Technology can make print sexy, says top marketer

Publishers need to look at innovative ways of making print “sexy again” through 3D and augmented reality ads, as well as multi-sensory executions, says head of strategic marketing for Singapore Press Holdings, Geoff Tan.

Mr Tan said that any prevailing negative attitudes towards print are generally the result of a mindset that sees it as an old medium, and that the platform becomes more appealing to advertisers if publishers offer new and “trendy” approaches to print ads, that help connect them with younger consumers.

Mr Tan, the 2011 PANPA Marketer of the Year, gave a presentation at the recent Future Forum industry conference, where he said that publishers needed to “change or die”, but that they should maintain confidence in their print assets.

In his presentation, Mr Tan said that innovative ideas and creativity within media organisations was fostered by having a flat organisational structure, and that SPH had gradually flattened its structure over the last few years.

“From the smallest and most junior staff to the CEO, it’s never more than six deep, and sometimes it’s only four,” he said.

“I think having a flat structure helps us in many ways. One is quicker conversions in terms of decision-making, so you don’t have to go up the food chain to get the CEO to approve something.

“The other thing is that it gives you a closer proximity in terms of how the workspace is, in terms of where your colleagues are, in terms of where the infrastructure is built, so that you then get to share ideas.

“Because you’re seated in a very flat structure, somebody’s project that you hear about, you can toss your idea in…it’s an expanded ecosystem.”

Mr Tan spoke about SPH’s fully-integrated communications solution SPH MEDIAPEDIA, which offers advertisers and agencies a guide to help decide on “the width and depth of their media allocations with the SPH group”.

“It caters for every single customer in Singapore . . . and for every stage of the customer decision making process,” said Mr Tan.

“It’s a one stop shop for all advertising companies. An opportunity to drive more value.”

From its genesis in 1984, after the merging of three media organisations, Singapore Press Holdings has grown into a multi-million dollar powerhouse that publishing in four languages, has numerous smartphone applications and 200 screens in public precincts in Singapore “to convert people before they walk into shops.” The company’s influence has also gone global through exhibitions and events.

Mr Tan said the key is to know your client and start consultative selling.

“Social media and crowdsourcing means publishers now need to write about what’s trending,” he said.

Mr Tan paid respect to Steve Jobs, a man he sees as “the greatest commercial gamechanger in the world”, both in his speech and in his dress – a tucked-in long-sleeve black top and blue jeans.

“He created products that we never even thought we’d need. Look from the outside in…there are unlimited creative possibilities,” he said.

– written by Aimee Saaib and Will Mumford.

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1 comment

  1. Thank you Geoff. You ARE on the money. My company is riding this wave with you. Our Image recognition mobile app POC for News corp (Newsclick) allowed consumers to snap a photo of an ad, editorial or real estate placement in its papers and be taken instantly to video, maps, OFI, telephone, coupons, social sharing…. the works. Breathing “digital” life into print – for people on the go. Our Dan Murphys Liquor app is a massive success story – for all the same reasons. We continue to grow and inspire other businesses who “see the light” as you do.

    I truly believe this is the future FOR print to stay alive. It certainly does need more voyeurism – Gettin’ sexy is a great way to put it.

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