Starcom Restructures Print Team, Chief Expects Pubs To Yield On 'Church And State'

by , Jun 29, 2004, 12:00 AM
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Four months after Karen Jacobs stepped down as head of its print investment group--the largest print media buying unit in the United States--Starcom has named a successor: Andrew Swinand, a 36-year-old former vice president-group client leader at the agency who has big plans for publishers.

Following his appointment, Swinand Tuesday told MediaDailyNews that his focus will be on research initiatives that affect print on a macro level, while Starcom USA Media Director Brenda White will continue running the day-to-day operations of print planning and buying within Starcom's Magazine Investment Group (MIG).

Swinand's promotion completes a top-level restructuring of Starcom's print division. White was promoted to her position earlier this year. Then, several weeks after White's promotion, Jacobs decided to leave the company to become a full-time mom.

Tuesday--his first day on his new job--Swinand was frank about the print industry's need for innovative thinking, and promised to lead the industry toward improvement.

"Marketers are demanding a higher degree of accountability," he said. "If print doesn't embrace this, it's going to be left behind."

Swinand said that print should look to the online medium as an example of how to best approach this new world, "focusing on output objectives rather than input."

Both White and Swinand agreed that the magazine business is at a critical juncture in terms of its role in advertising, a role that Swinand says is under-appreciated.

"Print is the ultimate targeting mechanism, given the way that titles are segmented," he said.

To better leverage those targeting capabilities, publishers may need to bend a bit on the 'church and state' division between advertising and editorial, according to Swinand. He even compared the medium to "Catholic school," with its mix of general and religious education.

"The industry has been slow to embrace this," he said.

Print's biggest problem is complacency, says Swinand. "Too often, magazines say, 'I've got my core group of customers; I don't really need to change.'"

Yet despite the many issues facing the industry, Swinand believes magazines may benefit from a growing dissatisfaction among clients with TV.

"I think print is going to explode," he said.

Starcom hopes to drive such an explosion through investing in proprietary research. According to Swinand, Starcom A.C.E. (Accountability, Connectivity, Engagement) framework, which he will monitor personally, will measure reader engagement on a deeper level than has been done in the past.

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