From left: Ad Age editor-in-chief Jonah Bloom; Deirdre Bigley, vice president, worldwide advertising and interactive, IBM Corp.; Scott Neslund, CEO, Mindshare America; Donna Speciale, MediaVest president of investment and activation; and Brian Perkins, corporate vice president, corporate affairs, Johnson & Johnson
“You have to break the code on this,” MediaVest USA president of investment and activation Donna Speciale told magazine executives at the 2007 American Magazine Conference. Speaking on a panel dubbed, “Will Marketing Ever Be Integrated? An Agency/Client Perspective” moderated by Ad Age editor-in-chief Jonah Bloom, Speciale’s urging was echoed by fellow panelists Deirdre Bigley, VP of worldwide advertising and interactive at IBM; Brian Perkins, corporate VP of corporate affairs at Johnson & Johnson; and Scott Neslund, CEO, Mindshare America. The “holy grail” of integration as the marketers see it? “How do I attach this to revenue,” Bigley answered in the brief discussion, during which Bloom interrogated and needled in equal parts, at one point answering a panelist who asked if she could add to another’s comment, “I don’t know — can you?”
In working with magazine publishers on campaigns, “the majority of the the problem is breaking down those silos,” Speciale said. “We’re nowhere where we need to be [in integrating]. Everybody’s talking the talk, but I’m not quite sure if everybody’s walking the walk. And half the problem is also the vendor [i.e. magazines’] side.” As Perkins put it, “we have to deal with segregation a lot, whether it’s with media agencies, PR agencies or publishers.” But, when it came to whether mags effectively offered integrated solutions for ad and PR firms to play with, Perkins noted mixed results. “There are pockets of excellence and there are pockets of areas [within the magazine publishing world] that really, really need to be improved.”
Panelists cited the traditional church/state divide between edit and ads, advocating its dissolution. “Editorial, it’s your precious, it’s what you own,” Speciale told the editor-heavy audience. “That barrier — we’re going to have to break it.” In addition, effective marketing of magazines requires a “fluidity of money,” she said, with budgets not restricted to particular mediums like T.V., online or print but able to go toward a multiplicity of approaches without subdividing allocations among them. Scott echoed the sentiment, encouraging attendees to be “very open to moving monies around to different media channels.” Who’s doing this well? According to Perkins, “When Meredith comes in, they have ideas — they’re not wasting our time.” In addition, People was mentioned as a particularly successful title in achieving a presence across multiple media platforms.
—Rebecca L. Fox