"Print is a very strong call-to-action medium!"

Submitted by: Shareena Patel 14/12/2015

“Print is a very strong call-to-action medium. You run a print ad and can get people to act on it”

You could have the greatest print creative in the world, but without the support of a media planner, it would forever languish in the ‘tbc’ pile. So what exactly do media planners do? What are their thoughts on print? And where do they see its future? We gather five of Europe’s leading planners to explain all…

In this article which first appered in Print Power Magazine Issue 8 Autum 2014. David Benady explores the thoughts of media planners about the role of print

In the world of international marketing, the media planner holds a huge amount of power, advising their clients on the best use of their budgets. So who better to explain the current value of print and where it stands in the hierarchy of marketing mediums.

Print Power invited Stine Halberg, Nordic Managing Director for ZenithOptimedia Nordic, Dean Browne, Worldwide Account Director at Mindshare, Martin Grøn, Print/Out Of Home Director at ZenithOptimedia Denmark, Chris Langley, Business Director at Vizeum, and Chris Davies, Planning Director at ZenithOptimedia, to discuss and debate the merits of print and how their clients are using print to gain maximum effectiveness for their campaigns.

Chris Langley
Chris is a business director at Vizeum leading a number of the agency’s largest accounts, including BMW, MINI, Panasonic and Shop Direct. During his eight years with the agency, he’s led a number of award-winning campaigns, such as Panasonic’s ad-funded programme, ‘How To Take Stunning Pictures’ and MINI’s ‘Not Normal’ activations. Prior to joining Vizeum, Chris spent more than three years at Starcom MediaVest where he worked on the P&G and CapitalOne accounts.

Stine Halberg
Stine is Nordic Managing Director for ZenithOptimedia Nordic, covering Norway, Sweden, Finland and Denmark, as well as being CEO of Vivaki Denmark. She has worked in media agencies for over 19 years, servicing international, Nordic and local clients. Stine is a graduate of Copenhagen Business School with a Masters in Marketing and Economy.

Martin Grøn
Martin is Print/Out Of Home Director at ZenithOptimedia Denmark, responsible for ensuring the agency optimises buying and planning on all print and OOH campaigns. He has worked in media for 13 years, beginning his career at Ekstra Bladet, one of Denmark’s largest newspapers. After that he spent two and a half years at MindShare working as Account Manager. His primary role was on the Hi3G account, working with one of the leading mobile operators in Denmark.

Dean Browne
Dean is Worldwide Account Director at Mindshare, working on the HSBC and Diesel accounts. Very much from a digital background, Dean now plans work across different media. A passionate digital director with over eight years experience, he has also worked at Havas Media and Manning Gottlieb OMD.

Chris Davies
Chris spent four years as Trading Director at ZenithOptimedia, across categories such as airlines, motors and telecomms, before migrating into planning. He’s now Planning Director for a leading UK insurance account.

 


What’s the work of a media planner and how do you choose between media?
Chris Langley: We are the people who advise clients on the most effective and efficient use of their marketing budgets. We balance expertise in media and understanding of the client’s business requirements. Different businesses value communications at different levels.

Chris Davies: Planners are a mix between strategists and account handlers. Our role is to be the buffer between the client and the rest of the agency. We are the point people, helping clients devise the brief, identifying the business challenges and leading the implementation with the buyers in the agency. We make recommendations based on a particular business problem or brief. It’s ultimately the client’s decision, but it’s up to us to convince them.

Stine Halberg: When we create a strategy for clients, we get the brief then look into what the target group’s behaviour is, which media they consume and what the competitor is doing. We then decide the channel mix. We look for a 360-degree integrated solution. Media are merging together, so rather than having separate plans, we look at how we can integrate all media into one plan, putting print with TV and digital.

 

What are some of the interesting ways that media agencies are using print to promote brands?
Dean Browne: I find what some brands are doing with print really interesting. It’s about creating meaningful experiences and adding value. Print might have struggled to do that traditionally, but now there are some great examples. Nivea has created a fantastic campaign in Brazil. People’s phones run out of battery on the beach, so in a print publication they provided a solar panel to plug your phone into and recharge it. The great thing about print is that it can be highly relevant.

Martin Grøn: Previously, we used print as a ‘reach’ medium, but as readership figures are falling, it’s no longer possible to use it in that way, so we use it as a content medium. Many advertisers want to do advertorial which can be used with other platforms such as mobile and tablet. Most clients want print and they want to try digital as well. We still have clients for whom print is a very good medium – retailers in particular see the effects of it.

Langley: For BMW, we have a year-round presence in premium positions in relevant print titles, ones which over-index for our audience. These may not be the biggest titles – it could be a niche title like an amateur golfing magazine. But for Mini, the ads tend to be more tactical in the national press. We might book an ad at 3pm on a Friday to run on a Saturday. We used this tactical, real-time approach for Mini with an ad during the horsemeat crisis that read: ‘Beef. With a lot of horses in it.’

 

How is print faring with the rise of digital?
Langley: There’s so much marketing world chat about digital and online, but when you think about the need to reach all the stakeholders across the business, such as BMW dealers and people in the factories, everyone understands how print adds value. For the dealer network to come into work on Monday morning after they’ve had a new car delivered over the weekend, open the newspaper and see a massive double-page spread for the new car, that gives them confidence.

Halberg: In Nordic markets print is declining, but it’s coming down from a very high base. The further you go north, the higher readership for print – in Finland, people read 12 magazines each.

Davies: Niche interest magazines continue to cater for people’s passions. As providers of content, national press and magazines are very good, though they need to get better at working with the new content providers. There are the Vloggers on YouTube, while the likes of Jamie Oliver’s Food Tube is a good example of a high-traffic channel. Print titles need to get better at competing with that approach or partnering with those people – it’s another form of distribution and a path to market.

Browne: When I first started out, digital was tagged onto the media plan after TV and press. Now agencies have realised that digital is the place to add value. A lot of brands, particularly in the fashion area, have direct relationships with print publications – they manage the print in-house. At Mindshare, we look across platforms to reach a brand’s audience and try to forge partnerships with digital and print. It used to be print first. Now the key is to go with a digital-first approach and then see how we can leverage that integrated experience through print.

 

Why is print still effective and what makes it unique?
Grøn: When we use the print medium, people still have time to read it thoroughly. They don’t use second screens when they are reading as they often do with radio or TV – they really concentrate on what they read. That is unique for print. And you are still able to communicate more complicated messages in print media. Print is still a very strong call-to-action medium. You run a print ad and you can get people to act on it.

Davies: Print can be used to add incremental cover and incremental reach. Through TV, you only reach a certain percentage of the target and there comes a point of diminishing return if you do more TV. Print reaches an adult upmarket audience and they are holding the purse strings. That is a real strength.

Langley: The value of editorial and journalism isn’t going to diminish, but it will become more important. Having someone who can make an informed comment will become more valuable.

 

What is the future for print?
Grøn: In Denmark, print will be here for many years. Before it was a mass medium, but I don’t think it will be that in the future. It was the primary news medium, but it isn’t any more. People will use print in different ways, not as a news medium – that will come from mobiles. Print will be used in niche titles, where people will read about more specific interests. Broadsheet newspapers in 10 or 20 years will come out four or five days a week or just at weekends, not driven by news but by longer articles, stories and features.

Halberg: Because magazines are so strong in Norway and Sweden, where there are many titles, they will still be the strong media. It will be integrated with the website. The publishers in the Scandanavian countries are looking at digital and how they can develop Facebook and Pinterest and offer clients filters to use in their online shops. They are building events, creating a sense of community and experience. If they succeed in that, they will have a strong platform. People still want entertainment and they want to share their lives. We will see print in a different way, integrated into social media.

Browne: The future for print is that it will be used in a far more creative way. As long as there is strong editorial and imagery, it will always be relevant. With digital news, you have a two-minute window to get that story out and people consume it in snackable form. As the day progresses, you are going to need to update that to a full version with all the details of the story. Print has the opportunity to be a more in-depth view on the constant flow of information that’s coming out every day. It can be more adaptive and have a long-form view. Ads will tap into that in the same way.

“I find what some brands are doing with print really interesting. It’s about creating meaningful experiences and adding value”
Dean Browne, Worldwide Account Director at Mindshare

The further you go north, the higher readership for print – in Finland, people read 12 magazines each”
Stine Halberg, Nordic Managing Director for ZenithOptimedia Nordic

 “When we use the print medium, people still have time to read it thoroughly. They don’t use second screens when they are reading”
Martin Grøn, Print/Out Of Home Director at ZenithOptimedia Denmark

“The value of editorial and journalism isn’t going to diminish, but it will become more important. Having someone who can make an informed comment will become more valuable”
Chris Langley, Business Director at Vizeum

“Print reaches an adult upmarket audience and they are holding the purse strings. That is a real strength”
Chris Davies, Planning Director at ZenithOptimedia