Will publishers still provide value to advertisers in future?


How will publishers provide value to advertisers in future?

As B2B marketing becomes more targeted, and marketers focus on creating their own content and generating and nurturing leads, do they really need traditional media brands? What exactly is the role that a publication plays for marketers and advertisers, whether in print, digital or live formats?

At the Marketing in Maritime conference last month I chaired a panel of established print and start-up digital media owners, plus a major advertiser to explore this issue. The conversation raised some interesting questions for both B2B media owners and B2B marketers about how they can work together which I believe are applicable to all markets. These were the main themes:

What is the value of a publication – why not go direct?

Why should an advertiser or marketer use a publisher rather than go direct to the customer? The answer can be summed up as reach and attention: publishers still have a broader audience, plus when they invest in quality editorial content over a period of time they will establish a relationship of trust, so they have the audience’s attention.

Brands and marketers are creating more of their own content marketing, but don’t see this as totally removing the need for advertising — although it might divert budget away from publishers.

What new marketing options are media owners offering?

Publishers are now offering a broader range of marketing solutions, including sponsored content, live events and webinars. These are broadly welcomed by marketers, although there can be cynicism about the quality of the audience at new events.

How do marketers want to work with media brands?

Marketers want to build a relationship of trust with publishers and feel confident about sharing information about their business objectives.

Publishers need to be able to prove the RoI (return on investment) of marketing activity in their channels – this is increasingly important to marketers and advertisers who face pressure to justify their budgets.

To meet the more sophisticated needs of today’s marketers, publishers need to develop the skills of their advertising and commercial teams. They need to hire people with stronger consultative and marketing skills and the ability to sell solutions across multiple activities.

What can media brands do that marketers cannot?

When B2B marketers are seeking to develop thought leadership content, editors of media brands can bring together a community as an independent facilitator, such as a round table – and host a discussion that a marketer would not be able to run independently.

Editors are skilled in curating different voices – rather than emerging bloggers being seen as a threat, smart publications can bring them in as contributors.

How many media brands will survive the next five years?

The consensus of the panel was that not all media brands will survive in the long term. Those that can evolve and serve the needs of advertisers across digital and other channels and prove their value will thrive while others may disappear. Continued investment in editorial quality is essential to maintain a trusted relationship with an audience and continue to hold their attention.

New digital entrants, who are not limited by historic advertising formats, can offer a wider range of services to advertisers – and usually better measurement. Traditional media brands can learn from digital-only start-ups.

So the future relationship between advertisers and publishers needs to be built around openness in objectives, tailored marketing solutions, clear measurement of effectiveness and continued investment in quality editorial.

Publishers in turn need to be prepared for a decline in advertising revenue as marketing budgets get diverted to content marketing and marketing automation and explore reader revenues.

If you’d like to talk about how you can improve the relevance of your publication to advertisers, feel free to get in touch to have a chat over the phone or over a coffee.


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About the author:

Carolyn Morgan has over twenty years experience launching, growing, buying and selling specialist media businesses across print, digital and live events. Carolyn now advises publishers large and small on their digital strategy and writes and speaks on digital publishing strategy.

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