#REACH2014 – Effective Marketing Communications: Tom Magnus ’77

(By ANEESH RAI)

Effective marketing communications, or “basically advertising” as Mr. Magnus succinctly put it, was the major focus of his presentation on the first day of REACH.  His five major questions were ones that all audience members had heard before – why, who, what, how, and so? His answers, on the other hand, gave a different spin on things.

The why aspect focused on why someone would make an advertisement in the first place – what their business objectives, strategies, and tactics are. The who aspect dealt with the target audience – the people the advertisement would speak out to. Narrowing down and identifying the specific audience is particularly important since “The bigger you make the target, the less specific you can make the message.” The question of what addressed the overlap between what the advertiser wants to say, and what the customer wants to hear. According to Mr. Magnus, figuring out a message that strikes a balance between these two elements is half the battle won.

The how issue deals with the consumer journey – figuring out the behavior of consumers, and using that information to optimize the delivery of the advertisement. In the art of advertising, it is this crucial step that “brings to life a bunch of statistics” and involves making an impact on the target. Finally, even after accomplishing all of this comes the final hurdle..so? Unless the client is pleased with the work done and gives your advertising credit, you gain nothing.

In his conclusion, Mr. Magnus addressed a variety of issues, and took a number of questions from the audience. He discussed the effectiveness of good networking, and reminded the audience of the unique and brilliant network that one is included in simply by being a Princeton student. He also iterated the importance of taking responsibility for one’s communication, because of the powerful and sometimes unintended impact it can have on people. He closed by speaking of the value of integrity, and how representing oneself honestly is undoubtedly the best way to go.

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