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Who’s Your Dumbo Feather?

For decades we’ve gone on and on about “church and state”. We buy media because of the performance of the media, not the function the medium actually serves. Its a marriage of convenience. And for the most part that makes sense.

Where most marketers are going wrong is applying that absolutely. Done this way we ignore the very function and purpose of media — and the opportunity to create amazing new shows, programs and publications.

Decades ago a hipster couple came to see me in San Francisco to chat about a cool new publication they were launching. Kind of The Economist meets Vanity Fair meets Popular Mechanics for the tech world. They had me sold on the design alone. A few of us got behind them and away it went. That publication is Wired.

What about titles like Dumbo Feather. Its small in circulation but its a very high value circulation. High in production values and storytelling. Its a publication of merit. And its worth supporting for the story it tells and the function it serves. (And they are ten years young with the latest edition).

Or The Collective. I remember Lisa out hunting for her first advertisers – and I chose to support it early because of its purpose and potential impact on an important segment of the market. Now its arguably the most important publication for Women entrepreneurs and business leaders in Australia. It’s not an easy one to fit into a big media spend – its not likely to pop-up on the radar of the big media agency – and they aren’t likely to succumb to the brutal buying terms of the big buyer, the economics don’t support it.

But much like Dumbo Feather, its worthy of support on the merit of its intent. Doubly important, its an opportunity to use great content, distribute to your own audiences, and connect through events.

All of these publications point to the need for buyers, marketers and advertisers to support publications not just based on reach, but also purpose and potential. It could be with as little as two percent of your total budget. But putting that two percent to work matters. 

Simply put, supporting media is more than about buying ads. Its about creating conversations, ensuring our societies stories get told well, and creating the inspirational publications of the future.

Marketers need to open their buying aperture.

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