The business audience is, by definition, an early adopter audience. It demands information quickly and appropriately and it is often on the move.
It's unsurprising, then, that JCDecaux Airport believes it is in poll position to reach this audience. It believes it offers visibility and flexibility in reaching those busy professionals in an environment when they are waiting to travel and it offers the demographics at Heathrow as proof of the pudding, with the CAA citing 46% of Heathrow's passengers flying on business and 47% being in the AB demographic.
"The difference between ourselves and, say, a page ad in the Financial Times or a 30-second ad on CNN is the potential for absolute creativity," says a spokesman for JCD Airport.
"With fewer restrictions and the potential for full three-dimensional adverts, you are guaranteed ownership of that audience. Another factor is the longevity of long-term campaigns at the airport, maximizing the potential for impact and lasting impressions on the travelling business person at all levels."
The point seems borne out by more figures provided by the CAA, which indicate that, in 2000, the average number of flights taken by business travellers out of Heathrow was 44.
JCD Airport quotes research specialist BBS to back up its proposition - 83% of UK directors from large organizations have flown on business in the past 12 months.
However, Decaux doesn't have a monopoly on those airport spaces.
Another company successfully establishing a presence is XPO Network. The company, which currently operates more than 80 XPO communication units out of eight UK airports including Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted, believes it is perfectly suited for the business traveller. The sites have a key pad, a screen with internet/e-mail access, CNN.com and Sports.com information. The 10-foot tall units also have a 42-inch plasma screen carrying ads above head height for greater visibility.
"Our units sit beyond passport control because that's where the dwell time is," says marketing director David McDonald.
"They offer brand advertising, airport information, sponsorship, data capture, tactical advertising, e-mail and internet access, news and weather information and special offers and promotions."
Advertising clients have included Panasonic, BMW, Dell and, more broadly, the telecom, travel, automotive and financial services sectors. And McDonald says the interactive elements are getting 500,000 hits per month.
"There's a great value in data capture for the kind of audience using our units and advertisers are trying to build these kinds of one-to-one relationships with that business audience. Intuitively the units make total sense and we have aggressive plans to expand."
While not even the most cynical marketer has tried to derive benefit from September 11 or the instability that has followed in its wake, some brands have inadvertently been thrown into the spotlight. When a news event of such prominence breaks, the clear value of new technologies and branding can be seen.
Both the BBC and CNN's websites were hit hard in the rush of a stunned international community to keep up with unfolding events. The fact that news brands extend across multiple platforms has obviously proved a strong plus and consumers clearly turn to trusted brands as and where they need them.
"CNN is a multiplatform brand", says marketing director Sally Chadwick. "And the important point to remember is that it's all CNN, it's not separate. Which is why, increasingly, we are cross promoting the brand and trying to convert users of the web to TV."
The brand is aggressive about its strong position in the European news marketplace and points to the International Air Travel Survey and Europe 2001 Survey, released in April, for proof.
IATS Global Media Survey showed CNN Inter-national increased its reach to 37% of international air travellers on a weekly basis, compared to competitors such as EuroSport, with 22.5%, BBC World with 20.1% and CNBC with 8.7%. The survey also compared reach against the international business press. According to CNN international, three times as many air travellers had watched CNN in the past 24 hours as read an average issue of the FT and five times as saw Newsweek.
"CNN looks to target senior level opinion formers, people who need to have a global perspective," says head of sales Jonathan Davies. "Opinion formers are travelling more and our qualitative research shows that viewers feel the need to be wired into the world wherever they are."
Of course, with an event like September 11, consumers turn to media outlets such as CNN, Bloomberg and BBC World to follow the news, but at the same time, a range of advertising clients took the view that running campaigns through these events was not politic. Davies is pragmatic, saying that there is a well still to be tapped through fmcg clients and he says that brands such as CNN have proved their value, providing a fixed point in a fast-moving world which keeps
travelling professionals in the loop.
"It's incumbent on planner buyers to look behind the old stereotypes about what brands such as CNN are all about. We and the agencies have a responsibility to become more creative and if clients want to do something different, we have the flexibility and the massive reach to achieve that."
Of course, a key way to find business audiences is through the business trade press and the weekly international news magazines.
In the ABC's recent analysis of the business management category, 61 separate titles were audited, providing channels both to a general management audience, through the likes of Haymarket's Management Today and to a more niche audience with titles as diverse as Newsco Insider's North West Business Insider and Business Strategy International from Cornhill Publications.
And then there are the major players in the international news magazine market. Time, Forbes, Fortune, Newsweek and The Economist all resonate strongly with a business audience and compete in their various ways to provide an overview for a senior audience which thinks globally and wants rational news.
But that's not to say that these magazines see their audience as 50-plus cigar smokers flying in the company jet. For several, appealing to a younger audience makes sense, both in terms of the emerging IT and new media industries, where the millionaire managing director might just as easily be 25 as 55, and in broadening and refreshing the circulation.
Time went through a major £7m marketing campaign in spring, with the specific purpose of communicating the range of subject matter it offered European readers. Hitting major travel points for businessmen was key to the strategy.
"In 2001 versus 2000, Time has targeted 70% more professional names and has delivered 120% more subscriptions from this source, over achieving on an estimate of 40%," says a spokeswoman for the
magazine. "This suggests that the repositioned magazine is being lapped up by this audience."
Interestingly, Time defines its professional audience as being in senior management, chief executive/president/director or vice-president level, taking at least three business trips a year, with a personal income of $50,000 (£34,000) or more and aged between 25 and 50. While the marketing campaign among the trade and consumers all points to Time looking to diversify its audience, those behind the magazine clearly believe the professional business audience will remain key.
"Time will be improving on these numbers in 2002, as plans have been put in place to increase the professional mail volume by a further 100%. The expectation in 2002 is that the new subscriptions from this high demographic source will have trebled since the repositioning of the magazine."
Of course, the repositioning towards culture and other beyond-business coverage wasn't just to send a message to new readers, it was also vital to communicate that the title provided a breadth of content of interest to current business readers.
"By gaining a greater understanding of how the business audience consumes media and gathers the information they need/want to know, we are moving towards a greater targeting efficiency, not only with the title selection, but also selections within a title," says MindShare business manager Vanessa Clifford.
And a similar message lay behind The Economist's redesign launched in May.
"Our marketing strategy has been about growing circulation, and we've been hugely successful in that," says brand marketing manager Jacqui Kean. "Circulation has grown since September 11 because people turn to The Economist for a reasoned view on the situation."
But Kean makes the point that marketing the title - through the redesign and beyond - is about making sure the brand objectives are communicated. After all, business audiences tend to be keen to be informed on a range of subjects and issues. Which is why brands such as CNN have boosted their sports coverage, watching corporate ads being won by the likes of EuroSport.
"The Economist brand is about intelligent dialogue, independence, objectivity, rigor in search of facts, opinions, but an ability to get both sides of a story. And it's not just a business magazine," adds Kean
She highlights the fact that a recent issue covering a story about the illegal drugs trade was marketed strongly for that very reason and was also one of the best-selling issues this year.
Interestingly, as well as a strong TV campaign to support the brand, The Economist also relied heavily on outdoor and taxi media to support and reinforce those brand credentials in the modernized magazine.
The broadsheets obviously play an important role in speaking to the business market, both in terms of general business news coverage and in supplements such as the FT's Creative Business and How to Spend It at the weekend and The Guardian's supplements for education and the public sector.
"The brand is incredibly important and we've done a lot on the consumer side, but the business-to-business side is obviously crucial," says FT marketing director Gordon Willoughby.
"We've looked for ways to extend the brand to provide clients with that overall umbrella, for instance, with FT.com and FT Mobile. The web and offline are different environments: the web tends to be more global, younger and more gender balanced. So we can allow clients to have the halo effect of the brand, but segment their audience more closely."
Guardian Newspapers' marketing director Marc Sands says events are a key way of extending that offer to reach more tailor-made and segmented professionals.
"We have supplements in the magazine and successful websites targeting certain professional audiences, and events extend that even further," he says. "But the important thing is that events are always editorially driven and play to our editorial, commercial and
marketing expertise. And, of course, you can lend your name to anything, but owning our own events is clearly where we want to be."
Willoughby echoes Sands' comments about the crucial need to make sure any extensions or commercial creativity doesn't step on the core brand.
"We will be as innovative and flexible as we can for each client around each medium, but we won't ever compromise the editorial position and the brand strength of the FT," he says.
For Vanessa Clifford at MindShare, the emphasis on creativity and relevance is key.
"In giving the reader the advertising messages within the correct context, relevance and standout are increased," says Clifford.
"Couple this with pushing the boundaries of creative execution and editorial restrictions beyond the standards with supplements, butterfly gatefold, scratch-and-sniff tip ons and we are increasing the nteractivity between the reader and advertiser reinforcing the brand messaging."