Submitted by: Shareena Patel 03/12/2015
Sue Todd, Chief Executive of Magnetic, the UK’s marketing agency for magazine media, explains why print is now more important than ever for brands.
"The print experience is highly valued as a rare 'make time' as opposed to 'fill time' experience. With these immersive moments comes an openess and receptivity to ideas"
Magazines have always been recognised for serving a unique consumer need when it comes to relaxation, escapism and reward. Twenty years ago we would have called this experience ‘me-time’ and plenty of research over the years has explained the value that readers place on these moments and the effect this has on advertising receptivity.
Recent analysis by Magnetic into how the various channel proliferation and changing nature of content distribution suggests that these solus and fully immersive media moments are becoming rarer and more valued. We wanted to understand not only how engaged and immersed consumers now are in magazine content but how each channel might differ. Was print still the dominant channel for ‘media mindfulness’?
In terms of the wider context in which magazine consumption sits there are now close to 300 million active internet domains. But that’s nothing alongside the billions of texts and emails that are sent every day; the hundreds of millions of Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Instagram and Snapchat accounts. In this mass content era, individuals are bombarded with information and media brands compete like never before for their attention. Being able to offer well crafted, original and trusted content with a clear point of view for the right audience is more important than ever. And if we were under any illusions about how much peoples’ lives really have changed, neuroscientist Daniel J. Levitin in his recent book, The Organized Mind, makes it explicitly clear. He writes: “Thirty years ago, travel agents made our airline and rail reservations, salespeople helped us find what we were looking for in shops, and professional typists or secretaries helped busy people with their correspondence. Now we do most of those things ourselves. We are doing the jobs of 10 different people while still trying to keep up with our lives, our children and parents, our friends, our careers, our hobbies and our favourite TV shows.”
Levitin argues that this causes anxiety and mental exhaustion. His discussion also raises the issue of how distracted people can be when trying to juggle so many tasks. The science suggests that it’s hard to absorb messages and experiences in this situation and points the way towards the need to create regular moments throughout each day to allow people to step away from the noise. Our own research project, The Rules of Attraction, interviewed 15,000 magazine consumers over two years and showed that as well as the magazine experience becoming more 24/7, the print experience is still highly valued as a rare ‘make time’ as opposed to ‘fill time’ experience. With these immersive moments comes an openness and receptivity to ideas and inspiration; a welcoming of messages and content that helps us navigate daily decision making. As psychologist Barry Schwartz said: “Choice is cherished, but choosing is a chore.” This combination of providing an escape from the noise and being a trusted source of information, entertainment and ideas is what magazine media does brilliantly. It provides environments that encourage attention, escapism and inspiration – precious assets to both consumers and advertisers amidst a world of distraction.