, as not all of the additional copies are necessarily picked up and read. Similarly, some magazines may state their readership as 40,000 when their circulation is 20,000. In this situation, they may have research indicating that each subscriber often passes the magazine along to another reader. Most magazines have audited figures available, but analyzing the circulation means more than just audited numbers. To find a publication with your target customer, you also want to look at the demographics: age, gender, job function, geographic location, etc. This information is valuable in deciding if this is where your buyers are.
Editorial: What are they talking about?
Magazines typically provide an editorial calendar or at least a summary of general editorial content. This is another avenue to see if the publication’s content appeals to your target customer. Does the magazine send a message similar to your marketing strategy? An editorial calendar can also help you choose specific issues for advertising. For example, if the October issue of a landscape magazine is focusing on “snow and ice management,” advertising your snowplows that month makes marketing sense. The editorial focus places the reader in a frame of mind that makes an easier connection with your relevant product.
Target Market: What does the audience actually read?
Finally, choosing the right publication comes down to what your target consumers are actually reading. How do the readers feel about the magazine? Do they consider it a good quality publication? A credible source? Keep in mind that readers will likely associate your company as being on par with the magazine. If you are advertising in a high quality magazine, your business will be equated with the magazine’s prestige. If readers find little value in the magazine, they may find little value in your ad.
The Right Publication + the Right Ad
Once you have chosen a magazine, remember that your ad itself needs to be eye-catching as well as contain the right content to appeal to that audience. Whether the reader is skimming or thoroughly looking at every page, your ad is competing with articles, graphics, and other advertisements. An effective ad in the right publication makes good marketing sense.
Find an Advertising Agency to Handle it for You
Creating a media plan, developing new advertisements, and coordinating with publication vendors can not only be time consuming but overwhelming. If that’s not your cup of tea, consider hiring a full-service advertising agency to do the work for you. Positive public relations pays dividends, start marketing yourself today!