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Winning in a multiplatform world

By Linda Brennan, VP of worldwide circulation, BusinessWeek

 

It's a whole new world. It's not just print, it's multi-platform. Readers of many magazines can now engage with their favorite brand's content across many distribution channels — the magazine, the Web site, audio, podcasts, mobile, newsletters, television, radio or RSS feeds, just to name a few. To monetize these content channels, consumer marketers must position and promote the enhanced value of the brand to its most loyal readers as well as to new consumers.

One challenge for the magazine marketer is the introduction of free content platforms. For paid content to compete with free digital content, consumer marketers must reinforce the brand's position of authority and trust in the marketplace with a consistent brand message that incorporates its new multi-platform identity and platform attributes.

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Most importantly, consumer marketers must move beyond selling “savings off the cover price” to promoting the range of offline and online content that is available. The battle is no longer against price exclusively, but about the relationship between value and time. Brand positioning must address the time/value equation, since consumers can now engage with content how they want it, where they want it and when they want it.

One way to foster migration from platform to platform is to develop a data collection strategy that identifies consumer interests. Opt-in e-mail can then be used to direct the consumer to relevant content across platforms. With platform choice, the consumer's experience with the brand is enhanced.

To ensure success in expanding revenue and profit, consumer marketers must think about promotions in a very different way. Creative efforts must successfully migrate print subscribers to the Web to transact and drive Web readers to purchase the print product. Online consumers who transact on the web can then be sold additional branded products. And, where possible, valuable consumer data may be requested and collected.

Many content publishers with a multi-platform strategy will need to take a giant organizational leap to meet this new standard of consumer marketing. With a focus on migrating consumers from one platform to another, traditional consumer marketing staffs need to be retrained to apply their extensive direct marketing skills to these media platforms.

The opportunity is exploding. To win, consumer marketing must evolve with the marketplace. Promotions must be transitioned from transactional direct marketing messaging to brand value statements — with a traditional call to action.

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