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The Power Struggle of Print & Web: Greg Wright Interview

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About two months ago I posted an interview with Eric Wagnon entitled, “Baby Boomers & the Death of Print.” I wasn’t suggesting that print was dead (it was one of the interview topics), but either way, it got the attention of Greg Wright, a publisher for both the Freeskier and Snowboard Magazines. Wanting to get his perspective on things, I asked him the simple question, “Is print dead?” Here’s his response:

Greg Wright: I am a magazine publisher, so it’s no shock to hear me say “print is not dead!” But I also “publish” two websites, video podcasts, email newsletters and one of the largest social media streams in the ski industry. Am I talking out of both sides of my mouth? You bet. That’s because our online properties serve a very specific purpose, audience engagement.

I will admit that print is dead the day a PR person tells me they’d rather see editorial on their company run online versus in print. Our print properties are the premium products with the premium content, so that is where everyone wants to be. Anybody can create and post content online, but only a few can successfully publish in print. As a direct result there’s finite space for content in the print world, so only the best content gets the nod. And that is the foundation for our brand. Premium content served up in a printed piece.

If we build our brands with our print products, and most everyone would rather see editorial on their company appear in print, then why wouldn’t everyone advertise in print? I can answer my own question. Before my publishing career I was a ski resort marketeer responsible for (among many things) media buying. And my success was based on measurable results. And well it’s no secret that brand advertising (via print or otherwise) rarely produces measureable results. But that is changing, quickly, thank you to the internet.

As I stated earlier, our print product drives our brand which inturn drives traffic to our online properties. Our websites receive over 300K unique visitors in the peak months, our podcast sees over 100K downloads on top episodes, our social media audience (facebook + twitter) is well over the 100K mark. These are measurable results for us, and for a lot of resort marketeers nowadays. Print builds the brand, online is where you engage the audience to produce the traditional measurable results (roooms booked, passes sold, etc). But in order to engage the audience online, you need a brand that’s relevant to that audience. While it’s completely possible to build a brand online (or via events, radio, TV, etc) print is the path of least resisitance. And I dare say the most fun a ski resort marketeer has. Print brand campaigns are the first thing you show off right?

So build your brands with print ads. Have fun making them. Then engage the various media outlets’ online aduiences. Advertise retail messages and drive revenue there. It’s an effective 1-2 punch that works for us.

  • Shawn

    If you knew my background you'd know that I am an enormously huge fan and user of social media, but I also have a print background that goes back over a decade. I believe that good marketing includes both, but to those who want to abandon print completely and go solely with social media then look at Pepsi as a case study:

    Pepsi recently cut back significantly on their traditional advertising spending, and took that chunk of change over to the social media side. It's likely the largest allocation of money to social media by any company so far. There were some good statistics including 3.5 million 'likes' on the Pepsi Facebook page and 60,000 Twitter followers.

    But the one stat that matters most – sales – looks grim. For the first time ever, Pepsi slipped from 2nd to 3rd on the list of most-consumed soft drinks. Do you know what drink moved up the board to take 2nd place behind Coke? Why, Diet Coke, of course.

    Overall losses to Pepsi's bottom dollar is estimated to be somewhere between $350 million and $500 million dollars.

    Full article here

    • GreggBlanchard

      Thanks for the insights and feedback, Shawn. What exactly is your background? Great comments.

  • Shawn

    Mostly sales but I also spent a couple years as Publisher of The Valley Sentinel Newspaper in Valemount, BC. It is small towns like Valemount where print is still especially strong and not every resident walks around with an iPhone or checks their facebook on a daily basis. I'm currently with a large Real Estate Publication in Metro Vancouver. That's my print background. My Online/Social Media background is a company I own that I do in my spare time is In fact I am also the owner of with over 70,000 likes. So really my point is I don't believe we are at the point, or ever will be at the point of abandoning traditional media, I believe good marketing is a mix of both.
    BTW great blog, I've spent hours reading your posts. Some really great ideas here.

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