A Client's Eye View of Print Advertising

Article excerpt

Two packaged-goods media pros discuss the art of the print sale.

The POWER OF MAGAZINE advertising was a hot topic at FOLIO:'s annual International Magazine Management Executive Forum, held last March in Orlando. In one session, Christine Miller, executive vice president of marketing at the Magazine Publishers of America, moderated a discussion on the value of print advertising from the client's perspective. Panelists were Mike Perry, director of media for Nabisco, and Steve Romines, director of media planning for Schering-Plough HealthCare Products Division.

At Nabisco, Perry directs the ad agencies and brand management groups in development and execution of the annual test market and roll-out media plans. He developed the top-down media planning approach, dedicated to increasing efficiency and ad delivery. Nabisco's overall ad budget for its biscuit division is about $110 million; print gets $7 million of that. The specialty products division spends about $80 million to $90 million, of which print gets about $10 million.

Romines, a 21-year veteran at Schering-Plough in the In-house Media Department, controls all the coordination for magazines as director of media purchasing. His overall budget is about $60 million, and print has about $7 million of that--up from $2 million or $3 million in the last few years.

Some questions from the conference attendees are included here. For a more complete transcript of the discussion, please see our Web site, www.foliomag.com.

CHRISTINE MILLER: I want to talk about how these panelists set their marketing strategies, and then lead into the role that their media objectives and strategies play, and how they view magazines. So, Mike, would you tell us: What are you thinking about when you head into the planning session for the year for the brands?

MIKE PERRY: It's very much a budgeting process. We look across the company and ask, with this portfolio of brands, what is it that we're going to support this year? Then, given the tools that we have to support them, how are we going to develop those brands? The tools, from my perspective, are trade promotion, consumer promotion and advertising.

We're in a category where Nabisco is the leader, and we have to manage our brands in terms of, we can always sell Oreos, we can always sell Chips Ahoy, but how do we sell all of them at once, and move the whole category forward? We're constantly balancing those budgets and those objectives to try to get there. Advertising is a part of it, but trade promotion is also extremely important.

STEVE ROMINES: We're not that much different. We'll look at all the brands and see where we can go. We have Dr. Scholl's- that has probably 20 to 25 different units that we want to support during the year. The Coppertone brand, basically the same. We'll break it down to three or four different plans that we want to support. We have to know what our trade support is going to be, what our promotional calendar is going to look like, and then we'll get to the advertising portion.

MILLER: Once you've set your brand objectives and look at the marketing mix, how do you approach your media budget?

ROMINES: We're going to see what the competition's doing, where the competition is, how much we can afford, how much has to go to promotion, and then we'll start breaking it down.

If we're going to have three promotions during the year, what will it take to support them? Is this a mature product that every consumer is aware of, or is this a new product? Then we allocate out. We start with a clean piece of paper every year. I wish we didn't, but we do.

MILLER: You do zero-based budgeting every year to the brands?

ROMINES: Yes.

PERRY: We start with fairly big segments, looking at "savory," which is the cracker business, "sweet," which is the cookie business, and we have a new category called "wholesome go," which is the cereal bars and the things that are outside the cookie aisle. …