Stephen Jezzard
Stephen Jezzard
Advertising and Business Development, Wiley 
Gavin Sharrock
Gavin Sharrock
Advertising and Business Development, Wiley
Source: bikeriderlondon/Shutterstock
Source: bikeriderlondon/Shutterstock

In 2014, Outsell interviewed 20 scholarly and professional societies and found that 61% of their revenue was derived from publishing. The sources of that revenue, which are primarily driven by subscriptions, are under a great deal of pressure however, and societies are increasingly looking for other ways to make income. Advertising can be a great way of doing this, by giving societies the resources to fulfill their objectives and fund other initiatives. Data from Kantar Media’s Journal Ad Review shows that professional healthcare advertising in journals and related publications was up 4.5% in the first half of 2015 when compared with the same period in 2014, encouraging growth in what is a tough and competitive market. Print offerings are still the most important advertising vehicles to healthcare and life sciences marketers, and they account for the bulk of marketing budgets; however, advertising trends have evolved from traditional print ads to new marketing strategies that include content marketing and digital advertising.

The definition of content marketing often depends on whom you are talking to; According to the Content Marketing Institute, “Content marketing is the marketing and business process for creating and distributing relevant and valuable content to attract, acquire, and engage a clearly defined and understood target audience – with the objective of driving profitable customer action”. When appropriately aligned with academic content, the message is very powerful. As a form of advertising, content marketing is effective at creating product awareness and educating consumers.

The clear direction for advertising is toward digital, with the internet being the fastest-growing segment of advertising through to 2019, driven by rapid rises in mobile and video advertising. Other trends in online advertising include using tools such as Google AdWords to create online advertising campaigns, search engine optimization (SEO -- the process of using keywords to get a website to rank higher in results as opposed to using AdWords), social media, display ads and website banner ads.

Some societies have told us that prefer not to accept advertising formats such as cover tips, cover wraps, and belly bands because they think these formats may tarnish the society’s image, or appear too commerce-oriented. Our experience is that this isn’t the case, and readers think that a reasonable level of advertising is perfectly acceptable. Many prestigious journals such as The Lancet, NEJM, and JAMA regularly feature these types of promotions..

We’re all consumers, we live in a consumer society, and every day we are exposed to marketing messages, both subconsciously and consciously, that help us make decisions and inform us of choices available to us. Advertising can help in creating more informed and better educated consumers. Incorporating relevant and well placed advertising in society journals is not only a good source of revenue for societies, it can also help fund the society’s vision, act as a service to members, and help professionals achieve their goals of widely disseminating information to make the world a better place.