‘Don’t ignore the regions’ warns newspaper chief

Media planners and their clients are failing to increase their business because of a reluctance to exploit opportunities outside London, according to Newspaper Society marketing director Robert Ray.

Media planners and their clients are failing to increase their business because of a reluctance to exploit opportunities outside London, according to Newspaper Society marketing director Robert Ray.

Apart from retailers and the car industry – who represent the “gold standard” in their commitment to using local media – he says that all sectors are failing to engage consumers because they are too focused on the capital.

Ray adds: “Retailers ensure a portion of their annual budget is allocated to such successful micro-marketing so that they can ensure there are no regional gaps in their business. The motor industry does the same, but for most other sectors, brands are left to struggle in areas where some regional knowledge and exploration would drive profits.”

He says advertisers and their media agencies do not spend enough time finding out how to speak to consumers in different regions and are losing business because of a “perceived lack of time and resources and a reluctance to allocate funds to the regions”.

One press buyer agrees that retailers and car companies do demand regional research but he says that buying for such clients can be “very time consuming”. He adds: ” What creative messages are needed to speak to different regions is not always explored, and until that happens it’s difficult to define the media planning and buying role. It’s not clear whether advertising or media should be leading the process.”

The regional press is a &£3bn advertising medium read by 40 million people a week, according to the Newspaper Society.

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