‘Magazines are underrated, PR needs to be taken seriously and creatives are terrible at packaging design’

The magazine industry is the most underrated medium in Australia, while PR, email and packaging design are the most undervalued marketing specialities, according to industry experts.  

Roger Camplisson, Initiative CEO and panellist at the Mumbrella Question Time forum, said while over the past 20 years the radio industry has held the mantle as the most underrated medium among advertisers, magazines have since taken over.

“It appears according to the billing numbers that some advertisers are leaving magazines in droves. I’m not sure that’s necessarily the case. And if they are then they’ll be back cause they’ll miss it,” he said.

“You’ve got to remember this is a media product that consumers go and buy for $5-8 every time and consume it. That doesn’t happen with most of the other media that we use to communicate so there’s got to be something in that.”

In the six months to December last year the magazine sector saw a 2.9 per cent decline in total copies sold, according to the Audit Bureau of Circulations.

And figures complied by the Commercial Advisory Service of Australia revealed magazine ad revenue fell by 9.3 per cent to $330.3m in the first half of that year.

Meanwhile, Peter Bray, The Brand Shop general manager, said as a channel, email marketing is the “forgotten child” and is often under invested in by marketers.

A recent study carried out by Pure Profile and commissioned by Experian CheetahMail, suggested that more than one in six Australian marketers surveyed have no means in place to measure the success of their email campaigns and the quality of email marketing.

As as discipline, Jeremy Nicholas, BMF executive planning director said PR is underrated by both creative agencies and clients. He said that his own agency offers every other marketing communications service but PR.

“I’d love us to have a great PR offer. We’ve got everything under one roof pretty much but the bit we’re missing is PR. We’ve got them in our social media management – they have come out of PR. But as as way of thinking I think its massively underutilised.”

Nicholas added that much could be learnt from the way PR is utilised by politicians and think tanks, which are able to use it to help frame public debate.

In terms of specialist expertise, Nicholas said creatives are “terrible” at packaging and product design.

How many people have gone to a basic design course? Understand basic layout? Understand how packaging and design works? What colours should go together and how to market it? Great product and packaging design can make the difference between a brand selling and not,” he said.

Iain McDonald, Amnesia Razorfish creative director and founder, said despite the focus on integration in campaigns, the various media and marketing channels still need to do more to ensure they are “working together” to ensure the best result for the client.


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