Magazine article Marketing

This Is a Woman's World

Magazine article Marketing

This Is a Woman's World

Article excerpt

Advertisers need discrete media to target women. Andy Fry reports on the rise of satellite channels and magazines which point the way

Modern woman could be managing the family budget, making decisions about expenditure on herself or influencing her partner's car buying, pension planning or holiday making decisions. She could be a working mum, a single parent, or a senior executive -- or all three.

What is more, given the multiplicity of her roles, advertisers must establish the right link at the right time to maximise their message's impact.

No advertiser realistically needs to reach every woman. The changing dynamics of the female population and the fragmentation of media opportunities have conspired to make this point more important than ever.

Clients must repeatedly ask if their choice of medium meets their needs and, if not, what alternatives there are.

Increasingly, though, demographic indicators such as social class and age are proving inadequate.

Having said all that, it is vital for major manufacturers -- particularly in the consumer goods, food, leisure and finance sectors -- to achieve the biggest possible platform for their message. Undoubtedly television still performs this function better than any other medium.

Despite the fact that ITV's peaktime audience will be eroded by satellite, and that breakfast contractor GMTV is suffering at the hands of Channel 4's Big Breakfast, commercial TV still offers women in numbers.

However, it is hardly a revelation to suggest that the crucial medium in terms of flexible and appropriate targeting of women is magazines.

The client's ability to target teenagers (Just Seventeen, 19) the grey sector (Yours, Choice), working mums (She) pregnant mums (Practical Parenting) or women concerned about specific aspects of their appearance (Slimming, Hair) is only one part of the medium's potential.

The range of sales propositions stretches from the IPC weeklies (eight titles, including TV Times and What's on TV?, selling six million copies a week) to the most upmarket of women's magazines (Vogue, 178,000). In between those extremes you can brand, educate or broadcast with increasing precision.

Other titles can make a strong claim for inclusion on the schedule. In terms of sheer volume the Radio Times outstrips a number of more targeted women's magazines. According to the latest NRS figures, it delivers 1.59 million ABC1 women per issue -- more than any of the women's weeklies.

Women's magazines have been forced to evolve continuously. Competition has been tough, the recession has been fierce and advertisers have become more demanding.

Instead of simply relying on the vague notion that people love their magazines, publishers have been forced to consider how they can best meet advertisers' needs and whether they can convert the message into sales.

The most significant step taken by the magazine publishers has been the blossoming of corporate sales strategies which are designed to allow busy clients a one-stop shop.

This month, Conde Nast appointed Charlotte Stockting to take on this role across its titles. But the pioneer of this type of sell was undoubtedly IPC.

IPC weeklies ad director Rupert Miles says: "We have 46% of the women's weekly market. Six million copies a week buys you time with a consumer goods advertiser. Numbers open doors at a time when it is increasingly difficult to deliver numbers."

It is a delicate balance though. At the National Magazine Company where the gospel is branding, the corporate sell cannot be allowed to jeopardise the value of individual titles.

Group sales director Brian Whittaker says his department, which was set up in 1991, has generated |pounds~6m of additional business in the last year.

He makes the same point as Miles: "NatMags achieves 26% of all ad paging in the women's monthly sector and clients can now get access to this through one conversation. …

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