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How to select print publications

By Karsh Hagan | 

How to select print publications

National magazines a key contributor

National magazines are a staple of every spring/summer effort for Colorado Tourism. Over the past five years, their campaigns have continued to perform well in post-campaign awareness studies and have been a key contributor to the overall success of Colorado Tourism Office.

In-depth print process review

To reach the target audience(s), Karsh Hagan always performs an extensive analysis to determine which national magazine partners will be part of our spring/summer media efforts. Over time, Karsh Hagan has developed an in-depth print review process, which has allowed us to find the publications that cost effectively reach the right target audience(s).
We feel it is vital to perform this analysis as some publications that might be an “obvious choice” for the campaign end up not performing as well as anticipated and vice versa. Some travel publications are usually part of the recommendation, but so are a lot of non-endemic publications that we’ve found reach an audience that loves to travel, but are not editorially focused on travel.

RFP Process analysis

We typically invite 30+ vendors to participate in the RFP process (which usually takes roughly 2-3 weeks), and analyze these publications based on many factors including:

  1. Space rates
  2. Cost-per-thousand (cost efficiency)·
  3. Circulation strength and distribution methods
  4. Added value packages
  5. Position offerings
  6. MRI Research – third-party consumer research that gives us target audience composition for each publication

Once we’ve chosen the best performers based on our analysis, we complete a final round of rate and positioning negotiations.

Final publication positioning

Final positioning within a publication is determined, in part, by:

  1. Number of pages you are buying/total campaign spending
  2. Ad unit size – a spread will always get a better position than a fractional unit
  3. Creative – Publications always want the most appealing and beautiful creative in their “franchise” positions

Having beautiful visuals worked to our advantage with our campaign launch in April as many publications placed the new Colorado Tourism spreads in the front of the magazine, and in many cases, we had better positioning than many (larger) national advertisers, travel or otherwise.

-Dave Moorehouse, Associate Media Director 

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