As a wise man once said, those who do not remember the past are condemned to repeat it. So, given all the opinions that have flowed forth over the past week from a range of marcomms cutters and thrusters (never fear, we've got a few more up our sleeves to ease you into 2013), it seemed remiss of us not to do a bit of reflecting ourselves, both on the industry we cover and on the evolution of StopPress and NZ Marketing.
From the London Olympics—and New Zealand’s performance in them—to the US presidential elections to the departure of the National Bank brand to The Hobbit to Kevin Milne’s stint as a carpet mascot, there were some massive marcomms events in 2012. But after the huge highs and lows of 2011, with the joy of the Rugby World Cup well and truly balanced out by the suffering in Christchurch, it did seem like a slightly less bipolar year.
Of course, all the usual soap-operatic elements that make this industry so enthralling were present and correct once again, with no shortage of intriguing pitches, controversial awards decisions, brilliant/dubious campaigns (often featuring cats, children or both), incessant ship jumping, confusing buzzwords, a range of fancy tech trinkets and unrelenting barrow-pushing.
The digital onslaught continued apace (if there was an equivalent of war-time reporting in the trade media, writing about how traditional business models are coping with this evolution would be pretty close) and while ‘next year will be the year of mobile’ seems to have been uttered for a few years now, 2012 could stake a claim as the year the smartphone went properly mainstream in New Zealand. Now we wait to see if the marketers and agencies are able to catch up to that consumer behaviour and offer better experiences.
As for our babies, we trucked along pretty nicely in 2012. Media is a tough place to be at the moment. Online publishing is even tougher. But we're making it work and StopPress is a profitable business. We redesigned the website in July and, by making it responsive, aimed to prepare it for a future that's increasingly mobile. And looking at some of the numbers, that was wise. Total visits to the site from mobile devices have increased by 50 percent in the past year to 50,000 (that's up from just 14 visits via mobile in January 2011). All up, we now have an average of 31,000 unique monthly visitors to the website (a 28 percent increase over 2011) and served on average 115,000 monthly page impressions (a 25 percent increase).
Our twice-weekly newsletter now has close to 9,000 subscribers, a 20 percent increase over last year, and it has an open rate of over 50 percent (international email service Mail Chimp has provided international statistics that show the average open rate for media and publishing is 18 percent).
According to Nielsen, StopPress was also at or near the top of the pile in 2011 when it came to the proportion of traffic consisting of readers with household income over $100,000, those who listed their occupation as business manager or executive, those who used mobile phones to access the internet and those who purchased things online. So, overall, you're a bunch of curious, well-off, tech savvy juggernauts.
We also have some new initiatives planned for 2013. The world of digital media and marketing is exploding. With new technologies and the online media space constantly evolving and being updated, we’ll be launching StopPress Didge in February 2013. This is a dedicated daily news channel and weekly e-newsletter about all things digital across advertising, media, marketing and pop culture. We’ve recently appointed Sim Ahmed as the dedicated tech editor, so get in touch if you've got something interesting to tell him. And get in touch with Vernene Medcalf if you want to hear about sponsorship and advertising opportunities.
The grand old printed dame that is NZ Marketing magazine has also had a good year in 2012, hitting a high water mark for ad revenue in September, winning four magazine awards, and stepping things up in a big way this year with a complete rehash of the TVNZ-NZ Marketing Awards, which is now bigger and hopefully more prestigious than ever before.
Pull all this together and we hope we've created a website, a magazine, an awards programme and a community that's a fitting reflection of the vibrancy, talent, importance and, occasionally, drama of this industry. So thanks to the readers, the sponsors, the partners, the opinion piece writers, the trolls and, of course, the Tangible team.
This is the last—and easily the biggest—newsletter of 2012 and we're putting up the gone fishin' sign from today. So as the inimitable Damon Wayans said in everyone's favourite show My Wife & Kids: "So long, see ya sucker, bon voyage, arrivederci, later loser, goodbye, good riddance, peace out, let the doorknob hit ya where the good Lord split ya, don't come back around here no more, hasta la vista baby, kick rocks, and get the hell out." We'll be back behind the keyboard on 14 January. So until then, may your sausages be charred, may your sandwiches be unsandy, may your beverages be chilled and may the bit between your toes where the jandal nubbin sits be tough.