Time to take flight with your message
I recently sat in a meeting at an established advertising agency where we were debating "how to effectively connect with travellers". We discussed the merits of a number of obvious travel magazines, newspapers, outdoor opportunities and social media/websites.
Astonished by their absence, I asked about in-flight magazines. The answer I received was one I am afraid I have heard too many times: "Oh yes, I forgot about them. Let's take a look at those."
To me, the damage had been done. Once again, a magazine read by nearly every passenger placed directly in front of them in their seat, was simply overlooked and added as an afterthought.
We continued to discuss the merits of in-flight media and, working with Ink publications, I ran through the numbers and titles, and made sure I left them all better informed and aware of the value of in-flight magazines.
This wasn't hard because it soon became obvious that everyone in the room had travelled with an airline that Ink publishes a magazine for, and they had all picked up and read the magazines. So why didn't they see the benefit to their clients?
The reality is in-flight magazines are a great product, with a valuable audience and strong ad recall. But, we need to work closer with the planners to better motivate and help them justify their campaign or in-flight will continue to be overlooked. We know agencies need data and collateral to demonstrate the value of recommended media channels and this we have. But in-flight must now be looked at with the same value as newsstand publications.
It is easy to measure the reach and influence newsstands lend the magazine; published circulation figures can be multiplied by two, three or four for recognised readership numbers - a fairly "finger in the air" number provided by numerous publishing groups all over the world.
But here is the thing that many planners don't take into account. The value of in-flight can also be measured and can provide definitive figures, for both print runs and readership. The numbers we quote are a matter of public record because all airlines report their passenger traffic on a month-by-month basis. And with the growth in airline travel, these numbers look very strong, especially in Asia which is increasing monthly.
Consequently, our readership numbers are factual; after all, every passenger on every plane that we work with gets a copy of one of our magazines. So if it's measurement and numbers the agencies want, then we have a lot to offer.
We as in-flight magazine publishers still have to convince buyers and planners of the value of our channel as a medium for helping their clients achieve their objectives through strategic and measurable campaigns.
Perhaps we need to do more to understand the agency buying process and publicise the metrics and numbers we use.
So come on agency planners. Look at the obvious, think about what you do when you fly and know that each month 48 million other travellers are doing the same.
by Gerry Ricketts
Gerry Ricketts is managing director of Ink Singapore
- Ink Publishing
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