Forum held on best use of advertising dollars

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MIAMI BEACH - It used to be that companies looking to spend advertising dollars automatically went to print - newspapers or magazines - to spread the news about their products or programs. But these days, when many turn to the Internet to make buying decisions, that model may be changing.

"The Great Media Debate: Where to Put Your Ad Dollars," was presented by the Marine Marketers of America during last week's Miami International Boat Show. The panelists were James Causey, vice president of Dominion Media, a division of Dominion Enterprises, which produces Soundings Trade Only; and Peter Janssen, editorial director of Motor Boating magazine, published by Bonnier Corp.

"We have to build on what's happened in the past, but not live in it," Causey said, noting that a recent survey showed many manufacturers and distributers are decreasing their marketing budgets for direct mail, newspapers and magazines. "You have to be flexible. You can't just be the 'print guy.' "

We're not just in the magazine business, he stressed, but in the content business, providing information in many forms, including print, but not limited to it.

"We don't know all the time where someone touches us the first time," Causey said. "But once they do touch us, we have to own them."

The physical magazine, digital media and face-to-face communications all need to work together, he added.

Janssen agreed, saying you can't put "all your eggs in the print basket," though it can be the centerpiece of a diversified media plan. Magazines, he said, are the driver of brand awareness - they bring in the people.

"Magazines are the No. 1 medium of engagement," he said, adding it's magazines where you can make the emotional connection to readers. "We're in the dream business. We're selling dreams."

After all, he added, magazine pages provide the ability to make a visual impact that's just not possible on a computer screen.

— Beth Rosenberg


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