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Data Bridges The Gap Between Magazine Media Platforms. The ACT 9 Experience. Linda Ruth Reporting… Part 12

May 8, 2019

On Day 3 of Mr. Magazine’s ACT 9 at the Magazine Innovation Center of Ole Miss, we welcomed Jim Elliott, President of James G. Elliott Co., to moderate a panel with Alan English, the VP of Communications for the Military Officers Association of America, John French of French LLC, Michael Marchesano of Connectiv/SIIA/AM&P, and Kevin Shirin of Focus on the Family.

Elliott came out of the agency business, where everyone was predicting the death of TV. You’ll always hear that about various platforms. Today, the gap between platforms is shrinking.

Print has transformed itself to provide value and connectivity with the audience, said Marchesano. Data and technology enable us to personalize content for our audience members. Events are a great way to extend the brand, to extend the relationship with the audience. Our virtual world enhances the value of coming together in person to create partnerships and learn. Events, however, are not a lifetime annuity; they need to be changed from year to year; they need to stay on the leading edge.

Data is the big conversation at the MOAA, said English. They have a lot of data, they know a lot about their membership. Currently the data exists on disparate systems; they are working on bringing the information together to help it inform the offerings they create for their members. Events provide a whole new platform for storytelling as a benefit for the existing audience and to attract new audience members. Every event needs either a tearjerker or a great moment; and test your market with small events before growing to bigger ones.

It’s always easier to sell to an existing customer than a new one, added Marchesano. Data about those customers show their interests, what you can provide them. Data is what is enabling media to bridge the gap between print products, events, and other platforms. Use your own editorial team to plan the content of events; you can go out for help with logistics. Use your great data to build a story around it. This brings data to life and makes it actionable. Advertorials have always been part of the mix, which continues with native; the media company are the editorial experts, they’re the one who should tell the story.

Shirin agreed that using data to shape content development, delivering more relevant information to the audience. A number of years ago Focus on the Family made the mistake of asking for too much data, which misstep they are still recovering from. It’s important to continue to learn and try.

French has found events a great way to get revenue, as booth space can be prepaid up to a year in advance. If you have data on who is visiting your website, you can use it to invite people to nearby events that might interest them. Better to have fewer people you know more about than more people you know less about. Any time you have communication with a reader, ask questions. Find out about them. Turn it into data that will tell you how to run your business.Another convergence is with advertising, and the important thing here is to clearly indicate what content is editorial and what is not.

Wrapping up, Elliott summarized some key points: 1) Find the best for every platform, 2) Always ask why, 3) Switch things up.

It’s an exciting time to be in media. Be a sponge, but bring your point of view, your perspective. Embrace the opportunities.

Click the video below to watch the panel discussion:

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