Linda Thomas Brooks On “Saving The World One Magazine At A Time”
April 26, 2019
Magazines offer busy readers a shortcut to quality, says Linda Thomas Brooks, President and CEO of MPA: The Association of Magazine Media at the first session of Samir Husni’s ACT 9 at the Magazine Innovation Center at the University of Mississippi. When trust in other sources of information is going down, trust in magazine media is going up.
Credible sustainable journalism becomes more important every day. Brooks began with a story about a new business dedicated to creating fake vacations to enhance social media presence. Twitter and FB had to close fake accounts set up to divide our country. The steps between fake vacations and fake news are getting shorter, Brooks cautioned. As a result, never have magazines been more important. Magazine Media builds brands and sells product with proven verifiable results in a safe and transparent environment of quality, professional journalism that supports an economically, ecologically and socially sustainable society. This is important to us as individuals and also, even more, to us as a society. What we are fighting for is bigger than an ad page, another dollar. It’s for intelligent discourse and rigorous inventory.
And advertisers, Brooks tells us, are beginning to get it. They know that magazines are invited guests in consumers’ homes. Readers have asked for them. They savor them. And the advertisers get to come along as plus one to the invitation. Contextual relevance is an important element—it’s not just the numbers, it’s the context in which the message is delivered. The context is professionally researched, written, edited, produced, curated content. Trusted brands offer that, the shortcut to quality.
Silicon Valley itself is getting it, too. Brooks, whose background is digital, tells us that in the center of the tech world, parents are requiring nannies to sign an agreement to not use tech in front of the children. Learning outcome is a fascinating developing science. Paper-based reading offers higher comprehension and recall, stimulates emotions and desires, slower reading, more focused attention, sensory involvement. While some school systems are still trying to build their tech resources, Silicon Valley is taking the tech out of school. They have learned that tech is actually impeding learning. Tech is great at quick hits of information, quick facts. Your brain ignores everything that is not that quick fact. Print facilitates learning.
Case studies, independently commissioned, have shown that in every case having magazines in an advertising media mix helps drive ad awareness. This includes TV advertising. The lift in purchase intent is significant when magazines are in an advertising mix. For years advertisers were getting addicted to the pure numbers offered by digital; but they didn’t see the results from it. They have learned that having magazines in the mix builds brand and sells product.
Other results, based on analyzing over 1400 studies of sales at retail, have shown that advertising in magazines yields a $3.94 return on every advertising dollar. It’s higher than digital, TV, mobile and video. Magazines still have a bigger consumer reach than TV; Brooks showed a comparison of the top ten TV show (including the NFL) with the top 10 magazines (print only, not even taking into account their digital presence). The print reach is about double TV.
Magazines have been great at keeping print robust while growing audiences across all platforms. So the measured magazine brands are showing robust growth across all platforms. Magazine brands dominate social media engagement over non-magazine influencers across every channel—Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest. Magazine brands have vastly more social influence and consumer trust than non-magazine brands.
Marketers need to simultaneously build brand and sell product. Magazines are the single best channel to do this. But more, magazines are important for their credibility, their research, curation, and quality. They are a bulwark against the deluge of fake news and unresearched, unedited opinion. Which is the reason that Brooks and her association aim to save the world—one magazine at a time.
To watch Linda Thomas Brooks’ presentation click on the video below: