Taunton Press’ Jane Weber on Integrating Offline/Online Creative
What came first, the print ad or the microsite? These days, savvy marketers are planning offline and online promotion components at the same time, knowing that Web-based elements can be adapted—and even increased in number—as the campaign rolls out.
That’s the goal at Taunton Press, the Newtown, Conn.-based publisher of enthusiast magazines (Fine Woodworking, Fine Cooking, Threads, etc.), books, DVD-ROMs and paid Web sites. Target Marketing checked in with Jane Weber, Taunton’s senior promotion manager, to get her perspective on the ins and outs of successfully integrating creative for multichannel marketing campaigns.
Target Marketing: What direct response channels does Taunton Press use to promote its editorial products?
Jane Weber: We advertise in our magazines (inserts, house ads), on our Web sites—each magazine has one—and through e-mail [to our housefile]. We do not mail outside e-mail lists. We also use direct mail, but only for subscriptions.
TM: In what ways do you integrate the promotional messaging for online and offline campaigns?
JW: We typically use the same look and feel for both print and Web. Structurally, it’s all one department. Once a print ad has been created for [a magazine], the design elements may be picked up for e-mail and/or Web ads.
The messaging for the Web is much more flexible. We can use more urgency with follow-up e-mails than our publishing schedule allows (six to eight issues a year). So things like “one more week to get 50 percent off in our warehouse sale” or “last day to get free shipping” are used routinely on the Web but would be impossible in print. For some of our print pieces, we create special landing pages; for example, if we are promoting multiple products on a cover wrap, we have a landing page that shows them all.
One good example of a campaign that was well-integrated is a current campaign for FineHomebuilding.com. We’ve been running ad spreads in the magazine (shot of a solar house with search boxes and cursor arrows for things like “photovoltaic panels”) with a call to action to take a “test drive” where they can try out the various features of the paid site [via a free microsite] before going to a sign-up page.
TM: How does writing copy for online promotions differ from how you approach print promotions?
JW: The essential elements of the product remain the same whether they are in a print ad or on the Web. The messaging may be tweaked depending on the list segment or on how things are batched with related products, such as a grilling book with a special interest publication on outdoor kitchens. We can be much more specific on the Web using different e-mail segments than we can in print, when the ad goes to both subscribers and newsstand buyers.
Copy for the Web is typically very streamlined. Banners that need more copy are broken into frames and animated. We really want to say only enough to get them to click to a product page or a special landing page where they can find the rest of the information. As I mentioned above, urgency is something that is much easier to accomplish on the Web than in print.
TM: And how do design elements translate from offline to online?
JW: Clearly, a full-page ad or a spread allows for much more information. Designing for the Web typically strips out any nonessential elements. The goal is always to give just enough information, either through imagery or copy, to get them to more detailed product information or, better still, to just buy the product.
We haven’t found much of a difference between showing book covers versus images relating to the publications [being promoted].
Overall, our customers really love our products and don’t seem to be overly sensitive to minor changes in design or copy. Our e-mail lists are extremely responsive.