IAG Research's Lois Miller: "Magazines are very effective. Television is very effective. The do different things. In combination, they do better things."
Before she joined IAG last month, she was vice president of advertising and marketing for the corporate division of Hearst Magazines, which publishes 18 consumer titles. Miller spoke with Staff Reporter Gail Kachadourian about trends in automotive advertising in magazines.
What are the top three things automakers are looking for with their advertising in magazines?
How do they reach consumers? How do they reach them effectively? And how do they reach them for less money? Because costs are rising on all fronts. If you're a car manufacturer, your manufacturing costs are going up, your marketing costs are going up, your distribution costs are going up.
This is becoming more of a client-driven marketplace. For great companies, it always was. (Media) need to become more focused on that, as opposed to just producing great television or great magazines. Do these magazines have relevance for that client's business?
Are magazines becoming more or less important to automakers?
It depends on the carmaker, and the impact it wants to make on the consumer. There are car brands that are so well known that broader-reach media can be extremely effective. If it's a less-established brand, the combination of magazines with something broad-reach like television is going to give you that ability to more narrowly define the audience. A combination of media is always going to be more effective for you. Magazines are very effective. Television is very effective. They do different things. In combination, they do better things.
What is the biggest challenge for automakers as they use magazines as an advertising medium?
Sometimes it's difficult to establish the reach unless you're using some very big, powerhouse magazines like Good Housekeeping or Cosmopolitan. Good Housekeeping reaches one out of every five women in America. Once you get out of those giant-reach arena books, it becomes very costly to put together enough titles to get the reach that you can get with television. At the end of the day, you have to seed a brand and you have to sell the vehicles. You have to get enough reach against whatever that defined audience is. So it depends on the circulation of the magazine.
Is there an age group that automakers think they can reach better with magazines vs. TV?
They're all across the board. Most magazines carve up the demographics. That can be a strength if you're just trying to zero in on something. Television's got the broad reach but it's also got the ability to narrow-cast, particularly with the growth of cable. Cable allows you to do much of what you've historically done in magazines - look at certain formats, certain areas of interest, certain demographics.
Why did I get out of basically a print arena and move back to the world of television? Because I think it's ahead. There are positives in both. But I went to IAG because I think the television industry is moving forward in yet another direction. I feel very positively about the magazine industry and where I came from. I don't have any negatives about it. I don't think there are negatives.