What we can learn from Condé Nast

This week, publishing giant Condé Nast said it would begin providing ad metrics for tablet versions of its titles. The information brings up not only an interesting shift in media (yes, yawn, we’ve all heard print is fading away), but it also provides a reflection on how our industries are indelibly separate, yet connected.

Before joining the Direct Marketing News team I was a business magazine editor in Las Vegas. At the publication, of which I was a launching member, we constantly talked about our content through the filter of our reader. What does he need and why? Would he find this story interesting?

Marketers—the good ones at least—need to think in the same way. Delivering to the now all-powerful, opt-in consumer is what marketing success is all about.

It’s a big deal that Condé Nast is giving advertisers tablet metrics. They’ll give the advertiser access to much of the very important information the magazines need, too.

As a journalist, I’ve always found the relationships among readers, magazine editors and advertisers to be interesting. By their very nature, magazine editors—at least the good ones— must constantly be thinking about their specific readers’ needs in order to remain relevant and, more importantly, to provide well-reported news.

Good advertisers and marketers do much the same thing. How can I get consumers to engage with me? And once I do, how can I keep them?

Magazine editors must engage in direct marketing, in some sense. If an editor aims his message at everyone, his lackluster magazine will surely get lost in the kerfuffle of modern media. Without targeting a reader, a magazine can’t do its job. The same is true of you, dear marketers, who also happen to be our dear readers.

See? It’s all very intertwined.

While tablets and social media and other amazingly cool technological advances have changed the media, they haven’t changed the game. Capture of consumers and catering to their needs, is still a big, huge, important part of your jobs—just as getting and compelling readers is to ours. It’s just that now, we both get to be even more innovative in more ways with our content and brands.

And, seriously, who can resist a great copy of The New Yorker or Vanity Fair, on a tablet or otherwise? I know I can’t.

But, then again, I am their target reader.

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