INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS MEDIA: Getting down to business - Lucy Aitken introduces Campaign's international business media report

Allianz is an insurance company with 60 million clients in 70

countries.



Its target market, particularly for its risk management arm, is chief

executives and chief financial officers. So which media do you think it

turns to for its above-the-line work? Well, CNBC is a favourite option,

as you might expect. But so is The Discovery Channel. Similarly,

advertising on Eurosport sees UPS rubbing shoulders with Carlsberg and

McDonald's.



It all used to be much more straightforward, didn't it?

Business-to-business companies advertised in business-to-business media,

while business-to-consumer products and services nestled comfortably in

consumer media. But things have changed.



As well as working from home, we now "home" from work, Martin Hayward,

the chairman of The Henley Centre, says. This could mean taking home a

laptop at the weekend to fine-tune a presentation and ordering your

groceries from an online supermarket between meetings on a week day.



Work and leisure time has become blurred and this is particularly true

for the international business community.



Businessmen and women are permanently switched on and can be contacted

instantly by phone and by e-mail. Hayward believes they're still

revelling in the novelty of this.



After all, it was only a few years ago that phones belonged on desks and

faxes played the part of e-mails.



Yet now we've been given the chance to be more mobile, the role of media

planners has become much tougher. And to stand out from your competitors

in international business media, more recently, has normally entailed an

overhaul in media strategy, rather than creative strategy.



Instead of taking that page in The Wall Street Journal Europe, why not

in National Geographic magazine? National Geographic has a far greater

reach within this community than many business-focused international

magazines, according to the latest Europe 2001 results.



In Asia too it is a popular read. Ipsos-RSL gave Campaign access to the

Asian Businessman Readership Survey (ABRS) - the sister survey to

European counterparts EBRS and CEBRS - which is featured on page six.

Two of the most popular reads among this audience in Asia are National

Geographic and the English edition of Reader's Digest.



But how does this audience respond to being contacted in their leisure

time? Surely some leisure time, particularly with family, should be

sacred?



The key point is not to be intrusive. One of the advantages of

above-the-line advertising is that it can be seen when the user decides

it is a convenient time. However, e-mails and phone calls do not have

this function and, if done clumsily, can resemble pesky calls from

double glazing salesmen.



Hayward says: "I was phoned up by my bank at 9.30pm the other night.



Because it was at night, I wasn't really in the mood for chatting to

them." Hardly surprising, is it? Similarly, as most international

business people have at least 20 or 30 unwanted e-mail messages clogging

up their inbox every day, they are often in danger of being swamped by

badly-targeted messages which have been sent out randomly, Hayward

says.



He points out that there is a certain amount of pressure associated with

being switched on all the time. "People haven't got used to turning

their phones off or not logging onto their e-mails. They have to learn

how to do it."



Just as business people have learnt how to incorporate new technology

into their everyday life, it seems they now have to ensure that it

doesn't become a double-edged sword, affecting tried and tested ways of

doing business. The ABRS results indicate that some international

business trips have been replaced by e-mail communication. All very

well, but what's happened to the good old-fashioned face-to-face contact

that used to be so vital to good business? Heading into recession means

that pressure on the bottom line intensifies. Business trips which were

once viewed as crucial may now be seen as an unjustifiable expense.



The international business media which are the strongest performers are

those that recognise how stretched their users are and can appeal across

a variety of different platforms.



Hayward gives a good example: "I use the Evening Standard twice a day -

once online to check the free online news service for the latest

business stories for two minutes; and then I buy it on the way home to

fill 30 minutes of boring travel time. I'm in completely different

mindsets for each, but the same media brand manages to appeal to

both."



The ability to remember that, despite the telephone-number salaries,

chief executives are still human beings, is clearly working well for a

number of media brands - as well as for the advertisers which appear in

them.