Your client is launching a new gospel magazine aimed at the LSM 4-6 income groups in Mpumalanga, Limpopo and the North West provinces. The magazine will be available for free at shopping centres and garages. It will profile local gospel singers, review gospel music and feature church leaders as columnists. How will you create a public awareness campaign for the magazine on a budget of R50,000? Plus, what kind of advertisers would you want to draw?
Another magazine? There are currently 474 magazine members of the Audit Bureau of Circulations (as at 31 December 2007). If we take uncertified publications into account, is there really room for more? The fragmentation of media has me thinking that perhaps one day each household will have their own magazine, exclusively crafted for their particular interest niche or not – imagine a readership of four, and a single copy sales number of one.
But that is an entirely different debate altogether, so let’s look at the market facts.
Is there a gap for a new free gospel magazine? There is currently no registered publication fulfilling this role. Gospel music is enjoyed by more than half of the population (in fact, 65 percent of the population have an interest in this genre as opposed to the mere four percent who are keen on Hard Rock music). No doubt, the market is there and a free magazine, why not? With the current market condition of price hikes, consumers will start cutting back on items deemed as “extra”, so a custom publication can fill that gap easily as things are seldom free these days.
Regionalising the title to cater for Mpumalanga, Limpopo and the North West is a good idea because 82 percent of people living in these provinces, who attend church weekly, are interested in gospel music. So there is potential for success, but we have only R50,000 to create public awareness among 1.6-million potential consumers – assuming the budget is for media and launch only.
Understanding the client’s marketing plan will add value to a media strategy. There are often times where we forget that media planning should be based on so much more than just considering the promotional message and the timing of a campaign. Delving extensively into the marketing plan will ensure that we understand the client’s business on a deeper level and we can be certain that our placement considerations and holistic campaign planning will benefit the business from all perspectives. As David Ogilvy said: “Advertising people who ignore research are as dangerous as generals who ignore decodes of enemy signals.” It is vital that you know the market and product you are advertising. Before considering which communication channels to use, it is imperative to ask the following questions and understand the underlying audience insights we can gain from answering them:
Ã¢Â€Â¢ What do we know about our target audience and their interests?
Ã¢Â€Â¢ When and how do they engage with different media? How do we enhance our messaging to optimise audience engagement?
Ã¢Â€Â¢ Is it fair to classify 1.6-million consumers into one homogeneous unit? Or should we look at specific segments within this group?
Ã¢Â€Â¢ When will the target audience be most receptive to our messaging? How can we capitalise on this?
Ã¢Â€Â¢ How do we maximise our very limited budget by making our campaign memorable with a high “talkability” factor?
Ã¢Â€Â¢ How can we exploit our relationships so that both parties can receive beneficial exposure and ensure there is room for long-term opportunities through communication partnerships? Understanding the potential market is key.
Launching the magazine
I propose the following to maximise the budget provided: Aligning with the biggest Christian gathering in the southern hemisphere that takes place twice a year at Zion City, Moria, will get us the reach and the impact needed for a new product launch.
If we consider the Easter celebrations for launch we will be reaching a large percentage of our target audience.
During the live radio broadcast would be ideal; those that could not make the pilgrimage would be exposed to the communication, but what about the four-million ZCC members who attend the worship at Zion City? Gospel singers to be featured in the publication serve to endorse the magazine; the credibility of these artists makes the magazine an easier sell. What better place to get people talking about the magazine, passing it onto their friends and continuing to worship through their love of gospel music? Zion City is renowned for the blocked highways and byways during the Easter period. There is also a second event it hosts in September. Toll roads on the way to Limpopo afford us the opportunity to reach our target audience as well as those from neighbouring provinces.
Picture the scene: You are on your way to Moria in a crowded bus, taxi or car. What better way to enjoy the trip than to have a free gospel magazine handed to you and your passengers to read. Better than that, spend your promotional budget on printing T-shirts or caps – a cost-effective way of keeping your message alive (after all, everyone wears an item of clothing more than once). Partnering with this gathering creates the opportunity to be the official carrier of the weekend programme, a doublepage spread on where to stay, ritual timings and the like – all brought to you by the new gospel magazine, firmly entrenching this brand with its direct consumers. SMS competitions will draw vast numbers of entries if the prizes are relevant, plus this will allow the publication to gather a database through which they can encourage subscriptions and reminders to get new issues throughout the year.
Setting up a maintenance strategy
This will be key, as it often takes up to two years for a new publication to break even. Here are some strategies to ensure continuous communication: African Language Stations radio activity is vital (preferably live reads) to build credibility as well as create the perception that the radio personalities endorse the brand. Live reads are more flexible and will reduce production costs. A “Better than that, spend your promotional budget on printing T-shirts or caps – a cost-effective way of keeping your message alive … and use SMS competitions and radio campaigns to build the brand.” four-week campaign on Thobela, Phalaphala and Munghana Lonene could attain a reach of 47 percent and a frequency of seven. Is this sufficient? Will a really creative ad get people talking to ensure we capitalise on the most credible and trusted medium among these individuals – word of mouth? There is also the possibility of branding minibus taxis that will transport millions of individuals to Zion City and have the magazine available on board.
What kind of advertisers will benefit from this magazine?
The most obvious ones would be music stores where gospel titles are available. Local events and entertainment venues, plus radio stations and their events will benefit from exposure too. Other advertisers that would add value to the readers, as well as their own businesses, might include: local choirs, their performances and auditions, ring tone providers (download the latest gospel track), cell phones and the service providers. A large localised classified section will be beneficial (although this depends on the frequency of the title). If we take James Collins’ perspective to heart: “A magazine is simply a device to induce people to read advertising”, then we ought to carefully consider the advertisers this title will carry. Consumers are intelligent and will not be mislead by irrelevant messaging in a publication that strives to build editorial credibility in the hope for loyal readers.
Ilsa GrÃƒÂ¤be is a media strategist at Starcom.
Ã¢Â–Â This article first appeared in !_LT_EMThe Media!_LT_/EM magazine.