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Media Company news South Africa

Do you know your audience?

A crystal-clear picture of your target audience is the holy grail of all marketers but as media fragments and trading conditions get tighter it is the publishers and content marketers who need this clarity the most. Who are your customers and how do they differ from your competitors' customers? Demography is obviously the starting point here, but what do they think, own, buy, spend, do, love and hate? Understanding the unique attributes of your audience is crucial for content creation, style, tone and channel selection. It's also crucial for ad sales storytelling which in many instances appears to be lacking at best.
Magazine readership trend 2016
Magazine readership trend 2016
click to enlarge

WhyFive is a company with deep roots in media and marketing, and it has always amazed us how many content-driven brands and publishers are forced to fight for advertising revenues armed with the bluntest of swords: a very faint and fuzzy view of their customers. It's why you see so many rate cards with nebulous audience (e.g. 'LSM 8 to 10' and '25- to 50-year-old women'); or worse still - glaring gaps because their 'facts' just don't make enough sense.

Adding to the problem for publishers is that we seem to finally be returning to a media landscape where quantity of audience is far less interesting than quality of audience - and as media use fragments, that phenomenon becomes increasingly important.

Where does that leave quality brands? Well, you may have noticed that the wealthier or more exclusive a category gets, and the more premium the brand, the worse the stats are. Why? These stats are traditionally based on establishment surveys that render tiny sample sizes when you start getting into the upper echelons of society. In short, they can't get over enough security fences to find out what people on the other side are doing.

That was one of the driving motives behind the launch, six years ago, of what we now call BrandMapp. It's a unique study of 'economically active' adults earning in excess of R10,000 a month - half of whom live in top-end households earning R30K or more. So in effect, BrandMapp starts getting really interesting where LSM 10 stops! And that's great news for a multitude of magazine and media brands who are searching for an alternative view of their audiences. Let's look at a few examples.

Of the total sample of 27,466 respondents in BrandMapp 2016, 10,268 read magazines in the highly competitive 'female general interest' category. Of the 24 titles in this category, Cosmopolitan leads with a 27% share (i.e. a sample of 2,728 regular readers). Even down in 23rd place, Longevity still renders a healthy sample of 351 readers.

Similarly, in the home, décor and gardening category, the category leader, House and Leisure, shows a sample of 3,235 readers, but if the more niche title, Habitat, wants a comparative view of the décor world, it can do so through a viable sample of 384.

And the list goes on - through a total of more than 500 titles and brands in print, digital and radio media. Using BrandMapp, we can quickly create a brand profile for your audience (or customers) and provide a bulletproof view of who they are, from demography (age, gender, race, education, income, region) and life stage through more than 200 measures such as the brands they own and love, their fears and fantasies, psychographic profiles, travel habits, loyalty usage, social media usage and much, much more.

It's not only publishers who will find an accurate audience profile invaluable from an ad sales perspective - content creators will also be able to extract meaningful insights that will inform their content strategy in ways they never dreamed of.

Things are changing fast. The table included illustrates changes in magazine readership in just the last 12 months. Imagine the changes within each category and within each title's readership! Understanding these shifts has never been more crucial to publishers and marketers.

BrandMapp is a unique South African dataset that uses a mega-sample of more than 30 000 respondents to profile the 12 million adults who live in mid to top-income households earning in excess of R10 000 per month. Now in its eighth year, the BrandMapp survey is a bespoke, independent survey that powers the WhyFive consumer insights consultancy.
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