Marketers are the new Publishers

A person reads a magazine with bright yellow pages.

(listen to the podcast on this same subject by clicking here.)

Welcome brand builders …

Recently I read an article by Mike Moran that was titled “Publishing is dying because marketers are the new publishers.”

I thought this would be an interesting subject to cover in a podcast because if your a commuter you see it on the trains, you see it on the street you see it everywhere. No longer are people reading the paper on the train next to you they are staring at their phones, headphones on getting their content from the web. Remember in the 90′s when you needed a phone number it took you 15 minutes rummaging threw your phone book to find the local coffee shops number. By the time you found it they were probably closed.

The author Mike talks about his travels in New York City and that news paper dealers are throwing in coupons, and discounts almost anything they can trying to get people to buy a NY post for a dollar and still people aren’t buying. Let me tell you its not because the paper sucks or the street vendor isn’t a good salesmen he is probably one of the best its the fact that people have smart phones and the way we consume information is more like the movie the matrix then old fashion publications.

Let me read this from marks post “As someone who grew up devouring newspapers, and did so daily for 35 years, it saddens me a bit when I see this. And even fewer are buying newspapers. But, truth be told, I am not sad enough to take one and read it myself. I don’t even read the free USA Today dropped outside my hotel room door. I get my news from the Web, and it is already free. No one can lower the price any more.”
But it isn’t just newspapers.

When is the last time you bought an encyclopedia? Wikipedia has crushed them all. Do you still have a phone book in your house or do you Google every number you need? But you knew this already. Everyone knows that some parts of the publishing business are dying because the Internet gives content away. But I don’t think everyone is understanding what is looming.

Home Depot has uploaded hundreds of videos to help you make repairs around your house. Everything from how to install a storm door to choosing the right color of paint. They’ve received over 10 million views. Why does Home Depot do this? Because the hope is that if you know how to do it yourself that you will troop down to Home Depot to buy the tools and supplies needed.

You know what this used to be called? A fix-it book.

Kraft has a smartphone app called iFood Assistant. It lets you put in some ingredients and shows you possible recipes. It lets you search for dishes and get a list of ingredients to buy. You can be standing in the grocery store and it can help you plan dinner. Expect them to start personalizing the recipes based on your family’s diet–they already have a function that helps you find low-priced meals. A free version of iFood Assistant makes sure to recommend Kraft products as part of the recipe, but there is also a paid version of the app replete with coupons. That will set you back a whole buck. Does this move more Kraft product? They sure think so.

You know what this used to be called? A cookbook.

Johnson & Johnson has an interesting program called BabyCenter that sends information to parents about their impending baby. All you need to do is to provide your due date and you’ll get lots of information about how your baby is developing in the fifth month of pregnancy, what things that you should be doing for the baby’s health, and what preparations you should make. And after the baby is born, you continue to get developmental information about your child as she grows. Yes, there are coupons for baby shampoo, but there is a wealth of really useful information that comes along, too.

You know what this used to be called? Parents Magazine.

Honestly I’ve been saying this since for a while because I got my start in social media in the music industry and I saw in the 2003 to 2005 what happened to them it wasn’t hard to see where this is going and this is still so early in the game. The consumer internet has only been around since 1995 and social media sites like youtube only since 2006. Now these smart marketers doing what publishers once did? Because they know that marketers must act like publishers to succeed online. They can’t interrupt people with ads the way they used to, because ads don’t work online unless they are laser focused on what people are doing (such as search ads). Mostly, people are looking to solve their problems and if you solve them, you can sell them something. Kraft evidently believes that spending money on content and apps to solve the problem “What’s for dinner tonight?” is money better spent than on a few more TV commercials for macaroni and cheese.

Marketers are the new publishers. Which is bad news for publishers, because marketers are giving it away. It’s bad, unless the publishers figure out what their new market really is, which is not selling information but getting paid for producing information. Instead of going out of business, a computer magazine might want to ally with Best Buy. Instead of closing its doors, a home finance publisher might want to take its book content and talk to Charles Schwab. You think it was a fluke that Google bought Zagat? It’s only just begun.

And for you marketers that don’t think you need to ally with a publisher? Or can’t afford to acquire one? What does it mean for you? It’s good news for you, too. You can scoop up the writers and other content providers that once worked for publishing companies at pennies on the dollar. As each pillar of the publishing world starts to fall, lots of people who once had steady jobs are now available. They don’t know that they should become marketers, but you know what they should be doing and you can hire them.If you create content that people really want to spend time with, suddenly you’ve got the marketing approach that everyone is looking for. is also an example of how tv shows can do the same thing. I love south park and they have every episode they’ve ever created on this site. They also tease new episodes and almost immediately after they air a new episode on comedy central they make it available online on their website. Its awesome I’ve only watched south park on their website. They run short commercials throughout the episode usually the same one and very targeted to their demo because almost every add is a for a new video game. Although this is more old world in terms of how they use the adds what I’m saying is if they wanted to the creators of south park could release that show independent of a publisher such as comedy central. Comedian C.K. Lewis did this recently with his latest DVD. He bypass a publishing house and pushed it himself is fan base is large enough that he can do that.

The world of the middle man has been on the chopping block for years but in 2012 you will see many of them finally get the axe unless they begin to re-invent how they see talent and how they really breed new talent. Its an exciting time if your looking to start getting into the publishing world.

For more in depth thought on this concept listen to the podcast.