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Present the Perfect Ad Package - 7/11/2011 -

While revenue will continue to siphon into new media, print is still a substantial portion of most advertisers’ media mix.

By Erin Pressley

"I’m not dead yet,” croaked the old man in the infamous scene depicting the collection of the dead in Monty Python’s Holy Grail. And so goes B-to-B print advertising – which is also "not dead yet” – according to Stephen Schwanz, executive vice president of Fox Associates.

Schwanz and his co-presenter, Kathleen Vail, managing editor at the National School Boards Association (NSBA), delivered their presentation on how to "Present the Perfect Ad Packages” to an audience hungering for some good news after a couple years of tough ad sales.

Before Vail detailed her experience at the helm of several NSBA publications, Schwanz discussed the lay of the land for advertising. B-to-B publications experienced a 34.6 percent net decline since 2007, but the year-to-date numbers for 2011 – at a 0.3 percent decline since the start of the year – seem to be improving. "There’s some hope there,” admitted Schwanz.

And while evidence seems to indicate that revenue will continue to be siphoned to new media (digital advertising is doing great, for example), print is still very much a substantial portion of the media mix for many advertisers. The key is for advertisers – and for those selling advertising – to see digital advertising as complementary and not competitive to print advertising. A mixed media advertising plan is a strong one.

Schwanz also advised us to keep in mind the questions advertisers ask when considering the opportunity to market themselves in our publications:

· How is it going to help me sell product?

· What is the inherent benefit to me?

· What is the ROI to my company or brand?

Remember, however, that an advertising investment is not automatic, Schwanz warned. Cost, subject matter, timing, metrics, and competition for the dollar within other departments in your association all contribute to an advertiser’s decision to invest in advertising.

Before passing the microphone to Vail, Schwanz gave a nod to QR codes, which are rapidly gaining in popularity among advertisers.

Acknowledging a wide mix of media vehicles at NSBA, Vail launched into a discussion of the Magna Awards, one way that the association’s flagship publication, American School Board Journal, creates value for advertisers. The Magna Awards recognize excellence in school district leadership and commitment to student achievement and include three grand prize winners, five regular winners, and five honorable mentions. All award recipients are recognized in a special supplement published with the April issue of American School Board Journal. The Magna Awards publication is also published online accompanied by video updates. This multi-pronged approach to sharing content provides lots of opportunities for advertisers and sponsorships.

A digital edition of the magazine, launched in January, offers print-on-demand products. An active social media presence and blog round out some of the NSBA offers.

Schwanz and his team had the challenge of compiling all the advertising possibilities in NSBA’s media products. First, he recommended to audit your organization’s media assets so that you know what you have. Next, involve all association stakeholders and then customize content to specific marketers when you can. Taking these steps will help you craft more attractive marketing packages.

Once you’ve developed packages, there are a few pricing options to choose from: cost per impression, a flat rate, digital edition options, or bundled as an integrated program.

But most important, the answer to the question, "Can you make money?” should always be a resounding "Yes!”

Erin Pressley is vice president, editorial at NACS: The Association for Convenience & Fuel Retailing.


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